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Beyond my empathy for journalists in transition, the strongest feeling that I experienced when I learned of the axing of Metromix (formerly Indy.com formerly Intake) was frustration over opportunity missed.
When the Indianapolis Star launched its alt-but-not-really-alt weekly, I knew that part of the agenda was stealing ad dollars from Nuvo Newsweekly (and putting that independent publication’s survival at greater risk). But I also believed that Indianapolis could use another cultural voice and that competition could be good for the market. With an open mind, therefore, I looked forward to another, perhaps fresher, take on the arts life in Indy.
A few looks at Intake, though, left no doubt as to which freebie weekly I wanted to survive that donnybrook.
Anyone remember all of the lame “youth culture” films that the Hollywood establishment rushed into production after the success of the independent “Easy Rider”? That’s what Intake felt like. It pretended to be on the edge, but always seemed conservatively guided by grown ups with an eye-and-a-half on sales.
Yes, there was honest arts advocacy from the truly passionate Jim Walker and, at least in the early days, solid-but-truncated film writing from the knowledgeable Joe Shearer, but there was little else. No institutional memory (except from underused music scribe David Lindquist). No editorial vision. Few actual opinions. And a sad lack of wit, especially when it tried to be funny (the exception being the bite of photographer Michelle Pemberton).
With short-attention-span stories and a pandering predilection for packing as many faces into its pages as possible, Intake/Indy.com/Metromix sent the message that if you aren’t someone obsessed with staying trendy, this isn’t the publication for you. (And, side note, if you are obsessed with being trendy, what the heck are you doing in Indianapolis?)
In the Goodbye column in its final print issue, Metromix gave some staff members a chance to share memories.
No surprise that the lead item was given to someone in the marketing department.
I honestly don’t think I’ll miss Metromix. But I will miss what it could have been.