Newspaper Agency Corporation's Weekend Real Estate Section

The two main Salt Lake newspapers are marketed by the same company, Newspaper Agency Corporation. In general, the same classified ads appear in both, and both papers are printed and marketed by this company.

They also produce other marketing pieces that accompany both papers. One of them, Saturday's publication, called Utah Real Estate, has gone downhill at breakneck speed over the last few months. That feature's front page, for as long as I can remember has a section, above the fold, called "On The Market", and has been a feature spot for a local home that is currently on the market.

Up until a few months ago, this feature spot was written by one of three or four individuals who researched the local MLS, and chose a house for feature that was for sale that week. The writing was typical for these marketing bits, where hopeful writers honed their skills, and took care to reveal a property that was unique in some way. Sometimes, it was a home of local notoriety or historical significance, or one designed and built by a local architect, or one that shows some other unique feature that one would not otherwise see.

Now, the section has become nothing more than a shill piece for the large local real estate firms. The bits now come with the byline, "contributed by Prudential", or some other equally banal thing. The featured home is some Stucco 'n' Stone POS, no different than the 3000 other homes listed on the MLS, and sometimes they're not even built yet. The writing is mind-numbingly bad, often using every trite real estate marketing term available before getting down to the actual home in question, leaving the description of the home to the last two or three paragraphs, buried deep within the realtor ads that lie within its inane pages.

Every Saturday I grab my fuzzy slippers, waddle out to the driveway to retrieve my paper, get set up with a hot cup of coffee, and prepare for disappointment. And I'm right every time.

Bummer. I should be writing that section. I would go through the listings, and find something fresh and new every week. Did you know that the house in Olympus Cove (for you non-residents, that's a tony "old-money" area of the Salt Lake Valley) labeled with the prestigious Plat#1, Lot #1 was for sale? Wouldn't you like to see that house's interior? Did you know that a local house designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West apprentices has been for sale for about a year? I think it VERY recently sold. Another original Wright house, the only one in Utah, was recently for sale as well.

Why are they featuring homes that are a dime-a-dozen when there are others that are exciting, unique, full of character, beautiful, and rich with heritage? I can hit a hooking 5-iron and hit three of everything the are featuring these days. (I do this regularly.)

I don't get it. Opportunity lost.

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