The Altoona Mirror, our local paper, usually takes about 10 minutes to read because it's coverage is so thin. They rely heavily on wire reports and ads to fill their pages.
By far, the best group of writers at this paper come from the sports department. Cory Giger covers the Altoona Curve for the paper and is an excellent baseball writer and I usually enjoy his stories. Neil Rudel's coverage of Penn State football is very good. And John Mehno, even though he is quite the curmudgion, and I would love for him to write something postive evey once in a while, is still usually interesting.
My only major complaint of the sports department is that they tend to ignore local high school soccer, swimming and other "minor" sports because of the focus on football and basketball. While I understand that these smaller sports should not get equal coverage, I do think they could do a much better job of giving some coverage.
The news department rarely does any significant investigative reporting, and the editorial page can be counted on to toe the Republican party line and rarely, if ever, questions our local politicians (despite the poor economic growth of our region).
While I have notices some small improvement in the news department with a recent turnover in staff, I still think they have a long way to go.
While I am a subscriber and rely on it for local news, outside of the sports department, I do not consider this a first rate newspaper.