Saturday, March 29, 2014

Today in making stuff up

For you fans of how the public understanding of natural disasters is created, here's the upper-left ear from the Drudge Report (still leading with Friday's Los Angeles earthquake as of this writing*). It's standard Drudge, meaning "links allegedly related to the top story, with ellipses," and we're especially interested in the third and fifth ones, which (ahem) appear to link to the (kaff) same story.

The first of those is true-ish, in that it pretty closely resembles something that a not-quite-accurately identified person said:

Jones said Friday’s quake was 10 times larger than the March 17 magnitude-4.4 quake near Encino. She added that every quake has a chance of leading to something bigger.

“Every earthquake has a 5 percent chance of being followed by something larger. The fact that this had a foreshock doesn’t particularly increase that probability,” she said.
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Read text before posting

Or maybe it's just "read in a couple of different browsers before posting."

It could be the difference between "Francis factor blows" and "Francis factor blows away Vatican cobwebs." And that, children, is no small difference. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Those wacky Baptists

"Guns & Rosaries" -- what a bunch of kidders at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network, huh? Evidently too busy tracing the Global War on Christians to ask whether a church called Grace Baptist is the sort of place where you're likely to encounter a lot of rosary action.

Fox might actually be a little more concerned about calling the pesky thing an "assault rifle," to hear their friends at  the National Review tell it:

I have no doubt that many people genuinely do not grasp these differences — or do not care. But it really does matter, in part because the way in which the Left talks about rifles is deliberately misleading, and they rely upon nobody pushing back with the truth. Gun controllers want to create the impression that your average murderer is walking around with a machine gun, and to use this perception to build support for banning unrelated semi-automatic weapons. They must not be allowed to get away with it.

Let's not find you hauling water for the Left again there, Fair 'n' Balanced Network!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Today in, um, averages

Now why do you suppose the expected rise in water levels is the No. 3 story of the evening at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network? OK, before you answer that, maybe we should look at the quote that the quote in the headline came from:

But even with the estimated rise of 13-15 inches, the levels are still well below historic levels.

“The levels have risen significantly, but the caveat is that they are still a foot below the all-time average high,” Keith Kompoltowicz, watershed hydrology chief for the Detroit district of the Army Corps of Engineers told

So if you were wondering what "all-time average high" means in this case, just subtract a foot and carry on. Because we already know why the story's on the front page, don't we, commenters?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Worst active clause of the month

I'm sure this is all true. I have no doubt that a "For Sale" sign much like this one was standing outside a home, and that the home was in Princeton, Ill., and that the sign was standing there on Jan. 22. I'm a little confused about why any of that is relevant to the story on the business front in Detroit that it's illustrating in March.

Really. Wasn't it easier when we had cartoonists on staff to produce the requisite symbols?

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Today in visual journalism

What is it about the Daily Mail? Maybe the conciseness of the heds:

Satellite data shows hijacked MH370 was last seen flying towards Pakistan OR Indian Ocean as investigators search pilots' luxury homes and reveal one had home-made flight simulator

... which, once you catch your breath, also offers seven bulleted decks, the last of which is worth noting:
Police raided the pair's luxury homes in upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb
We have several shots of the co-pilot's alleged house, but none of the luxury home belonging to the pilot. Hence the photo above, captioned thus:
Shah's property would have looked similar to this one and is set in an estate which is said to be popular with high-income earners
Makes you miss the good old days of the Artist's Conception, doesn't it?

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Somebody isn't trying

Whoever drew the airliner story over on the WashTimes copy desk is letting the team down. Three and a half columns of hed and deck, and you couldn't manage to work "Obama" in there somewhere?

Everybody else is pulling their weight. The usurper's in three main heds and two decks, along with this opportune cutline on the file photo at the top of the page:

BETWEEN THE LINES: President Obama expresses appreciation to Marines for their service last summer. His administration's proposed budget, however, seems to send a different message.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dave's not here, man

Partial credit where it's due: The cutline goes with the story (one of the bills in question would let you make or sell brownies with your medical marijuana). It just doesn't have anything to do with the picture -- which, in turn, doesn't have anything to do with the story.

If the point was just to sop up some of the gray space left over when the obits came in short (hey, it happens), I'd rather see a mug of one of the people who testified. Or maybe a box of brownie mix. Or maybe the cover of "Dark Side of the Moon." But the random pot shot doesn't create a happy image of the future of visual journalism.

There's actually more to this than meets the eye. What if, for example, your audience remembers the details of a story better with a real illustration -- the face of someone who speaks in the story -- than with a generic illustration (a stock shot of a doctor and a patient for a story about health insurance)? Or if people who get their news from social media and "the Internet" perform differently on that test than people who get their news from traditional media? When in doubt, illustrate for meaning -- not just to liven up the page.


Eyes 1, Brain 0

Given the available cues, if you were to scroll down to the comments and join the conversation with your fellow Daily Caller readers, who would you say she voted for?
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Thursday, March 06, 2014

The black guy's allegedly playing golf again

It took 'em a few ties to get it right, but the nice folks over at Glenn Beck's The Blaze finally figured out the right hed to go with the picture and story:

President Barack Obama’s plate is full of difficult situations, foreign and domestic. From the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea to the instability brewing in Venezuela and North Korea still lobbing missiles into the sea. And then there is the President’s ongoing battle against income inequality in America.

If there was only a place that where he could go to relax. A place that believes, “the busier life gets, the more we seek true tranquility, a place where the world’s clamor can be shut out and forgotten for a while.” Luckily, the president has found such a place.

Good to know somebody's always on the Black Guy Playing Golf beat!

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