Friday, September 29, 2017

Keep calm and babble on

Pro tip: If you have to tell your audience (or the press) that you're paraphrasing Churchill, yur doin it wrong.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Thumb lede

Pro tip: When you have a great idea for a lede, lie down and wait until the idea goes away. Then write your story and move on to the next thing. The test is whether you can place your thumb over the entire lede and still get everything you need out of the story. 

The Great Fraser Sinkhole is the sort of small-scale technological disaster that -- aside from being quite large-scale to the people affected by it -- should be a reminder to everyone of the value of competent, appropriately funded gummint at every level. So the answer to:

Who would have guessed officials would have cheered poop in a pipe?

... is "pretty much everyone who's been paying attention," though if you've been waiting all year to enjoy the satisfaction of saying "poop in a pipe," you should probably see if the TV stations are hiring. 

Should we have missed the news on Tuesday (as I did, being busy), it'd be nice to get it in a compact, professionalized format on Wednesday in more or less the usual time and place. I wonder if hubs are going to feel empowered to challenge (or better, simply delete) the occasional thumb lede.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Nonelongated starchy tubers

And the Starchy Tuber joins the Elongated Yellow Fruit and the Popular Orange Vegetable in the what's-for-supper category!

Thanks, as always, to the Bremner Editing Center and World EYF Headquarters.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

We seem to have missed the point

Naturally, you'll want to go read the whole excruciating thing, but meanwhile -- would somebody remind The Washington Times that talking about your stick is still, actually, you know, talk?


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Can't anybody here play this game?

No, he didn't -- say "I likes where our team's going," that is. According to the story, he was barely in the same ballpark:

"We need to keep forging ahead. Keep making improvements. But I like where our team is headed." 

Since football is one of the few things the paper covers as next-day news* anymore, could we at least have checked the spelling of his name against the lede?

Jim Harbaugh's not ready to get "emotionally hijacked" just yet. 

Then there's the 1D cutline:

Michigan's Donovan Peoples-Jones celebrates his 79-yard punt-return touchdown in the third quarter Saturday against Army at Michigan Stadium.

The one with a slightly different photo on 2D repeats the Forbidden Verb, but at least it gets the opponent right:

Michigan's Donovan Peoples-Jones (9) celebrates after returning a punt 79 yards for a touchdown against Air Force on Saturday.

In case you missed the news last weekend: More or less as soon as the current contract allows, the Freep told its staff that it was moving design and copy editing to the Gannett hub (or "regional design studio") in Louisville. The War on Editing appears to have reached the stage at which the losing side is allowed to keep its horses for spring planting. The hub process might be inevitable. That doesn't mean we have to like it, but we can wish it looked more like a bad idea than an idea whose time has come.**

* It's at least a lesser sign of the apocalypse that the day's Tigers gamer was written by a stringer, not a staffer.
** Here's the Kid Rock paragraph online, if you're wondering how much attention the print edition gets: When the concert was announced, I didn't get upset about it. And I know why: Little Caesars Arena is a hockey arena. Many crowds over the years, I suspect, have been fans of performers like Kid Rock. I didn’t put his concert on my calendar.

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Forget flood. Interview ... wait, don't

Q: Can you imagine a day in which Maureen Dowd's column isn't the worst one in the Times?

A: Behold!

The famous televangelist Jim Bakker, who is preaching again on television after a rape accusation and a prison term for financial fraud, recently warned that Christians would start an armed insurrection if President Trump were impeached. “If it happens, there will be civil war in the United States of America,” Bakker told his television audience. “The Christians will finally come out of the shadows, because we are going to be shut up permanently if we’re not careful.”

Afterward, I received the following transcript of a conversation between Bakker and, er, God. It comes from a divine source.

 You'll want to read the whole thing. On second thought, you probably won't.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Back to the old drawing board

As is so often the case, the story doesn't quite bear out the hed:

The missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 2,000km east of Hokkaido, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in a hastily organised media conference.

Hard to tell if someone watched too much Rocky and Bullwinkle, too little Roadrunner vs. Coyote, or a little of both.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bizarro World

Bear with us here just a moment and imagine a world in which everything ran backwards -- say, calling the former FBI director a crook would be a "fireable offense" for your hitherto responsible PR hacks, while calling the president names would be laying out reasons or making the case. We could call it -- Fox News!

You should enjoy all the exciting Fox prose for its own virtues. The "Trump" fellow who's making his case in the afternoon's top story doesn't even rate a genuine first reference; here's how he makes his first appearance in the fourth graf:

Comey was fired by Trump in May amid tensions over the Russia probe. After he was fired, Comey had a friend leak his notes to the press about his recollection of interactions with the president. In the notes, Comey said the president encouraged him to end the investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

And see if you can pick up a theme in the No. 3 story:

The latest controversy surrounding left-leaning ESPN has bubbled all the way up to the White House, where Press Secretary Sarah Sanders weighed in Wednesday to say calling President Trump a “white supremacist” is a fireable offense.

The sports network’s Jemele Hill set off a firestorm with a recent tweet branding Trump a “white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” That, according to Sanders, ought to earn Hill, host of the urban-centric program “SC6,” more than a slap on the wrist.

... Hill’s comment comes amid increasing criticism of ESPN for introducing liberal political bias into its sports programming. 

... When a reporter pressed Sanders for more of a reaction to Hill’s comments, the press secretary simply reminded the briefing room that Trump “has met with people like (South Carolina Republican] Senator [Tim] Scott, who are highly respected leaders in the Africa-American community” and is committed to “bringing the country together.”

... Citing confidential sources,* Fox Sports' "Outkick the Coverage’s" Clay Travis reported on Tuesday that longtime ESPN anchor Linda Cohn was told by directly by the network’s president John Skipper not to show up to work last April after she suggested that the network has become too political during a radio appearance. She missed a day of work – which is one day more than Hill will miss for calling the president a white supremacist.

Evidently, things were so important on Wednesday that for a few hours, there wasn't a Hillary Clinton story on the front.

* Pesky sources!


Friday, September 08, 2017

War on-editing

How did Ohio's Greatest Home Newspaper "mischaracterize" PBS? As a private television network? A tool of the neoliberal conspiracy? A public parking space?
 Any traces left in the story?

The makeover represents the grand prize in PBS’ inaugural “Teach Boldly” program and sweepstakes.

We can't see where the "editing error" might be, or otherwise figure out who might have changed "public television" to "public radio" in a story that rather distinctly mentions the local affiliate: "WOSU-TV (Channel 34)." But we do, I think, learn something about the War on Editing in the age of hubbing. Somehow, the memo about telling radio from TV didn't get to the GateHouse hub -- but the memo about the Dispatch's obsessive-hyphenation disorder apparently did.

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