Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Journalistic Excellence And Dead Trees
Only newspapers provide professional journalism! Blogs are written by a bunch of semi-illiterate amateurs who can’t write or even spell!
Or so the old guard would tell you.
Yes, there is a lot of crap on the Web. There’s a lot of crap everywhere.
If newspapers want to take the high ground, then they should lead by example. For example, take the Plattsburgh daily paper, the Press-Republican. Please.
The PR boasts of maintaining high standards of excellence. Whether it’s a newspaper or a college or a business or a government agency, when I hear “excellence,” I expect to see it.
Let’s look at recent examples of excellence provided by the Press-Republican.
Sunday edition. 8/10/08. Page A7. An Associated Press article by Richard Richtmyer, dateline Albany. The article explains why so many companies are publishing phonebooks, creating a glut on the market. Ever notice how they pile up on your doorstep?
Now flip over to Page D7. An Associated Press article by Richard Richtmyer, dateline Albany. The article explains why so many companies are publishing phonebooks, creating a glut on the market. Ever notice how they pile up on your doorstep?
Wait, this can’t be the same article, can it? The headline is different and there’s a photo of phonebooks piled on an office desk.
Apparently this is journalistic excellence. A public service. By running the same article twice in the same edition, people with bad memories are more apt to remember the information after a second exposure.
This service is also provided on a day-to-day basis. PR Sunday edition, 8/10/08, page D8. An AP article by Larry Margasak about the politics involved with the development of a bio-warfare research facility.
Need a refresher? The article is reprinted the next day (8/11/08) on page A9.
This isn’t the first time that déjà vu all over again news has appeared in the Press-Republican. Apparently it won’t be the last. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out the person responsible for the layout is overworked and underpaid. I’ve been in job situations like that. Browbeat the employee all you want, you won’t get the best out of him unless he has reasonable working conditions.
Meanwhile, the PR keeps shrinking its paper, narrower trim, less news hole. It doesn’t have enough room to run the arts and events listing in its entirety on Thursday “due to space limitations.” But somehow it has the room to repeat AP articles in their entirety.
No, I don’t claim journalistic excellence as a blogger. But I try to spot mistakes before I hit the PUBLISH button. At least I compose with a spell check program running to alert me about typos. I’m not a great speller: red underlines always appear while I’m keyboarding. I make sure to go back and check and fix them as needed.
Sunday, 8/10/08, page D1. An article by a PR reporter about horseback rides being offered at a local tourist attraction. This business, as stated in the article, opened the last weekend of Junew.
Junew? Is that the month after Mayf?