Monday, May 07, 2007

A few thoughts on Monday

Strange graphics: Saturday's story on the Flying Pig says marathoners like to run here because they get a cool medal. Then the Enquirer fails to run a picture of the medal.

Today's story by Malia Rulon on UC's attempt to land a presidential debate talks all about how colleges benefit from these events. But when the Enquirer lists where debates have been held since 1992, it lists the cities but not the colleges.

This is typical of the Enquirer's careless planning. Gannett wants stories to have breakouts and sidebars and graphics, but nobody seems to think much about how they're all supposed to work together.

Love those boosters: Dustin Dow's two-part series on boosters of college athletics looks at the upside but doesn't mention at all the downside. It seems most big scandals in college athletics have connections to rich boosters who get too involved. With both UC and Xavier saying they plan to increase their booster bases, what are they doing to keep this clean? Is there a part three? The Enquirer has clearly given up on watchdog journalism, because this series lacks the necessary skepticism.

Bricks are bad: We might expect the editorial page to take up the question of whether sucking up to college boosters might cause problems, but not at the Enquirer. Instead, the editorial board takes another strong stand, this time against throwing bricks at school buses near the zoo. The editorial mentions that two school districts cancelled field trips to the zoo, without passing judgment on whether or not that was the right thing to do or a good thing to do. It takes no talent whatsoever to write editorials like this, so why the Enquirer needs a staff of six to that is a mystery.


Anonymous Phantom Girl said...

Re: Boosters.

The Enquirer remains trapped in its world of cheerleading. The newspaper panders to people and groups it considers demographically friendly, even, at times, in such a sophomoric way that borders on the insulting.

Can't report one side of this kind of a story without the counterbalance. Don't look for watchdog journalism of any significance in this environment.

There is an unquestioned timidity at the Enquirer to take on big institutions and people for their actions. I suspect editors don't trust many reporters to be able to do so. And since the editors mostly are removed from the pulse of the community (except, of course, for anything that happens in West Chester, the REAL capital of the world), they won't take the risk that frequently is required in good journalism.

I would imagine the morning news meeting (especially on a Monday) is a duck-and-cover affair where everyone prays questions about real news won't surface, and they can all talk about what a wonderful weekend it was, how the flowers are blooming, etc.

And now forgive me, while I pause to throw up.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for catching me up on the weekend Enquirer. Sad to say, I dropped my subscription several years ago when the local reporting took a turn for the dumper.

Speaking of which, since I work for P&G, why is the Business news section so poor these days? When I first moved here, the Enquirer had a reporter who covered P&G fairly well. Now, I have to read the Wall Street Journal or Fast Company to find outside news about us.

You would think that a newspaper in a city this size with this many Fortune 500 companies, etc., would have a significant Business news presence, with experienced reporters, because of the advertising potential.

When I have looked at the Enquirer's Business section recently, all I see is Associated Press material and press releases.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Action News said...

Most of the Enquirer's articles contain basic mistakes in grammar. Given this, you can't really expect much in the way of analysis, critical thinking, etc.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone I talk to who moves from out of town about how God-awful this newspaper is. They read online papers from wherever it is they're from and never bother with the Enquirer. I'm talking about people with business or professional degrees who would love nothing more than to have a paper that takes more than 8 minutes to skim through. I try to explain it used to be better. Not much better, but better.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Action News said...

OK, forgive me but I have to use this space to air my biggest pet peeve about The Enquirer.

It's that damn "The Week In Review" column. It's supposed to be a "light-hearted look at news events in Cincinnati" (it was described as something to that effect). It contains a mix of humorous and deeply depressing articles. You'll read a bit about someone wearing a pig hat in a race, and then you'll read about Marcus Fiesel.

This column always leaves me jaw-dropped and boggled by the amazing cluelessness of The Enquirer. Is the columnist so unskilled that he/she can't even stick with the stated purpose of the column?


7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsache's defense team rests its case following perusal of the above links. They direct you to the "Gold Medal" award won by the Senior Pooh-Bah in charge of the Enquirer, the judging of which was done by the More Senior Poor-Bahs in charge of Gannett.

The Gold Medal lauds the news "info center" for its multi-faceted web portfolio, which emphasizes reader-generated content and databases that we can dig through ourselves (if we weren't working stiffs who rely on the media to watch our government and give us the news -- which is supposedly its job).

It says NOTHING about stellar reporting, storytelling and watchdog roles, which the Enquirer minimalizes because it has hacked its news staff to pieces, and prefers to rewrite press releases and publish mindless infotainment.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is surprising?

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Phantom Girl said...

After watching this for so long I think it's time to put the Enquirer situation in a tongue-in-cheek perspective.

So, without further delay, here are some general impressions of how the high drama in the Enquirer newsroom might play itself out. Perhaps better described as a Greek tragedy.

No names, of course, since many of those in this charade are under duress, except for suggestions of real and fictional people who might be well cast as star players.

Working title: Deadline USA (borrowed from the Humphrey Bogart film of the same name, coincidentally about a newspaper about to be put out of business).

Written, produced and directed by the boys and girls in Reston, VA.

The Players

In the role of the editor, either Snidely Whiplash or Michael Meyers (“the blackesst eyes, the devil's eyes" Donald Pleasence in Halloween.).

Managing editor: Curley Howard (“I keep trying to think, but nothing happens”).

Metro editor: Pearl Pureheart (Mighty Mouse's friend who always seemed to be in crisis, mostly through no fault of her own).

Editorial page editor: John Banner (Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes “I see nothing, I know nothing.”)

Sports editor: Bob Uecker (“Personally, I think we got hosed on that one.”)

Business editor: Gordon Gecko (Wall Street, “Greed is good,” for Gannett) or Rocky Balboa (“Cut me Mick,” in reference to the disappearing section and staff).

Features editor: Groucho Marx (“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I don't know." From Animal Crackers).

Copy editors: Bela Lugosi (“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” From Dracula.)

The corporate bean counters milking the paper but running it into the ground: James Cagney (“My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. And I thank you.” From Yankee Doodle Dandy) or Edward G. Robinson (“Is this the end of Rico?” from Little Caesar).

And finally, the director, whose instructions to those in the newsroom who care deeply about what is happening tell the story best: Clark Gable (“Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.” From Gone with the Wind).

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You left out the most important player of all...the publisher, who's ultimately responsible for the current show playing.

With apologies to Meryl Streep, her portrayal as Miranda in The Devil Wears Prada is so eerily similar to the personality filling that role now that it's scary.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or, for Publisher Glenn Close's character in "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" as the menacing stalker.

Remember the line, "You can ignore me."

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Let's put this together:

Action News comments:
"Most of the Enquirer's articles contain basic mistakes in grammar. Given this, you can't really expect much in the way of analysis, critical thinking, etc."

And our trusty NewsAcher is an Enquirer copy editor?

My goodness, Mr. News, are you biting the hand that is feeding you?

1:22 PM  

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