Sunday, July 08, 2007

"Good enough" in action

Since the information center concept was announced months ago, the Enquirer's news philosphy has been to make stories "good enough." Anybody who's ever heard old business saws like "don't let perfection be the enemy of progress," or "paralysis by analysis", can sort of understand where "good enough" is coming from. Here's how the Enquirer defines "good enough":

Good Enough -- Developing a strategy or tactic that will solve a problem (address "the job to be done") that is not a perfect solution, but is "good enough" to address the problem. "Good enough" does not assume satisfaction with mediocrity, but serves as a starting point for a solution that can be improved upon over time. Accepting "good enough" as a operating principle increases the opportunity for quicker "speed to market" with changes and innovation.
That's great if you're Google or Apple, but in an oppressive atmosphere where jobs and expenses are being cut, where salary raises are small and benefits costs are rising, it's a recipe for mediocrity, no matter what the bosses say. And we saw that in action this weekend.

I had high hopes when I saw the headline "Local GOP breaks with Bush" on Sunday morning. This is the kind of story where you should hold your elected officials accountable, but that's not how it worked out. The story just rehashed old quotes from our four senators and four representatives. On the Forum page, the Enquirer got canned, unchallenged quotes from Voinovich, McConnell, Brown, and Bunning, and they excerpted Sen. Richard Lugar's speech from June 25. The Enquirer didn't get an interview with a single one of them. The only live quotes are from three party spokesman, a college professor and Steven Driehaus, who's challenging Chabot.

The Enquirer merely skimmed the surface of this story, and it's because they just collect quotes and facts without digesting them or providing analysis. Is this why the Enquirer has Malia Rulon in Washington, so she can interview party spokesmen on the phone without dialing long distance? It's not impossible to get to Boehner or Voinovich. You just have to know where to look and how to ask. But why demand an interview when a canned quote is "good enough"? What the Enquirer published today is meaningless drek. What's good enough to make the editors of the Enquirer happy just doesn't cut it with the rest of us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does the Enquirer consistently do this? Today's AP story
on fee increases at state universities (while tuition has been frozen) is missing one big item - anything about the state university in the Enquirer's coverage area (University of Cincinnati)! I realize that it’s a wire service story written from another part of the state, but why can’t a reporter at the Enquirer take a few minutes and gather some info on its regional state campus. Instead, this screams the paper’s laziness at its readers. This by no means is a rarity for the Enquirer. It hardly ever bothers to localize a state or national AP story.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked on the staffs of two of our Republican legislators at the federal and state level before going to law school, and it was a running joke how easy it was to dodge the Enquirer and feed them quotes that I helped write. It didn't seem so much a newspaper as an entity under the shell of a newspaper. Too bad, because we need good newspapers more than ever.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: Doesn't it seem odd that the McCafferty children have been named and have their pictures posted on the Enquirer web site? I mean, they are minors and didn't commit a crime.

3:51 PM  

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