Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sept. 2-8 | Your News & Comments: Part 5

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40 comments:

  1. 12:10, you're damn right I am nitpicking. I am sick and tired of picking up my paper and not being able to read a story without finding errors. Why should there be ANY mistakes - small or big as you call them. What you imply is screw style as long as everything else is fine. Well, there was a time when style was just as important. Remember the AP style book? My "district attorney" example is symptomatic of a larger problem .... The sloppiness (or ignorance in some cases) of reporters today and the lack of gatekeepers to see that the mistakes are corrected and what hits the street is a quality product and not a joke.

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    1. You are so right, 7:15! I'm sure you caught the headline in the Columbus Dispatch yesterday, "Elway scored 7 touchdowns..."! I couldn't believe it! There was a time you would have been fired for something that "off"!

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    2. The story said "elway" too. And in yesterday's WSJ, a section cover refer said "who's" instead of "whose." The problem is now everywhere.

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    3. 12:10 is not getting the point. The Elway thing is huge -- never should have happened. The district attorney thing is small. No one cares if the cutline says "Dist. Atty." or whatever it said.

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    4. Yes 1:15 the Elway gaff is huge and should never have happened. I know that. Just as I know when The Times ran three photos sideways was huge. But what you fail to realize is that we have lowered the bar and our standards. What you are suggesting is it is OK for a paper to be riddled wiith errors as long as they are small ... Just avoid the big ones. Obviously you've drank the Kool-Aid. I came from a journalism background where it mattered that your reporting was accurate and your copy clean...where copy editors read and re-read and spellchecked copy before it was put on a page. And pages were proofed several times before they were plated. Very old school I guess by today's standards, but at one time not too long ago you could go out into the community and hear discourse about issues well-reported in The Times instead of laughter about the errors contained in the latest edition. And you wonder why readers are dropping subscriptions. If you don't care about even the smallest details, why should we. Yes, abbreviating district attorney is a small thing, but last time I checked, journalists still were required to know AP style. Unfortunately many of us who would hold younger reporters and copy editors accountable, are no longer there.

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    5. Still missing the point. What I am still saying is there are too many nitpickers who focus on the dumb things you keep mentioning and then miss the huge things.

      I would much rather have someone on the desk catching the "Elway" or "$6 million" instead of "$6 billion" mistakes. The small stuff is irritating, but it's not going to make the newspaper a running joke.

      Also, it's "gaffe." Not "gaff." You should fix your own house before you make stupid comments about people drinking the Kool-Aid.

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    6. Gaffe is correct and yes I should have been more careful typing with one finger and publishing before checking. I am a big enough person to admit my mistake. I will end this here because I do experience on a daily basis people commenting to me as a former journalist the errors - large and small - in the newspaper that it has become a joke. Maybe the readers in Shreveport are nitpicking but maybe they are just frustrated at the decline of what once was a quality newspaper.

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    7. It's also symptomatic of a much larger societal shift that's underway: Namely, the decline of proper English and grammar.

      People today think nothing of misspelling words or removing vowels in their daily communications. We 'txt' using 'iPhones' to 'ur' friends.

      So, a misspelling or two in the local newspaper (if we even glance at one) or news website is no big deal.

      And when big mistakes such as subbing 'Elway' for 'Manning' do happen, few of us are even aware of it. And if we are, we usually just slough off the error and quickly move on to the next interesting thing because of our ever-shrinking attention spans.

      So, don't blame the decline of newspapers on the internet or social media or technology in general. The blame lies on us and how we're slowly (and willingly) sacrificing grammar, spelling and syntax as we rush to adopt the latest gadget.


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    8. "Obviously you've drank the Kool-Aid. I came from a journalism background where it mattered that your reporting was accurate and your copy clean..."

      Have drank? Oy.

      Perhaps standards weren't all that high in the good ole days either.

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  2. 9:24 a.m.: Television is bad, too. There are all kinds of mistakes on news, sports and political shows when there is writing on the screen. I guess we'll just have to "Watch the news on radio," to paraphrase then-President Gerald Ford. He actually said, "I watched the game on the radio," before laughing and correcting himself.

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  3. The hed on the top brief on Thursday's sports front at my site said, "Federer cruises into US Open semis."

    Oopsies. It was Nadal.

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  4. Usa Today has gotten particularly bad. The mistakes on line are almost as numerous as the silly stories posted as news. What is Dave Callaway smoking?

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  5. Newspaper mistakes have been happening for years now, but they keep escalating. The TV crawlers are now getting into the act. Not to mention...I have seen goof in magazines, ads, even instruction manuals with items. Maybe from the twitter/texting culture where misspells and wrong words are the norm?

    I haven't figured out what's worse...the mistakes or the people who are supposed to catch them.

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  6. Here's a good example from yesterday how USA Today has become more ignorant and is spreading ignorance. "1 in 5 married households in USA has foreign-born spouse." The comments section has reaction from readers who can do (what used to be) middle-school math.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/06/stateline-marriages-foreign-spouse/2775271/

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  7. The people who are supposed to catch the mistakes were laid off

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    1. Not true. Just lazy and not held accountable.

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  8. Not only can their readers do math ... they also seem afraid of American women.

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  9. USA TODAY is irrelevant. But that's the intention. It's not about journalism. It's about clicks. But even as a ad network, it really sucks. Real Media - or even AdKarma does a better job. Thanks, Gracia.... Your stylist? Not so much....

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  10. The USAT haters appear to think the paper was ever relevant. Nothing's changed since Jimmy worked there. It was always a third or fourth read. And when Jimmy worked there the web was just getting established. Of course he left in time to start a blog that makes no money. But that's another story!

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    1. Hi 9:43 p.m., I see that you are back again, with your demeaning "Jimmy" references and with posts that communicate nothing useful. The positive: Your latest post doesn't have your usual homophobic references that say so much more about you than about the target of your puerile remarks. For that, we grownups should be grateful. So, thank you.

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    2. 3:00 what are you James' Mommy? Jim, Jimmy,Jimbo, James, what do you care? Oh a d I am not the Homophobic guy. I am another guy who chooses to stand up when Jimmy spews BS! Now it's Jimbo's turn to say, "oh yeah, post some examples!!!" Nah, I just post um when I seeze um!!!

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    3. Sorry! You're not homophobe guy. You're spelling-impaired guy. Apologies.

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    4. Thanks, 5:22. That's funny. Let's see how the "Jimmy" guys respond. Not well, probably.

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  12. Just got a breaking news alert from the geniuses at Usa Today. Wrestling reinstated for 2020 0lympics. I can now plan the rest of my day!

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  13. More relevant than your stupid post.

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  14. It's time for everyone at Gannett, including myself,
    to make plans to move forward without them. I have a plan to get out but I worry about some of my younger dedicated friends who still believe that things will turn around. Delusional, wishful thinking, I hope they know the reality is that in a few years their job will no longer be there. I am not trying to be negative I am merely telling the reality of the situation. No one's job is safe — whether you are a VP, a middle manager or just a regular worker. Pay off your debt as much as you can, save and save more and network with every contact you have. We are nearing the end of the transition phase of Gannett and we all need to move forward and hopefully find something other then being employed here. Best of luck my friends.

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    1. I have a great boss. She treats me with respect, asks for my input and supports my career goals. Gannett has been great.

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    2. I had such bosses, too, 5:14. They were not consulted when the decision to lay me off was made several levels above them.

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    3. No one is saying there are not good people who work at Gannett. I like all of my co-workers. I am just merely saying the writing is on the wall loud and clear. I think people should plan for what is going to happen next. Things are not going to get better at the community newspapers. Digital is the push and it will continue to be. Get your boss to write you a good reference. It will be needed in your next job search.

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  15. 5:14 You're joking right?

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    1. Nope, I'm happy

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  16. Who wants to guess that the entire newspaper leadership is white males?

    http://tinyurl.com/q6m5kw9

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  17. USA Today took a hard turn in the wrong direction about five years ago. But there were other wrong turns before that.

    USAT to some degree was always a dysfunctional place with a lot of internal nastiness and incompetence. However, in the "good times," there were enough pros in the newsroom to compensate for the rest of the lackluster journalists (editors, reporters, designers, etc). Those pros weren't concerned about popularity contests or climbing the corporate ladder. They were focused on putting out the best product possible under often difficult circumstances.

    It was not a perfect way of operating. Cancerous pockets formed. The infighting, lying and deceit were awful. All those imperfections in the foundation began to turn into large cracks that were causing structural damage. USAT managers were playing a game of survival instead of doing their jobs.

    Then the recession hit and things totally imploded. USAT threw out the baby with the bath water. In one way or another, it got rid of far too many people who were the gatekeepers, the staff who helped USAT gain some respectability over the years. Everything was about clicks and assimilating under-qualified journalists into the newsroom. A lot of dead wood survived, granted, and too many inexperienced people who can't spell newspaper remained on the payroll to try to do the jobs once held by folks who actually knew what they were doing.

    This is a big part of the reason why USAT now stinks. It's an amateur product. It's managers not only lack journalistic seasoning, they lack basic supervisory abilities. One mistake has been compounded by another, which has been compounded by another.

    Instead of taking a deep breath and making intelligent decisions that wouldn't degrade the product, USAT used the recession to unload people who either made a little too much money or just weren't popular with the trendy new gang that took over.

    USAT lost sight of the fact that you can have a good website AND print product at the same time, but you can't do that if all your eggs are in one unproven basket.

    What has happened at USAT should be a great example of the folly of corporate America. When companies make decisions soley based on speculation and the stock market, the product collapses. When companies squash so-called "whistle blowers," space shuttle blow up. When there isn't a process in place for smart downsizing, then long-term prospects become weakened.

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    1. Oh please. What a rant. Another "journalist" with unfulfilled dreams.

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  18. You must have worked at a different USA Today. I just retired after 25 years there in the news room and I mostly enjoyed the job and the people. I worked previously in wire services and network news. USA Today staffers are cub scouts compared to the cut throat office politics in those organizations. It's pretty simple: USAT must confront the same problems that all major dailies face in the light of the digital world. And it has been changing. That's how companies survive. One can argue all day about quality and the good old days. Your opinion -- which is what your fact-vacant exposition is -- still counts as much as mine. But a publication that pumps out 1.8 million copies a day is hardly imploding, at least not yet. The big papers, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, at the high end, and the vigorous small town dailies and weeklies, at the low end, are tough survivors. You should be worrying about the vast middle, the second-tier dailies. That's where the arterial bleeding is taking place.

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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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