Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cut And Paste Bites INC....

"Cut and paste" journalism carries a price and INC should feel fortunate that a public 'mea culpa' is all that this little piece of journalistic malfeasance has cost them. 

Just one simple phone call to Dr. Yager for a comment or verification would have prevented this debacle. 

This is what happens when facts are not checked, sources are not verified, and when 'news' gets on the air, in print, or is published on the web with little or no supervision. It's all fun and games until someone gets a lawyer and threatens to wipe out all of the media outlet's 1st quarter profits with a nice defamation lawsuit and/or hefty settlement. 

Perhaps now, our established local media will be a little more careful about cutting and pasting from the internet, when that information should have been gathered (and verified) the old fashioned talking with human beings. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Useful Idiots?

The Maven congratulates the Fort Wayne Housing Authority and their Executive Director Maynard Scales for the skillful use of the media in blaming the so-called "sequester crisis" in Washington, DC for all the money troubles experienced by their agency in Fort Wayne. To say that FWHA fed a line of bovine excrement to WANE TV is an understatement. The fact that WANE TV swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker is even more incredible.

Note the headline in the WANE TV story. Thousands will be homeless in Fort Wayne? How can that be?

Now, it's one thing to present the FWHA's contention that the sequester issue might/will impact their operations. However, for WANE TV to present this as fact, with no corroboration or presentation of an opposing viewpoint, is classic laziness and journalistic malfeasance. 

Kudos to FWHA for 'owning' WANE TV on this one. The least they could have done was offer WANE TV dinner and a cigarette afterwards. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Allege Allegations Allegedly Alleged

Another news story in the electronic media today was loaded with the word 'allege' (along with it's grammatical cousins). Many neophyte news writers are told by their supervisors that the use of the word insulates them from any liability should the person named in the news story threaten legal action for defamation, libel and/or slander. The dirty little secret is that this is not a magic word and it's misuse can actually make matters worse. 
So, as a public service, for the boys and girls rewriting those police press releases into hard-hitting 'news copy', the Maven respectfully offers this direction from the AP Style Book and Libel Manual: 

Former Indiana University Basketball coach Bob Knight used to torture sports writers with this quote: "Most of us learn to write in the second grade. Some of us move on to accomplish greater things". 
What does this have to do with 'allege'? Nothing, really. The Maven just likes the quotation. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Maven's Mailbag

A message from a FW Media Maven fan:

I hope that answer helps you out, Chuck. I know that you and your colleagues in the WOWO newsroom take your jobs and positions in the "information community" very seriously. I'm honored that you would take time away from your incredibly important duties to read what some gasbag wrote on a blog. 

While we're having a little fun with each other, let me seriously make one point. From the words and spirit of your message, it sounds like you and some your media brethren feel that typos, errors, lazy copy and bad presentation are not cause for concern; this is normal and accepted behvior. You can impugn the Maven's writing and mistakes all you want, but I no longer sit behind a microphone or labor in front of a typewriter (Mr. Zimney can show you a picture of a typewriter) and crank out content for the general public. You and your friends, on the other hand, are paid to be a trusted resource of information, presented in an accurate manner and using accepted standards of spelling, grammar and style.

Thanks, Chuck for being a good sport and setting the Maven straight about the acceptable practices of today's media. That has really helped.