Friday, May 31, 2013

Credible News Outlet(s)? Not Really

Media, especially the electronic kind, is mired in a search for relevance and credibility. True to form, Fort Wayne media does everything it can to sabotage it's once stellar stranglehold on the hearts and minds of their audiences. Wrong facts, spelling and grammar errors, poor writing, and the ever-popular "copy and paste press release dodge" all contribute to a sense that they really don't care. 

Here are two examples from WPTA/WISE/IndianasNewsCenter, etc. 

First, a complicated and important story where the writer has no problem spelling "jaundice" but can't seem to master the word "restaurant". 

Earlier in the week, we were told of a "huge" sinkhole at the corner of "Cody and Pemberton Streets. Credibility takes it in the shorts again, as most school children in Fort Wayne know that Cody is an Avenue and Pemberton is a Drive. Note also that "huge" means 10 feet wide. If the hole were 20, we might be told it was "giant". 

Some may blame budget cuts, other may point to a more relaxed presentation style. The fact of the matter is that no one seems to care. At this writing, both of these stories are still live on the station's website. This must be acceptable to the station ownership, management and advertisers and viewers. Remember, this is Fort Wayne, where most TV reporters are simply biding their time until Channel 8 in Grand Rapids or Channel 8 in Indy calls. Then, it's off to chase stardom and bright lights of TV showbiz, once called Journalism. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ambiguous Headline of the Day

WANE TV wins the honor today with a headline that implies that a man was killed after he was struck by a vehicle in a parking lot. 
The actual story that the headline links to is correct. The man died as a result of being hit by a vehicle. The headline in question makes it sound like the man was killed (by someone) after he was hit. 

The winning headline:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Forget Something, J-G?

It's no secret that the mainstream, traditional media view the "new media" with fear and disdain. While established media, like the Journal Gazette, appear to embrace the internet and social media, the fact of the matter is that most view it as a pain in the ass and a threat to their established presence in the hearts and minds of their audience. 

A glaring example. "The photo comes from an in-store surveillance camera...". Uh, what picture??

Of course, you can bet the rent money that the photo appeared in the print edition. One can only conclude that the JG, like so many other 'established media' really couldn't give a damn about their online audience. 

For 'Philip', who accused the Maven of cropping the screen, here's the full screen and the web address:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Two Friday Night Favorites

What Friday night would be complete without one of the Maven's most popular feature's, the 
Obligatory WANE TV Typographical Error? 
And the Maven is hoping it is an error, rather than another failure of our public education system. 

Here you go:

Now, if the Indiana State Police would start enforcing the spelling laws of this state.......


But wait, there's more. It's the
WOWO Ambiguity of the Day
Here it is:

Now, let the emails resume......

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Slow News Day - Send Nasty Emails

The Maven usually does not publicly respond to baseless criticism, however, today is an exception.

In a blog posting yesterday, the Maven thanked WANE TV for quickly correcting a misspelled word in an online story involving Dana and the City. The word in question was "axle". 

While the volume of complaints were quite small, it's quite clear that one of the newsrooms in town questioned the existence of a misspelling and it was not the WANE TV newsroom that was upset.  

The Maven is rather amused that another Fort Wayne newsroom would have the luxury of time to compose and send rather tasteless emails from company-owned assets, but that must be how 20-somethings entertain themselves on a slow news day. 

Below you will see the first issue of the story on the left (the Maven apologizes for the lousy quality) and the corrected version on the right. 

So, ladies, there's the story you said (in rather vulgar terms) did not exist. Feel better now? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Revisiting Allege, Alleged, Allegedly

Other than a rude waiter, an occasional inept wine steward, or a proctologist with cold hands, nothing irritates the Maven more than the improper use of the word "alleged" in a news story.

The purveyors of awful prose at Indiana NewsCeneter, WPTA, WISE, et al. are at it again with this ditty, which seems to contradict itself.

The first paragraph alleges credit card theft, while the second paragraph identifies the crime as credit card theft, citing the Warsaw Police as a source. So, which is it?

Media outlets routinely fall all over themselves using the word "alleged" and it's cousins, mainly to protect themselves against nuisance lawsuits brought by people accused of crimes. In this case, the use of the word is merely clutter, making an unattractive news story even more mundane. 

The AP Style Book is quite clear on the use of the "A" word as seen on the right hand side of the graphic. 


One word of compliment, for INC, WPTA, WISE, et al. Thank you for correcting your online story this morning mentioning Dana "AXEL". Most 4th graders, even in the Fort Wayne Community Schools, know that it's "AXLE". The Maven wonders if the word was misspelled on the press release from DANA or the City. 


Sunday, May 12, 2013


I don't know who David Wilson Rogers is, but if I ever meet him, I'd like to buy him a drink, or a small foreign car.  I could not agree more with is assessment of the national media.  

"The problem with Journalism today is that it is no longer dedicated to informing the public. Rather, it is dedicated to drawing an audience to the advertisers. In order to do that, it panders to the political passions of its audience and sensationalizes its content in ways to make it emotionally addictive, thus hooking the audience within its influence. In most cases it reports distorted and biased information. In many cases, it reports outright lies. Much of what passes for "news" these days is really political commentary and partisan rhetoric." - David Wilson Rogers

While our local Fort Wayne media may kiss the asses of local political forces in an effort to remain in their good graces, most of what affects local media is inexperience, ineptitude, and general laziness. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mean and Nasty

The Maven is wondering who pissed in WANE TV's cornflakes. From the tenor and tone of a couple of recent news stories, it's clear that WANE TV's attitude is anything but warm and fuzzy when it comes to attempting to sully people's reputations for the sake of an "exclusive" news story. 

A few weeks ago, WANE TV brought us an "exclusive" investigative story about two Fort Wayne police officers involved in a fatal 'line of duty' shooting. This "exclusive" story was the result of a WANE TV news intern, heroically and enterprisingly opening an email press release from the City (sent to all media outlets), which named the officers, identifying them by rank and seniority. As is standard practice, the release also included work and disciplinary histories of those officers. More than a few casual observers questioned WANE TV's motives in publishing the detailed personnel files, because to date, no one has been able to draw any conclusions that either of the officers did anything but defend themselves when confronted and threatened by a gun-wielding thug. The obvious conclusion must be that WANE TV wanted to influence public opinion about police and guns and to smear the reputations of the officers involved for the sake of enhanced audience ratings and a healthier profit margin for the station owners. 

Read the story here:

More recently, Friday morning's newscasts featured the revelation that Airel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping and confinement of three women in Cleveland, had a daughter who lived in Fort Wayne. How did WANE TV find this out? Easy, they watched competitor WPTA, the ABC affiliate the day before as ABC interviewed her, here in Fort Wayne. The woman talked about being estranged from her father and that she barely knew him. Not to be outdone, WANE TV conducted an "exclusive" investigation, revealing the woman's former address (noting that the home had been foreclosed upon) as well as a more current address, an apartment complex, where WANE TV interviewed neighbors who offered unsubstantiated 'facts' that the woman had been evicted from the complex. Again, why disparage this woman's reputation and housing troubles, for the sake of a WANE TV "exclusive" story. No purpose was served, just another opportunity to sully or malign someone's reputation for the sake of enhanced audience ratings and a healthier profit margin for the station owners.

That story is here:

WANE TV should remember that public records are available for any citizen, including so-called journalists, assignment editors, news directors, sales people, sales managers and general managers. The old yarn about glasses houses and throwing stones may seem appropriate, here.
Reporting news is protected by the First Amendment and is one of the hallmarks of liberty and a free society. However, the use of embarrassing or sensitive information NOT germane to a news story, for the purpose of creating artificial scandal for the sake of ratings, profits, and a big bonus for the guy in the corner office is not only unprofessional, it's disgusting. If this is the new direction for local TV news to find ratings and profitability, the Maven is deeply disturbed. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Calling the Media On The Carpet

The Maven was impressed with a piece in Saturday's News Sentinel. Even more impressive is that the op-ed was not written by a News Sentinel staffer, but by a regular reader. 

Kimberly Grannan-Wagner eloquently, and with heart, puts the local media in their place for media's attempts to smear police officers under the guise of investigative journalism. 

You can read the story here: 

It's one thing when media gadflies and over-the-hill bloggers take umberage at the questionable tactics of our lazy, local media ... but when private citizens notice, and take action ... the Maven in encouraged.