Sunday, September 29, 2013

Maven's Mailbox

A READER ASKS: Just what qualifies you to be a critic of local media?

THE MAVEN RESPONDS: The same thing that qualifies you. The Maven uses the media just as you do. Additionally, the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech. You and I may not agree, but we are both guaranteed the opportunity to express ourselves. The Maven is more than a little troubled, thought, when media outlets attempt to stifle criticism and/or attempt to intimidate critics. And don’t think they don’t try. That’s the arrogance of media that the Maven often notes in blog posts.

A READER ASKS: What's the f*ing issue about typos. Aren't you being just a little anal? 

THE MAVEN RESPONDS: The media like to position themselves as experts on everything and often think of themselves as somehow intellectually and morally superior to the poor, uneducated bastards who read, hear and view their product. Casual errors make media look foolish. Is it too much to ask for someone to spell check?

A READER ASKS: Why do you make such a big deal when a radio station reprints a press release on their website? You make it sound like they're criminals.

THE MAVEN RESPONDS: There is nothing wrong with publishing or presenting a press release as long as it’s identified as such. But a few news outlets feel there is nothing wrong with presenting someone else’s work as their own. A local TV station has taken a significant amount of heat for cutting and pasting (STEALING) from local blog sites, and passing off the words, thoughts and reporting as their own. The TV station’s solution? Ban the Blogger. WOWO News used to be the biggest offender, but has now begun to identify and attribute press releases to the authority issuing them. Cut and Paste Journalism is deceptive, dishonest, and lazy.

A READER ASKS: How come you hate WOWO so much? Did they fire you?

THE MAVEN RESPONDS: The Maven has never worked for WOWO, but was employed by their current owner 40 years ago. WOWO has made some bad management decisions. The firing and subsequent rehiring of Pat Miller is just an example. Then there are names like Gregg Henson and Dave Wheaton who damaged WOWO’s credibility by their inability to understand Fort Wayne tastes, habits and institutions. Listeners are still suffering from their inept actions. WOWO’s current news director lacks both the qualifications and knowledge to even read a newscast, let alone sit in a journalistic position of authority. There is no excuse for mispronouncing the names of streets, towns, and the names of prominent people and politicians. A pro tip for WOWO: The Indiana Legislature has never had a representative named Phyllis POUND, from New Haven. Once is a mistake, three consecutive broadcasts, that's an embarrassment and credibility-killer. Other than those few points, the Maven is OK with WOWO.

A READER ASKS: Why do you hide behind a pseudonym? Why don’t you use your real name? What are you afraid of?

THE MAVEN RESPONDS: For the same reason that most of the people you hear on the radio, and to a certain extent, see on TV “hide behind a pseudonym. They don't use their real names. The Maven enjoys the freedom to express himself without embarrassing his family and because the FW Media Maven name is more memorable. Maven also has other business interests that are not compatible with media criticism.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Defining and Dividing Us

The news story is about Southwest Fort Wayne getting an ALDI store. But the first paragraph of this Journal Gazette story speaks more about how the Journal Gazette and their bumptious and haughty owners view the 'little people' of Fort Wayne. 

"A different clientele" is the label they use. What's this "different clientele"? Fat people, black people, poor people, stinky people, ugly people? The J-G seems to think that only these people seek bargains and search for value. In their minds, no one shopping at Stein Mart would ever shop ALDI. Does anyone think that the J-G owners pump their own gas? They have 'people' for that, after all. 

Fort Wayne's morning newspaper has a nasty habit of using their news coverage and editorials to categorize and divide groups of people and to exacerbate perceived inequities between those groups. The idea is to create friction or conflict. This creates "news" and sells newspapers and further builds the Inskeep family fortune. The Maven always chuckles when J-G editorials crow about protecting working people, minorities and the disadvantaged while it's owners laugh all the way to the bank. Somewhere exists a stronger word for hypocrite, but the Maven cares not to invest any more time in this story. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

When Is A Robbery Not A Robbery?

From what the Maven hears on WOWO newscasts, the only actual training most of their news people seem to get is:

  •  How to correctly turn on a computer, 
  •  How to open a Word document, and then 
  •  How to save their work. 

Any other skills acquired happen purely by accident. 

Today's example involves a break in and theft from Brown House Restaurant in Auburn. However, the intrepid news writer identifies the crime as a ROBBERY. But, it wasn't. It was, as the WOWO news copy states a Break In, or theft. There is a difference. According to the Maven's personal attorney, and drinking buddy, a ROBBERY is "the act or an instance of unlawfully taking the property of another person by the use of violence or intimidation". Even someone as detached as the WOWO news director can plainly see that the news story does not indicate that anyone (that would be a human or person) had a gun stuck in their face and/or was forced to hand over money or cheeseburgers. 
No, the story plainly states that the establishment was broken into while no one was there and that property (cash) was taken. 

Why is this a 'big deal'? Because, boys and girls, aside from taking another hit in the credibility department, there are legal ramifications. When the media (WOWO News does qualify as 'media', if only in the academic sense) throws around words that are also legal terms and definitions, things can get dicey for prosecutors. It's not a good thing if the local loud-mouth radio station influences the potential jury pool with information that is not only inaccurate, but also false. Remember, WOWO is the station that, last year, convicted a man of murder....even before he was arrested and charged. They've done that twice in the last 22 months. 

Examples like this painfully illustrate that WOWO is only going through the motions.....

Monday, September 16, 2013

WPTA 21Alive Embarrassment of the Day

Nice ad placement guys. Considering what the officer was charged with, couldn't you at least come up with a condom ad? Or a Rape Crisis hotline ad?

It is clear that WPTA 21Alive doesn't care what they put on Social Media. It's only a matter of time before their slipshod hi-jinx on the internet will begin to soil the otherwise good name of their on-air product.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nobody Reads That Crap Anyway, Right?

Last week, 21Alive moved Huntertown from Allen to Noble County. Simple mistake, right? 

It's obvious that 21Alive does not really care about their online presence. If they did, we would not see silly errors like this below. OK, so it's a Facebook page, but it is the 21Alive Facebook page. One would think that with the amount of money and resources that 21Alive expends to advance their brand beyond traditional TV, they might take an extra moment and spell check their work. Guess not.

The real shame is that Ray of Hope does good work, and the news story is well done. However, 21Alive drops the ball, again. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

21Alive Needs A Map

This is not about laziness. This is not about a misspelled word or errant typo. This is a text book example of ignorance about the market that 21Alive purports to serve. This is an insult. 

This, otherwise, well-written news story about 2 lucky people, contains an error that even a grade-school child in the Fort Wayne Community Schools could recognize. 

Huntertown is NOT in Noble County. Huntertown IS in Allen County, platted in 1869, incorporated in 1966.

It's difficult for any news organization to expect to be viewed as credible, when they either don't care, or don't know simple information about the cities, towns and areas they serve. 

The Maven is certain that the 4,810 people who live in Huntertown would rather be paying Noble County tax rates rather that Allen County tax rates....but even misinformation from 21Alive  won't change that.