Friday, March 28, 2014

"No One Reads That Stuff On The Interwebs Anyway...."

Thanks to WANE TV for providing us with our Friday F* Up for this week.

The Maven is sure there are others, but this should suffice. 

The Maven wishes you a nice weekend. Please try to enjoy it, knowing that the state of Journalism in Fort Wayne is about as dead as.....well, you know. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Geographically Challenged

The Maven got a good chuckle from the headline in the lower left of the Journal Gazette, this morning.

"Oil spill near Texas threatens wildlife". 

While the Los Angeles Times wrote the article, it's clear the Journal Gazette wrote the headline. 

Over the years, the Journal has had trouble with inaccurate, scandalous, insipid, racist, dull, and embarrassing headlines finding their way into print. Today's faux pax won't get the Journal Gazette and their owners threatened with being hauled into court, but it does indicate a serious lack of geographic knowledge from the very media outlet that takes every opportunity to hold itself up as the ivory tower of information and high-minded moral thought. 

For the record, Houston, Galveston, Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel are not only NEAR Texas, they are actually IN the state of Texas. 

Now, if the the Journal can't find Texas, then Houston we do have a problem.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How News Is Manufactured

There was a time when journalists cultivated news sources and worked "beats" in order to create news stories. The journalist would interview people, gathering and noting facts. Then, using established writing formats/styles, would weave these many pieces of information into a coherent, factual, balanced and compelling news story. 

Unfortunately, we no longer live in those times. 

Now, a news writer (using the term loosely, here) takes a Press Release that's been sent by email, US Mail, or found on a website, and then copy and pastes the information into their computer making a few meaningless changes, appends their name to the story, and then publishes it as their own work. It's perfectly legal, but, then again, so farting in public. 
A Press Release like this:
With a few minor changes becomes are radio news story like this:
See for yourself with the Maven's exclusive side-by-side comparison. Parts in yellow indicate the insignificant changes made by the news writer (again, using that term loosely):

Now, before the kids out on Maples Road get their panties in a wad, the Maven is only using WOWO News as an example. The practice of relying on Press Releases, as opposed to actual news gathering, is a wide-spread industry malady. Even the esteemed Journal Gazette does this, however they have enough class and dignity to label Press Releases as provided by the entity that wrote them. You've, no doubt seen their "Vertabim" features in the paper? While it's not quite journalism, it's also not quite as slothful as their media colleagues. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Forget "New & Improved", This Is The BEST!

One of the greatest challenges in keeping a product marketable, is the continual effort to keep it new, exciting and enjoyable. 
When that product is a radio station, the challenges can be immense. 
Within the next 12 hours, WAJI 95.1, formerly Majic 95.1, formerly WFWQ 95Q, formerly Rock 95, formerly WPTH, will, again "rebrand" itself as The New 95.1 Best FM

Online Radio media outlet reports: "the station will become “95.1 Best-FM” on Thursday, as it repositions to join the Adult Contemporary trend of reaching younger demographics. The “Majic” brand had a nearly 30 year heritage in the market, being in the AC format since 1985."
The "rebranding/repositioning/reconfiguring" comes just days after morning host Dirk Rowley left the station for the bright lights, stardom, and free jelly donuts offered by WISE TV
The Maven sees Mr. Rowley's departure as just the first step in piloting The New 95.1 Best FM in search of younger, more desirable listeners. Those are the same younger, more affluent people said to be snapping up those $400,000 urban condos, and single handedly rescuing our downtown from years of malaise and turmoil.
So, time will tell if 95.1 Best FM can tap into the over-privileged, upwardly mobile, young, environmentally responsible, socially elite who will soon populate our downtown. The Maven wishes them well. 

Oh, and they may want to call that guy that does their website, as well. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Same Old WOWO News

The Maven realizes it's been some time since the Maven has had some fun with WOWO, so here's a random news story from today:

The first paragraph: No one, other than police, lawyers, or confused journalists, uses the phrase "three male juveniles". Normal people would say "three boys" or "three young men".

Second paragraph is a classic run-on sentence and this is where this story begins to seriously unravel. 

The third paragraph, besides being a disorganized rehash of the first two, uses a questionable word: "offenders". It's questionable because "offender", besides it's generic meaning, is also a legal term for someone convicted of a crime. Calling these three boys "offenders", can be construed to indicate they are either guilty, or have previous convictions. Of course, WOWO has, in the past, called people "murderers" even before a jury selection. So, the Maven has little regard for their understanding of legal affairs. 

And the last line, "indecent remains under investigation"......well, duh!

Friday, March 14, 2014

If You Were From Around Here, You Would Know That, #26

The Maven presents another installment of "If You Were From Around Here, You Would Know That"Today is chapter #26 in a continuing series.

The offender is a "fluff" piece about the Downtown Improvement District's new offices at 904 South Calhoun. In it, writer Jaclyn Goldsborough waxes eloquently and with great awe describing the finer points of the new space. 

To further amplify her point, Jaclyn points out that the new venue offers "a scenic view of Freimann Square" which she notes is "the popular park for many D.I.D. events such as Lunch on the Square and Buskerfest." (street performers we shoo away the other 51 weeks of the year).

Uh, just one problem, Jaclyn. NEITHER of those events take place at Freimann Square. A quick read of the D.I.D. pamphlets indicate those events took/take place at Wayne and Calhoun, in the shadow of One Summit Square in a quaint, well-maintained grassy park area. Freimann Square, on the other hand is north and east of the 904 South Calhoun address.  Unless someone decides to move Lincoln Tower or chooses to add 19 stories to the D.I.D. office building, Freimann can't even be seen from the new office.

The bottom line, kids, if you're going to work in the media in this town, it would be helpful if you would learn the names of the streets, the names of the local politicians, and the names of the local bars. Because if you screw up the first two, chances are you'll want to be able to locate the last one.

And shame, as well, to the News Sentinel for the lack of editorial oversight and non-existent proof reading that should have stopped this piece of "journalism" from ever making it to a press or web page. Perhaps the only reason this "fluff" article exists to to guarantee the New Sentinel gets a part of the D.I.D. advertising budget, this year. Not sure if that's going to happen, now. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Religious Day Care Centers Killing Children?

It says it right there in the first paragraph of the story.....

You don't have to be a rocket scientist, or even a weekend sports anchor to conclude from the first paragraph of this news story that children would be alive today, if they had not attended religious day care centers in the State of Indiana. 

Shame on the AP writer for not being clear or concise in the lead paragraph, and even more shame on the lazy asses at WNDU for running a wire copy story. No budget to send someone to Indy to cover the legislature?  But Jeff Jeffers and the sports department at WNDU have all the resources to cover Notre Dame football with more detail than NBC gave us with the Sochi Olymics. 

Ah, TV news. It's all showbiz, chewing gum for the eyes......

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Warsaw's Times Union: Media Thief

A funny thing happened in media-land in Warsaw yesterday. As best as the Media Maven can figure out, an article headlined "Warsaw Residents Charged with Attempted Murder" appeared on Stacey Page Online, (a free, online 'newspaper') and then, amazingly an identical story appeared word-for-word, comma-for-comma, period-for-period in The Times Union, Warsaw's old-line, established, print newspaper, later the same day. Even the headline matched word-for-word. 

Now, that's what the Maven would call an enormous coincidence.

Journalism has another word to describe it: 

Here's the original story, (image provided by a third party):

And here's the one the Times Union published as their own work, (image provided by a third party):

In the world of media, plagiarism is looked upon as a little more serious than copying your neighbor's homework and turning it in as you own. Well respected journalists have lost their jobs for stealing from a blog, another newspaper, or other published works. Pulitzer prize winners have found themselves tossed out into the street for cheating and stealing like this. Lawsuits have been litigated, out-of-court settlements have been negotiated. But, in a small town like Warsaw, chances are there will be a limp-wristed apology or 'correction' buried in the back pages of the paper, if the slight is even acknowledged by the paper. You know small towns, things tend to get covered up. 

It's one thing when on-line bloggers and writers steal from one another, happens all the time on the internet. But when an established newspaper, in business longer than most of us have been alive, steals content from anyone, it's a black eye for all journalists. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Nice Theory ....

A sharp reader has offered us a theory:

Are the kids in the WOWO Newsroom now writing WANE TV's Facebook posts?

It's a good laugh and a nice theory, but those at WOWO are too busy primping in front of the mirror and checking their text messages to be bothered with extra work. 

Life is good when management is running the kindergarten.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lose the S

We go through this twice a year....

For all the Maven's media friends, from the AP Stylebook:

You're welcome....

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WOWO: Please Get The Kids In The Newsroom A New Keyboard

This is getting ridiculous. The famous (or now, infamous) WOWO Newsroom is turning out news copy that, for lack of a better term, looks and reads like crap. 
No, we're not talking content here. We're still seeing the same issues with mismatched tenses, spelling errors, dangling participles, and confusing thought structure. No, this time we're talking about running words together for no reason. It has to be a keyboard issue. There is no other explanation. 

So, to the empty suits at Federated Media, the Maven is pleading with you to cough up a few extra bucks and buy the kids in the newsroom a new keyboard. I know it might mean fewer lunches at Eddie Merlot's or a few less trips to the massage parlor, but I'm sure you folks on Maples Road or at the home office in Mishawaka can find the money. 
The Maven has even picked out a dandy keyboard for the kids and I'm sure your news director will appreciate the humor in using a keyboard named Black Widow
You are welcome. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Really Bad Press Release Transcribing

The Maven thinks it's incredibly sad that in this day and age of spell checkers, grammar checkers and other gizmos, that someone purporting to be a journalist, could still manage to screw up retyping a simple press release.

Directing your attention to the second sentence....

As an old police acquaintance used to say, "it takes real talent to f**k up a one-car funeral". 

Pass the lip gloss, please. 

Maybe, it's a bad keyboard, or a bad manicure?

Please don't tell me this is your BEST work?