Monday, April 28, 2014

Now You Know Why They Sound That Way

Why do newscasters on radio and TV sometimes sound like blithering idiots? Well, now it can be told. 
The answer, my friends is not blowing in the wind, but it has to do with the crap the news readers are given. Some instances below:  

Example One: WOWO News from today. Try reading the first line of this story without looking at it first.

How did you do? Did you falter when looking for a the missing word while you were reading? An early morning WHAT? Don't feel bad, no one, other than the fool that wrote this, would know what the missing word is. 

Example 2: Now picture yourself as a 21 Alive TV news anchor, all blow-dried and ready to stare into the teleprompter with a concerned look on your face as you read the latest news to Fort Wayne's news hungry masses. You begin reading a piece of journalistic prose and then this next sentence is sprung upon you: 
Oh yeah, a booby trap. "Release at the time", instead of "released at the time". Boom!

And just for good measure, in case you missed it, an entire city block in Fort Wayne was served with a warrant. No word, yet, if the City block has retained an attorney. 

Perhaps the kids in the WOWO News room meant the warrant was served IN the 300 block, but don't forget this is the same gang who reported that the ENTIRE City of Fort Wayne was sentenced on a child molesting charge, just last week....

Hey, WOWO said it, so it must be true, eh?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Charged With vs Charged For.....

Another installment of the Maven's News Writing Continuing Education Seminar: 

To review from last time, suspects are charged WITH a crime, they are not charged FOR a crime. 

To make things more complicated, today's example uses both the correct and incorrect phrases. 

So, kids, to review: charged with = GOOD. Charged for = BAD. 

And then, there's this: 

Did you know that the entire city of Fort Wayne has been sentenced for child molestation. 


Hey, WOWO said it, so, it must be true!


Coming up in our next installment: "They aren't murderers, until they are convicted". Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Challenge or A Dare?

The Maven seems to have hit a nerve. 

Any email that begins with the words "Hey, A$$hole" always gets the Maven's attention. The "writer" continues: "If you think you can write a better story, go ahead, f*head.". Well, nice to see that your high-priced college education is serving you so well.

OK,  challenge accepted. The Maven has chosen a random WOWO News story from today. 

First is the WOWO version, the second is the Maven's version.

Please note that the Maven's story is short and concise and does not contain superfluous information. The Maven also does not include confusing and incorrect statements such as " being charged for robbery..." That phrase is not only awkward, it makes the writer appear ignorant. People are charged "with" a crime, not charged "for" a crime. 

The real crime here, is that a once-respected news operation has become a laughable parody of its former self. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

WOWO, Never Disappoints

Almost as fun as sucking on oranges.

WOWO News strikes again. 

It's one of those "Craigslist" stories where someone invites a total stranger they have never met into their home. Of course, what could go wrong?

Well, when put in the hands of the kids in the WOWO Newsroom, hilarity usually ensues. 

I don't know about you, but being shot in the keen, as WOWO News has retyped from the 21Alive website, has to be a real pain in the ass, or whatever.....
But, in spite of an injured keen, at least the woman and her accomplice were kind enough to leave the man's front door attached, not running off with it into the night, or day, or wherever crooks go.

That's what the Maven enjoys, thoughtful criminals.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Media Strives to Confuse

Media claims it informs and enlightens. 
Fort Wayne media seems to go out of the way to confuse and frustrate their listeners/readers/viewers 

Issue one: Hoagland Avenue vs. Hoagland Road. The Avenue is in Fort Wayne, the Road is in southern Allen County. Those who have lived here for more than 18 months know there's a difference. 
The kids in the WOWO newsroom report Hoagland Road.  
The morally superior Journal Gazette reports Hoagland Avenue
Winner is:  The Journal Gazette. The Journal correctly located the burning house on Hoagland Avenue, complete with numerical address and mentioning it is near downtown. 
The WOWO kids, who received the same press release from the Fort Wayne Fire Department, failed to cut and paste the information correctly into their newsroom computer.  
So, Journal Gazette readers were informed, while WOWO listeners were confused.

Issue Two: Word economy, or using the most recognizable words in a news story to avoid jargon or trendy terms. 
A close-up for those, like the Maven, who acquire their eyeglass at the Dollar Store:

Here's a Pro Tip for the kids in the WOWO News room: Only motivational speakers, stuffy university professors, corporate trainers, or snake oil salesman "present". All others "speak to" or "address" audiences. The Maven is deducting Double Points because the offending word was used twice in their story....or is that the exact copy from the press release that you cut and pasted?  Once again, WOWO listeners are not informed, they are confused

Issue Three: It's really cute how organizations will attempt to name themselves in order to create a handy acronym for their company or event. Many times it works well, but in the case of the 21 Alive story below, if the idea is forced, the audience can be confused.

Nice, huh? While one might excuse the media for this foolishness and blame the outfit hosting the job fair, you'll also notice that 21 Alive and NBC33 are sponsors of the event, which probably the only reason this event is 'newsworthy'. 21 Alive viewers are not informed, but are confused with this self-serving news story. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Possibly a Possible Shooting? A possibility.....

One of the things that really irritates the Maven is when the media feels the need to explain and parenthetically describe events that most, normal people can easily understand. 

A "possible" shooting. Does that mean it might not be a shooting?
 WANE TV's own news story describes a man in the hospital with a bullet in his leg and also an shot up apartment.  So, why muddy up the story with the superfluous word "possible"? Why not just say police are investigating two shootings? If the round left the barrel, it's a shooting. Sorry TV folks, it's just that simple. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Media: A Conduit for City PR

An interesting paragraph in an otherwise pedestrian news story about a death resulting from a fight.

The Journal Gazette provides a good rework of the Media Release from the Fort Wayne Police Department surrounding a fight in a house on Gladstone Drive around suppertime on Saturday. 

It's a good story until one curious paragraph shows up toward the end of the article. 

One line, in particular seems to jump forward. "gang activity is not suspected in the death....." 

Uh, let's see. It was a fight, in a home, during daylight hours. Sure, it took place on the media's favorite side of town, the South side, but absent any gun play, the time of day, and the fact that the fight took place indoors, one has to wonder why the Police were so insistent that the "no gang activity" be mentioned in the Media Release, and the news article. 

The Maven wonders if the City is wanting to send a message to a concerned citizenry that our little town has not been taken over by thugs and hoodlums. Perhaps the record murder rate last year, and the more recent spate of bar shootings (and subsequent death of an innocent teenager) are beginning to wear thin with an already wary populous. 

Also, the addition of the new, un-monitorable police radio system virtually guarantees the police can work undisturbed in a veritable "cone of silence" without any citizen oversight. That can't do much to instill confidence in the "facts" the taxpayers get from the media, since the City is the only source for information on crimes and (here comes the G word, again) gang activity. 

A nice, tightly controlled setup, no?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Night F*ups

It's Friday.....and congratulations to WOWO and The Journal Gazette, both claiming a share of tonight's Friday Night F*up award. 

First, it appears to be more than a sticky keyboard in the WOWO Newsroom. There has to be a reason that stories look fine on the Firefox browser, but on Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, some stories look like dog crap. At any rate, it's beyond the expertise of the kids in the WOWO news room, and an IT/web professional needs to step forward to correct the issue. 


And honorable mention to the Journal Gazette. The Maven knows that this story would not have been released by the Associated Press due to the grammar/spelling error. So, the Maven has to assume that some poor Journal Gazette intern or janitor had to retype the AP story, hence the grammar/spelling error. 

Have a great weekend, kids.......

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cut And Paste Journalism

The Maven's Cut & Paste Journalism tidbit of the week, so far, goes to WANE TV for this story about a gentleman facing nine felony charges.

What makes this an award winning act of Cut & Paste Journalism is the fact that WANE's news writer merely cut and pasted the felony charges directly from the media handout from law enforcement. 

Here are the charges as they appear in the WANE news story:
While some charges are fairly easy to discern, others are confusing legal/cop speak. 

One would think that a news operation would strive to clearly communicate....but that, apparently, is too much like work for WANE TV