One of the more prevalent trends in media writing is the use of geneder-neutal words to replace politcally incorrect terms like Councilman. It's sexist and offensive. Following the trend, WANE TV is careful to use "councilor" in this story. But true to form, in the next paragraph, WANE TV not only reverts back to the offensive male-version of the word, they use it in the singular form "councilman".
The only conclusion the Maven can draw from this is that sloppy news writing trumps political correctness, every time.
Media elite like to complain that their audience is ignorant and confused, and must depend on them for information and direction. Then the media elite do something like this. They tease their news story with a factually ignorant Tweet:
But their news story says something different:
So, who officially ruled the death a homicide? New Haven PD, or the Allen County coroner?
To be clear, by Indiana statute, only the county coroner can make the official determination when it comes to cause of death (blunt-force trauma) and manner of death (homicide). While the New Haven police are reliable professionals, they are not entitled by Indiana statute to make the determination that WPTA indicates they did in the Tweet promoting their story.
Simply stated, the media elite are either lazy or just as confused as the audience they like to ridicule.
Ignorance or arrogance? Maven thinks its a little of both.
Another senseless murder. Another media outlet reports "facts" without attribution, substantiation, or corroboration that may make it more difficult to prosecute the alleged shooter.
Usually, when someone is accused of a crime, media goes out of their way to say "alleged" shooter or the suspect "allegedly" shot someone, as well as inserting phrases like "police say" or "according to police". Not here. Read the second sentence.....
"Rivera shot and killed Jacob Walerko Thursday night in an attempted robbery." WFFT does not cite a source, instead stating for a fact that Mr. Rivera is responsible for the death of Mr Walerko. From all indications, that is most likely the case, but it's not something a journalist would put in print or publish without citing police, prosecutors or other law enforcement official. Usually there's a trial, a jury and a verdict......just like on Law & Order on TV. If this case does go to trial, be assured the defense will ask for a change of venue, given that "my client has already been convicted in the media" while waving around a copy of the WFFT news story during preliminary hearing phase. You can read the story here: http://www.wfft.com/content/news/Suspect-arrested-in-Meijer-gas-station-shooting-victim-identified-459822083.html
First, on Monday night, WPTA21 repeatedly runs a stale news update in primetime saying "coming up at 5pm" during Dancing With The Stars, and then today, WANE-TV embarrasses themselves, and poor Pat Hoffman, with a graphic that defies explanation.
Why do our local stations continue to do everything they can to tarnish and damage their credibility? Perhaps because the audience no longer demands that local TV media be anything more than just chewing gum for the eyes.
The Maven cringes whenever our local TV "journalists" try and explain anything having to do with the law, medicine, or nuclear physics.
In what should be a simple bar assault story, the kids in the WANE-TV newsroom do their best to confuse their audience by reporting that a man was beaten into a medically-induced coma.
Usually, medically-induced comas are performed in hospitals and not on barroom floors. So, in reading the WANE-TV story, does that mean an EMT, doctor, nurse, or another qualified medical professional beat the living daylights out of the man at the bar?
To further bamboozle and confuse the audience, WANE-TV can't decide,
(1) if the medically-induced coma was performed at the bar, or
Fort Wayne's Media Maven presents another WTF Friday. Real news stories that leave the audience scratching their heads and muttering "WTF"?
Here's an everyday, garden-variety news story about an everyday garden-variety crime. Except the bad guys must have had some exceptionally dangerous hands and feet in order for the police to include those appendages in their official report along with a hand gun.
So what's the real issue here? The Maven thinks someone in LaGrange County law enforcement is having a little fun with the kids in the WANE TV newsroom. Local media has long been accused of just cutting and pasting their news stories from press releases provided by the authorities. This time, the cops have caught local media red-handed. In this case, the folks in LaGrange have gotten a good laugh at the expense of local journalists stenographers, and have given the rest of us a good WTF moment.
The Maven wonders what it is about simple arithmetic that makes media outlets look like blithering idiots? Thanks to our friends at WANE TV for illustrating the point so well in their story about Columbia City's new Aquatic Center.
Columbia City's mayor is upset that the lowest bid for the project is really out of line for what the city had budgeted. Indeed there is a wide gap between the two numbers. What doesn't add up is WANE TV's ability to add and subtract. For those of you with journalism degrees, the Maven will explain the issue s-l-o-w-l-y for you. First, we are told that the difference between the budget and the bid is $800,000. Following so far? Good. In the next sentence, we're told that the lowest bid was $4.7 million or $4,700,000. Then we're told the city had budgeted only $4.2 million, or $4,200,000. Now, here's where it gets tricky, so put down your Starbucks and stop texting for a minute. To find out the difference between the two numbers, simply subtract the smaller number from the larger number. 4,700,000 - 4,200,000 500,000 the difference (not quite 800,000 as we're told) So, how does this happen? Two explanations and neither make the media look good. Scenario #1: The WANE TV people are piss-poor at math. Scenario #2: The WANE TV people took the word of the Columbia City mayor and did not verify the numbers they were given. Either way, now we know that sometimes Journalism is more than just cutting and pasting press releases......
No, you should thank your lucky stars that your producer took the initiative to keep you from looking like an idiot. Considering some of the pronunciation gaffes your colleagues over at WPTA21 commit daily, the Maven is amazed they have not tried to hire your producer. Promote the person, or at the least, buy them a steak dinner.
From our friends at Adams Radio Group, this little gaffe. As any 6th-grader can explain, when sharing something on Facebook, you have the option to add your own comment at the top of the item shared. In this case, someone at the fast-growing radio conglomerate is apparently not familiar with English as a first language.
This has to be a language thing. How else could one confuse CITE for SITE? The folks at vocabulary.com put it into words that even disc jockeys can understand: "CITEis short for citation, SITE a place, and SIGHT is what your eyeballs are for". Not quite the way the Maven might explain it, but good enough for media work. Confusion and lack of detail are nothing new to Adams Radio Group. Many will recall a principal of the group coming to town and boasting the move of sister station WXKE's programming to the 96.3 spot would make them a "50,000-watt station". "Wait, make that "equivalent" to a 50,000-watt station. Same thing, right?" "Oh, no! Sorry, it's equivalent to a 25,000-watt station. Yeah, that's the ticket!"
Finally, the ego-driven dust was settled and reality finally reared its ugly head when a bright reporter checked the official FCC license and allocation validating the 25,000-watt level, but also noting that due to the station's antenna being high above the allocated height for the B1 license class, WXKE was allowed to broadcast a respectable, but lower 8,400 watts. 50,000 to 8,400. What's a few watts between friends, right? Here's the official FCC record: (caution, WXKE sales people may not know this)
And attention to detail?
Aren't you kids missing open parentheses on the phone number? Like (260-483-9393)?
Of course, the Maven hasn't dialed the number, but odds are, they got that correct.
Let's have some Friday Fun. Notice the sentence circled in RED, below. Now, choose the answer that best explains the error. A = No one reads the excrement they write. B = No one is smart enough to recognize an error has been made. C = No one really cares because they plan on being in a larger market by this time next year. Here's your puzzle, choose wisely.
Actually, the answer is D "all of the above". Anyone can make a mistake, right? But WANE TV seems to have elevated errors to an art form. Here are just a few from the Maven's collection: Who could forget this "stinker"?
How about that time that WANE TV published a news story at 10:39 in the morning that was going to happen that afternoon at 5:20? Future News!
Then there was the confusion about what a Tractor Pull looks like. The folks in Arcola sure got chuckle out of this one:
While this all might seem a little embarrassing to some, others take all this in stride. In fact, rumor is that the kids in the WANE TV marketing department are crafting a new positioning statement. Wait for it....(maven has been waiting a long time to use that line) Tada: "WANE TV at least we're not WPTA21". Catchy, huh?
The AP Stylebook is very clear on the use of adjectives in news stories. "When in doubt, leave it out, if you have to use one, make sure it is the right one." Since WPTA21 is owned by an outfit named Quincy Newspapers, one would think that there might be an AP Stylebook floating around their news room. Guess not.
"....Saturday's dangerous boating accident..." While one might argue that all accidents could be seen as dangerous, res ipsa loquitur, the adjective used in this story is wrong. Giving the kids in the WPTA21 newsroom the benefit of the doubt that an adjective might be needed to convey the gravity of the situation, DANGEROUS should have been discarded and the word SERIOUS would have been a much better fit. But why pepper stories with incorrect or inappropriate adjectives? As local TV news operations across the country have struggled to regain their one-time dominance of local ratings and revenue, many "consultants" (every TV station has one) have worked to have stories written to emotionally impact the viewers. The idea is that viewers will "connect" at an emotional level and this will enhance ratings, revenues, and profit. From the Maven's point of view, the over-reliance on out-of-town consultants by local stations has not improved things, instead, these long-distance charlatans have made local TV news a cliche, at best. While the Maven might be coming down a bit hard on the kids at WPTA21, one has to be thankful that on Saturday, our Twitter feeds were not blown up with Baba, the News Whisperer, and that other guy on the news falling all over themselves and breathless reporting an ACTIVE BOATER on Lake Gage.
Fort Wayne's bold initiative to redevelop the riverfront will continue, thanks to City Council giving it's OK to an increase in the local income tax rate. While the supporters of the increase have tossed around various numbers purporting to show how little the small increase will impact local taxpayers, there seems to be a dispute as to whether that pittance will be measured by households, residents or individuals.
It seems that there's a general consensus that the impact will affect households, yet the kids in the WOWO news room seem to believe that each county resident, meaning every man, woman, child, and billy-goat will have to cough up some cash. And, it is indeed strange that WOWO would be the odd man out here, since usually they copy off of someone else's paper. Could this be independent thought, or, a complete ignorance of the facts? So, kids, which is it?
Following up on Fridays "ACTIVE not ACTIVE SHOOTER story. WPTA21, as well as other FW media who cut and paste from their website, called it an ACTIVE SHOOTER situation. Was it? FWPD says, no. It started with this:
An hour later, we get this, telling us police have confirmed an ACTIVE SHOOTER:
Then the News Sentinel puts the issue to rest this way:
Whom to believe? The lady that "whispers" the news? Or the Fort Wayne Police spokesman? For the Maven, it's an easy decision.
Tweets courtesy Mitch Harper's Instagram account.
"ACTIVE SHOOTER" A phrase that strikes terror into the hearts of civilians. For our local media the phrase means: report inaccurate misinformation from incomplete reports, and create conjecture from information provided by readers/listeners/viewers via social media. Then, absent "facts", report quickly and breathlessly, only to have to constantly revise stories to more accurately reflect the truth. What began as an ACTIVE SHOOTER cruising downtown shooting at anything and everything with an AK47 assault rifle, became an ACTIVE SHOOTER shooting at downtown towers (?) just east of downtown. Later, Fort Wayne Police tweeted out the facts.
Yes, facts. Those pesky little things that get in the way of a great news story.
Facts have been known to throw cold water on most any news story that our local media dream up from incomplete information, guesses, conjecture, and social media reports.
Facts also have been know to dash the dreams of young "journalists" looking to enhance their resume reel and career as well as their station's ratings and revenue.
But WPTA21 stands behind their story.
The Maven guesses that includes all the inaccuracies and conjecture in their story? (Which has now been revised to bring it closer to the realm of reality). The "towers downtown" are not the same as the "East Central towers east of downtown". Active Shooter wasn't meant to panic the public and glue eyes to WPTA21? Clearly there is a difference between "an AK-47" and "an AK-47-like rifle". Uh huh. Got it.
One bright spot, the Maven can always count on the kids in the WOWO news room to provide a chuckle........a police vehicle wearing handcuffs.
WANE TV did their best to inject themselves into the local income tax hike story using fuzzy math to confuse and confound their audience. Not to be out done, the kids in the WOWO news room have added their own two cents worth. First off, WOWO commits journalistic malpractice by writing:
In reality, no one, not City Council, not anyone at the "hearing" voted to increase local income taxes. It was a public hearing designed to give residents on either side of the issue a chance to speak. The Council will tentatively vote on the increase on July 11. So, where did the 2-1 number come from? Perhaps, a quote from the sponsor of the increase, Godfather John Crawford is to blame for dazing and confusing the "journalist".....
It's unclear if the inexperienced WOWO staffer misunderstood Dr. Crawford's summary of the hearing, or if the writer is unclear how local government functions. Either way, WOWO, again, kicks their credibility to the curb. Now, all is not lost, however. WOWO did have a chance to give an advertiser some much-needed, valuable publicity, highlighting them as an expert on the issue.....
Update: Apparently the unseen hand at WANE TV has added the word "percent" after the number 75 in the story. The Maven is unsure why this was done, other than to correct a fat-finger goof. So, townspeople, rest assured, WANE TV is not trying to influence public perception.....they just seem to be lousy typists with no concern for detail. Original posting: It's a contentious issue, raising income taxes to pay for riverfront development. The issue has it's supporters and opponents. As a way to insert themselves into the story, WANE TV at some point conducted a poll of their viewers and, from reading this story, got confusing results. Please note the numbers in the story...
As written in their article, the kids at WANE TV say 75 of respondents do not support the tax increase out of more than 1,400 who voted. Nothing to dispute, it's there in black and white and washed-out yellow. Now, using public school math....divide the little number by the big number to get a decimal answer.....
75 divided by 1,400 yields roughly 5.36%.
So, does WANE TV contend that only about 6% of taxpayers oppose the tax increase while 94% support it? Sounds fishy. Then, again, it could just be the media taking on the role of community cheerleaders with little or no journalism taking place.
The Maven checked in on WPTA 21's 6pm newscast tonight. All the Maven can say is, it would make a hell of a drinking game. For every mispronounced street name, take a sip. Pettit Avenue is now pronounced "petite". For every relation to the obvious, take a swig. Weather guy telling us "lightning can be deadly". For every ad lib gone wrong, take a gulp. Female anchor, attempting to sound knowledgeable and credible, does neither, and calls Fort Wayne "a relatively small town". For every ignorant "fact" announced, take a chug. Sports guy thinks college football teams play in "leagues" instead of conferences. And just for fun and extra credit, carefully watch the "B roll", that's video shown while the reporter or anchor reads a story. Tonight, WPTA did a story about an accident-prone stretch of I-69 near Indianapolis. What viewers saw was easily identifiable video of I-69 in Fort Wayne, with many local landmarks. Also, during the obligatory Monday "gas price" story, WPTA 21 talked about Fort Wayne gas prices dropping, but viewers saw video of people fueling cars....with California licenses plates at gas stations that don't exist in Indiana, or even the Midwest. Sure miss Melissa, Curtis and Tommy.
Fort Wayne Newspapers, the business agent for the Journal Gazette and News Sentinel, has program called Newspapers In Education that makes newspapers available to schools for use in the class room teaching environment. It's a worthy program designed to spur reading and instill the habit of reading a daily newspaper in our next generation.
As almost everyone knows, readership and advertising revenue for daily newspapers is falling year after year at a precipitous rate, leaving many papers to seek "alternative" products or services to fill their pages and prop up revenue.
Given all that, the Maven is unsure how school teachers will explain to their students what Sex Cream is, and why it's in the reading assignments.
It is rather sad, that this bastion of Journalism and high community standards that regularly lectures us from it's editorial pages, has lowered their own standards for simple economic gain, something they accuse others of on a weekly basis. As has been pointed out to the Maven on more that one occasion, "well, that new building and $26 million dollar printing press isn't just going to pay for itself".
Gotta love the kids in the WOWO news room. Such a nice story, WOWO being the good civic cheerleader hawking the impending tax increase to pay for Riverfront development. Nice story, even shows how little Fort Wayne earners will be impacted by the increase. One little problem.
The kids cite $5.77 for an average household making $49,000. What WOWO news leaves out: will the increase mean Fort Wayne residents will pay $5.77 a year? Will we pay $5.77 a month? Will we pay $5.77 a week, a day, an hour?
If one bothers to click the link, and suffer through the story, yes, WOWO gets it right there, but their click-bait Facebook tease is dishonest and wrong to omit a key fact in the story. Lazy, dishonest, it doesn't matter. You are being manipulated into clicking on a story by being given as few facts as possible. Once again, media does it's best to confuse, confound and bamboozle those they purport to serve.
Oh, it's $5.77 a month......small bite size chunks.....out of your paycheck.
It was BREAKING NEWS!when it was posted on Friday around 6:00pm. It could have still been considered as BREAKING NEWS! when the story was updated a few hours later. But on Sunday evening, around 7:00pm, this item is not BREAKING NEWS!, but STALE NEWS.
As one WPTA 21 anchor found out early on, TV in Fort Wayne operates 7 days a week. Why the station's website is so stale, especially on weekends, really has no good explanation. The other TV stations in town don't seem to have a problem when it comes to keeping things current.
Here's the Maven's gripe: It's 48 hours later, and your website still shows this story in the prime position on the page as BREAKING NEWS!
Why do the kids in the WOWO news room think that a preview of Netflix June offerings is "local" news?
Answer: Millennial over-think logic: "I live in an apartment, I can't afford a $400,000 downtown condo since I work in the media, but I can afford $9.99/month! A great discovery, thus, it is news. Since my apartment is in Fort Wayne, it's local news!" Why, if the Indy 500 was Sunday, and millions of people saw the Ruoff Mortgage car win the race, are local media only now, days later uncovering this fact? WANE TV on Tuesday, and the Journal Gazette on Wednesday.....
The answer to "why" works better as a multiple-guess question. A) The media did not know that Ruoff was a local company or understand the connection until a cranky salesperson or manager started hollering. B) The media, running bare-bones staff during the holiday didn't have anyone who could write an understandable news story. C) The media held the story until more eyes and ears were available to read or see the story, since media does not think anyone watches or reads during a holiday. Only the Shadow knows......