Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Could We Get Somebody Out Here Who Knows News?

Our man in Arcadia reports to the community this morning:
Two DeSoto County School Board members left Tuesday evening to spend two days in Tallahassee, where they will visit the county's lawmakers and the legislature to see how law-making takes place.

The process is rarely news. The process of traveling to Tallahasee is one of those things in a news story that's a given. If our trusty reporter deems this to be the leading edge of the day's events, then he might as well tell readers the women drove north in a blue Ford Windstar and got 24 mpg.

The opening paragraph does double duty by making the junket sound as if it's the sophomore class trip. The next paragraph:
Thankful for a thin agenda, the two school board members Karen Chancey and Deborah Snyder were eager to get away.
OK; whose agenda? The legislature's? This doesn't make sense.
And, just in case any reader has missed the news that two school board members are going to Tallahassee, OMIA provides a clarifying quote:
"The Florida School Board Association is sponoring a day in the Legislature, so we are going up there and hopefully meet with our legislators," Snyder said.
And one sentence later, she adds:
"So we are going to see how the legislative process works and hopefully meet with our legislators and talk about some issues that are really important to us -- for example, the budget."

And just in case readers missed it, OMIA reports:
The two educators will be in Tallahassee for two days.
Could we please, please, please get somebody out here who knows how to detect and report news?
(Forecast: It's too much to expect a genuine follow-up article about two elected officials, a follow up story that reports who they talked to and describes the outcome of the junket and such. OWW is dying to hear if they learned how laws are made. Neither will we get from John Lawhorne any report about how much the trip cost or who paid for it. It sounds as if they've gone up without an agenda or much idea about how to lobby, so what's the point of this trip?)
Over in the head shop, things got a little smoky last night:


  1. You must be new in town. The School Board is a "hands off" topic for reporters. It's the sacred cow. Even mentioning stuff like this in your blog is likely to get your mailbox smashed -- I speak from experience. You are right about needing some Sunshine on this body, but it's not going to happen. The last reporter, Jon Sica, married the district's PIO, so that was a dead end, newswise.

  2. John Lawhorne's stories never make sense. He doesn't have a clue what he's doing. If he worked at a real newspaper, he'd have been fired long ago.