Friday, November 14, 2008

School Board Story: All Show, No Tell

The local school board is starting an on-line program of classes aimed at reducing its student drop-out rate. So, exactly what is the school drop-out rate? No telling.

Which classes in the curriculum are part of the program? How many students are expected to use the program? No telling.
What does the program cost? No telling.
How does a student enroll? Who supervises the work? No telling.
Where is it to be installed? When does the program begin? No telling.

In an unrelated story inside the paper, the school district's superintendent, Adrian Cline, show-and-tells his own FDR mementos to the local historical society. Cline comments that FDR was able to hide his disability from the public because "he had an understanding with the media. You'd never see that today."

Actually, Cline himself seems to have a pretty good understanding with the media. "Reporter" John Lawhorne has been carefully schooled: No telling anything.

So what's wrong with protecting your friends?

Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism describes its pretty well: journalists ... must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favor. This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization's credibility, the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers.

John Lawhorne just doesn't get it.

In other news, the Lake Placid Journal breaks a really big story. It looks like God will be pursing other interests.

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