Sunday, June 7, 2009

Publisher's Quote of the Year

The year isn't half over yet, but I don't know how he's going to top this one. The publisher is writing about the daily page of three-graf bitties of "News Across America," a clone of a format popularized by USA Today. The local imitation provides volume without substance and tends to reflect the taste of copydesk kids: murder, mayhem, abuse and alternate realities. The copy kids convinced the boss headlines just take up space. Plus, they're hard to write.

To be fair ...

... the rest of the story is the publisher decided to change this policy and "headlines" now appear over the items. Let's see how that's working.

Today's sampling: Military training (Arizona); Pizza parlor shooting (Connecticut), Fort Wayne fire (Indiana); Bike-basking bees (Michigan); Snow in June (North Dakota) ... and so on. These aren't really headlines, of course. They are random phrases harvested from the lede.

This is what the publisher referred to when he wrote, "Our crack news team put their brainpower into finding a way to give you daily headlines but not create massive manual work."

Meanwhile, over at the Venice Gondolier, alien reptiles have invaded:

Since sheriffs in the "old west" never once assembled Sarasota County citizens to help round up alien reptiles, Carol Sakowitz's lede mixes fact and fiction and ends up being silly instead of clever. It fails journalism's sniff test for "clever." That is, does it help inform the reader and illuminate the story, or does the trope merely attempt to show off a writer's wit?

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