Re. Crummy local newspapers?

Subject: Re. Crummy local newspapers?
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 11:19:13 LCL

Gary Moran asked why we seem to be so critical of local
newspapers. Lots of reasons possible:

1. We're all closet editors. (Actually, I'm out of the
closet. <grin>) Thus, allow me to invert a quote I've seen
on the copyediting list: "All writers are failed editors.
But then, so are most editors." <grin again>

2. The grass is always greener... You can't always use
other papers to use as a standard of comparison.
Particularly if...

3. you're familiar enough with local news to spot the
glaring gaffes. These make you much more suspicious of
hidden problems you'd not detect elsewhere, such as...

4. Fact checking doesn't always get done, or done well,
under time pressures. A school friend of mine disappeared
in central America, and his Mom put out a plea for help.
The plea and the news made all the papers and the national
news because of a feared drug mafia connection.
Unfortunately, they got his name wrong, listed him as
missing in the wrong country, and when it turned out he'd
been killed by guerillas, they named the wrong guerilla
group from yet another incorrect country. Sort of shot
their credibility in my eyes. Then again...

5. Perhaps we have unreasonably high standards. I've put
out internal newsletters on relatively short deadlines
(say, a ***week***), and wasn't really pleased with the
results. I don't even want to contemplate doing it in less
than one ***evening***, 7 days per week with no respite.
Makes a week seem like sheer luxury.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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