Friday, January 15, 2010

What I've learned from Addisen

Last night I went to the Detroit Red Wings versus Carolina Hurricanes hockey game at Joe Louis arena. It was a great game, Wings won 3-1, but one of the highlights of the night had nothing to do with hockey, but with Sesame Street.

During a television time-out, the arena reporter picked out a 7-year-old girl to answer questions on the big jumbotron about Sesame Street. If she answered the questions correctly she would win a 4-pack of tickets to a live Sesame Street show coming to Detroit.

So I aced the first two old-school Sesame Street questions (where does Oscar the Grouch live? and who is Ernie's friend?) or at least I think those were the first two questions.

But the last question would have been a game ender for me, except for my granddaughter, Addisen.

The question: "Who is the wanna be fairy in training on Sesame Street?"

Even before they flashed the multiple choice answers on the screen, I yelled out: "I know this, it's Abby Cadabby!"

That brought several stares from the assorted jock types sitting near me. One young man, who was wearing a Shanahan jersey, turned around from his seat right in front of me and asked how I could know such a thing.

"It pays to have a 3-year-old granddaughter," I said. Heck we've got the Abby Cadabby movie, the book and probably an action figure or two in our house.

So I spiked the ball on that one. But I'll probably have to reapply for my man card soon.

Dad finds a winner in the Washington Post

My father, a resident of Virginia, is a voracious reader of newspapers. He loves his newspaper delivered and in hard copy. But he is also one of the best copy editors I have ever known. Some people have that copy editor's eye, the one that catches the smallest detail, and others don't.

My Dad has that eye.

But it didn't take too much detail to discover the mistake he found in this police brief in the Washington Post:

"Here's another reason why I look forward to reading the morning paper. There is a brief news item in the Post this morning about a woman being hit by a dump truck while standing on the side of the road near Leesburg.

The second paragraph identified the woman as Martha Johnson, 45, of Leesburg who left her vehicle. Paragraph five states, The woman's identity is being withheld pending notification of her family. If her family reads the Washington Post, they've got the identity information already!"

Been there, done that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A tale of citizen journalism

I want to be clear that I am not attacking the writer of this story. The fact that the newspaper has turned the keys to its website over to citizen journalists is the newspaper's fault, not the person who posts there. The story may have been written by a young man with little journalism experience, but the fault lies with the organization that allows the posting of raw copy before an editor lays an eye on it.

Here is what was posted Monday morning:

Grand Blanc boy's bowling lose's conference match saturday
Mike Novick, January 11, 2010 11:21 a.m.

Grand blanc boy's bowling team bowl well saturday but Walled lake northern just bowled better.

Walled lake northern won both baker game with a total 430 to grand blanc's 340.Grand Blanc lose the first regular match 1007 to 945 grand blanc was led by senior dean tobias 236 and freshmen Cody gerou 229.

Grand Blanc won the second team game 1040 to 954 being led by Jordan Ruszkowski 265,Dean Tobias 232. Grand blanc won totals for the regular games but losing both baker games put them in a big hole.

Grand Blanc was lead by Dean Tobias 236,232,Jordan Ruszkowski 196,265 and Cody Gerou 229,210

Grand blanc fell to 0-2 in conference play 2-2 overall

An editor eventually arrived a day later and cleaned up the mess, but this posting of raw citizen journalism is jarring to folks who have been in the business and knows what goes into the actual writing, editing and production of stories.

More recent Booth layoff news

Stop over at Inside Out and get the scoop on all the latest Booth fallout. Also she has links to a blog written by one of those just "downsized." Good people all, much better than the ones running the joint.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Former DDP takes exception to former boss' blast

James Briggs, who worked for the ill-fated Detroit Daily Press got a blast from one of the former publishers of the DDP on Facebook. James responded on his blog.

Beautiful aerial footage of the Grand Canyon

We all have that one scene, experience or natural formation that takes our breath away. The Grand Canyon is mine. I've visited it, flown over it, watched films about it and am planning to make another visit there next fall. No embed, but see link below.

I found this aerial video of the Grand Canyon today and it was beautiful and I think it lowered my blood pressure ten points. In case you are concerned about the helicopter's effect on global warming, the video producers said they are buying carbon offsets for every hour they spend in the air. So watch with ease.

Flint Journal ad touts employee who left

Sunday night I was leafing through my Sunday Journal and on one of the inside front section pages an ad jumps out at me with a picture of a former colleague who I know just left the paper.

The 1/4-page ad quotes the reporter and encourages readers to check out her writing in the paper.

Here's the quote: "It's become more important than ever for professional journalists to provide the public with accurate and objective news."

That's true, but for her own preservation she has taken another job, out of newspapers, as of last Monday. So if readers want to check out her writing they will have to go to the archives.

Someone needs to send a memo to the centralized copy desk and keep them up to date on the personnel changes.

I wish her nothing but the best, she was one of the best writers at the paper and also one of the hardest workers. A huge loss for the paper.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fireworks Sydney Australia style

I like fireworks, these were pretty good.

New Year Fireworks 2010 - Sydney from Digital Documents on Vimeo.

A headline double standard review

The Daily Derelict has done a little homework and put together a series of business headlines doing with layoffs, including the recent ones at Booth.

Four FJ career employees laid off

I mentioned previously that one FJ employee (the mention is toward the end of the story) was laid off in the latest round of Booth downsizing, but it now appears there were four long time employees who got the ax.

Insiders have been saying that the paper's management has been telling employees that the company has turned the corner and is making money, but this would seem to contradict that.

Unless the high priced help who runs Booth wants to purge all those who are still on the payroll at a living wage. I'm waiting for more information.

As for the severance packages across Booth, the early reports are one week's pay for every year of service, but that won't be confirmed until the letters start arriving at people's homes in West Michigan tomorrow.

An amazing video of eagles hunting wolves

A friend posted this over on Facebook. It is fascinating footage of gold eagles in Mongolia hunting wolves. If you are don't enjoy watching the more violent aspects of nature, you might want to pass on this one.