Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A HOLE IS TO DIG

A HOLE IS TO DIG: If we ever have cause to need a really good pick and shovel- aw heck, make that a backhoe- we know just where to turn.

We'd just call the worst reporter at the worst newspaper in the state- arguably in the country although we haven’t read them all- because it would take heavy equipment to bury the lede the way our little buddy does it in our local Kaua`i newspaper.

Today, while sifting through the recent thin gruel of council activity, he decided to preview tomorrow's "special" council meeting to name yet another "sister city" in Japan- a program designed to increase tourism, presumably both ways.

The first clue that Kaua`i denizens might think twice about taking a trip to Iwaki was the location- the Fukushima Prefecture. But it takes until the sixth paragraph, over 200 words into the story before we find out for certain that Iwaki "is less than 30 miles away from Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, badly damaged in the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11."

That "clue" assumes you're going to make the connection between Iwaki and the massive radiation still permeating Fukushima Prefecture. The final words of the article come closer, saying

Because of the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Iwaki’s government closed the city’s swimming beaches for the entire year.

Iwaki government has also said that it doesn’t expect many visitors to the city’s beaches due to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.


Nowhere in the article does the word "radiation" appear.

But, as the saying goes, "you knew darn well I was a snake before you let me in."

You'd expect better from the former editor of the Rocky Mountain News and current editor of the on-line Civil Beat news outlet.

John Temple's opinion piece today echoed some of our concerns about the spate of police harassment of local reporters for taking photographs of police in action, saying that the rest of the public should also be protected when taking photos of police.

Good point. But in setting up the piece he writes of "two recent incidents, one involving the publisher of a Maui weekly newspaper and the other involving a Big Island blogger."

And this is how he describes them.

The first incident came on Maui this spring, when an officer hit Maui Times publisher Tommy Russo's camera when he was filming from a public place. The officer is heard telling Russo: "I don't want to be filmed, and if I don't want to be filmed, I don't have to be filmed....

"The other Hawaii incident came on the Big Island, where earlier this month blogger Damon Tucker was arrested while he was taking photos and videos of police arresting people from a public sidewalk. He says police confiscated his iPhone and camera and he now faces misdemeanor charges of obstructing government operations."


And, although he links to Tucker's posts he fails to let readers know that Tucker alleges he was severely beaten by police in making the arrest.

And that makes exactly zero coverage of that fact in the mainstream, statewide Hawai`i "print" media, although Channel 9 did have one feature on the event the next day.

The "lede" of a story is generally what the the reporter determines is most important and "newsworthy" thing in the story. In the "inverted triangle" of newswriting it is contained in the opening words of the story.

Good reporters take a breath when sitting down at the keyboard and try to come up with the core information that makes the news news.

They don't "save it" for later in the story or even "forget" to mention it.

It's understandable when, for the umpteenth time our local paper bungles it. But when the pros do it it's gotta make you wonder what they're thinking.

3 comments:

KimoRosen said...

Currently Kauai has 14 sister cities, if Iwaki Japan is approved by the council it will be 15 sister cities. Fifteen is way too many sister cities with each sister city having a taxpaying price-tag.

Here's what I propose for the county;to introduce Brother cities, or even bruddah cities. Brother cities would have no expenses, travel would be replaced with Skype web-cam conferences which are free anywhere in the world.

I may be pulling nits from someones hair (nitpicking) but it's about time our city had a brother.

Fact Check said...

yes. You're a nit picker

Unless you have data on how much it actually costs you're just finger painting and probably with your own poo.

Donna said...

If it costs one penny of my tax money to have a sister city that it too much. I'll choose my own charities thank you very much. The government can take my money and threaten me with jail if I don't give it (taxes) and they think they can spend it on whatever makes some local pols feel good. This sister city thing is crap.