Wednesday, January 4, 2012


YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO HOME BUT YOU CAN'T STAY HERE: We could say we've been lazy. We could say we've been spending mornings writing other things. We could say that there's no politics going on with everyone away on vacation.

Anything to avoid one of our least favorite of journalistic foibles- reporting that "nothing happened" yesterday.

It's usually best expressed by the TV reporter doing a "remote" from the scene of the big traffic accident and telling the anchor that "nothing's going on right now" sweeping her arm, pointing out all the "nothing" behind her.

"But you should have seen it a few hours ago." Yes- we should have. But you're not showing us that. You're standing there showing us a big bunch of "nothing" because, well, it's TV and everyone else does it.

Then there's the cub reporter who comes back to the editor and with a lede of "Nothing happened at the council meeting today."

"Nothing?" the editor asks, before eliciting the fact that indeed "something" happened- the story behind why nothing "happened."

But our award today goes to our favorite whipping boys and girls at the local newspaper, this time in the personage of Sports Editor Tyson Alger who, even though arguably not a true "news" reporter, could be expected to have some idea of the journalistic precept of reporting the news in an active way... even if the story itself is nothing to write home about.

Of course we can't expect Renée Haines, the new editor at the local paper, to start actually reading the copy that goes into her publication. It's apparently too much of a tradition to allow unfiltered- and unedited- copy to appear in the paper's pages.
And so it was that when Alger was assigned this week's "Talk Story"- the local version of the "man on the street/question of the week" piece of pap/filler he decided that satisfactory answers to "Did you make a new years resolution?" include "no."

As a matter of fact, all four of them were essentially "no," the answers reading:
“I forgot to do one this year.”
“I didn’t this year because I never keep them.”
“I haven’t done one because I’ve been busy traveling.”

We especially like the last one as if somehow resolutions made while traveling are exempt from taking effect when you return.

It appears that it's just the ultimate form of laziness... either that or Tyson was obviously pissed at getting the assignment and so instead of either pushing his subjects- or finding people who DID make a resolution- he came back with a report that "nothing happened."

So don't complain that we've neglected this space in favor of trying to work on a long-form tome some mornings; after four years (this month) at this we could always tell the same story again or get back up on an all-too-familiar soapbox that even those who agree with us are weary of.

Just be glad we didn't just say that nothing happened... or at least we found a cute way to say it.

1 comment:

KimoRosen said...

one of your best blogs, loved it!