Sunday, May 6, 2007

A3: "Ayers takes over as county administrator at supervisors meeting"

Don't be fooled by the headline, the meat in this agenda report by Paula Rhoden is way down, where we find out that the county wants to spend another $42,000 of your money to further study what we already know about the Verde base flow.

Cartoon: Reining Him In

Surprise! -- reality. And you thought it couldn't happen.

A1: "County assessor had close ties to Townsend"

Joanna Dodder follows up on her April 22 piece, turning in what looks remarkably like some real investigative reporting. I'm liking this. I hadn't heard that the Queen Bee and Mal Barrett were involved in getting Townsend to back out of running for the Senate, and the connection to Assessor Hambrick is all new to me. So far it seems to be all about appearances, and small-town life inevitably involves a lot of cross-connections, but it sure doesn't pass the smell test. I have to wonder how many prominent people in town have known about this and kept quiet, which did no favors for Mr Hambrick, whether he's dirty or not.

A1 "Density, access highlight new plan"

Just what the people of D-H want: another new plan. In wandering this fog of numbers I find that the public open space along the riverbed offered in the previous plan has mysteriously disappeared in favor of a private park for the gated enclave. Who'd have thought?

Goodman: "Hypocrisy aside, morality programs not working"

Here is the second Goodman column in a row (the last was on April 25) that the Courier has run full-length and largely unmolested. It originally ran as "Hoisted on His Own Pizza" on May 3.

The following will be real inside baseball, so if your eyes glaze over feel free to move on. I'd like to highlight a few of the specific changes to the text, to illustrate what I mean by arbitrary edits and introduced errors.

Goodman: "A for abstinence, B for be faithful, and C for condoms only if you belong to a high-risk group that flunks A and B."
Courier: "A for abstinence, B for be faithful, and C for condoms if you belong to a high-risk group that flunks A and B."

Here it appears that the copy editor wanted to tighten the paragraph a bit to eliminate what we used to call a tail-break in my shop, half a word on a line by itself. This also helps fit the copy into the available space. The way to do this is to substitute a shorter word or eliminate one. The editor's blue pencil chose 'only,' a nice, short word. But it also removed an important nuance from Goodman's sentence. The editor could have eliminated 'George' a little earlier in the graph without harm. In context the specific choice seems to be an attempt to 'correct' Goodman's thinking.

Goodman: "Joining a dishonor role that includes anti-child predator predator Mark Foley and anti-homosexual homosexual Ted Haggard ..."
Courier:"Joining a dishonor role that includes anti-child predator Mark Foley and anti-homosexual homosexual Ted Haggard ..."

In this example we may have a similar tail-break situation, and again the editor could have elided "Randall" farther down for no foul. Instead s/he arbitrarily deflated Goodman's perhaps too-cute but nonetheless intelligible parallel construction in favor of gibberish. Perhaps s/he didn't understand the sentence.

Goodman: "The $1.5 billion that has been thrown into teaching abstinence-until-marriage has made no difference in delaying the onset of sex."
Courier: "The $1.5 billion Bush has thrown into teaching abstinence-until-marriage has made no difference in delaying the onset of sex."

The bosses have decreed that no passive construction shall be left unmolested, and the copy editor dutifully applied the blue pencil. But an active construction requires a subject, so s/he had to invent one, in this case "Bush." Perhaps Ms Goodman reserves her displeasure exclusively for the Current Resident on this score, but she didn't write it that way, and the change injects a nuance that she expressly avoided.

Goodman: "... abstinence-only earmarks on AIDS prevention funding are undermining success."
Courier:"... abstinence-only earmarks on AIDS prevention money are undermining success.

I have no clue why the copy editor made this change.

Editorial: "Hope for the best, plan for the worst"

The editor writes what no rational person will dispute. But what should we do about it? Close the forest early, maybe? The Courier could assist in moving public opinion to support an always-unpopular Forest Service decision. No position.

Letters: Guns are good, really!

You know the drill.

Coming: A new Courier site

Among the many cool people at yesterday's Blogfest I met John Kamin, the Courier Web editor, who told me that he's working on a new version of the paper's onlne presence that will refocus on the free site, eliminating the registration hassle and design complaints related to the subscription site. Soon we'll be able to see the entire paper unhindered in one place. I don't know that this was John's idea -- I should have asked -- but it's all good and warrants a special cookie. Good meeting you, JK!

John's put up some summaries and links to other local bloggers on his blog, and promises more. (According to my notes, Sadie is aka Sadira Conley.) Check 'em out.

Day of rest

I'm still bushed and brain-dead from last night's gig. I'll try to get some new stuff up after dinner.