Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wiederaenders: "Terrorists win with atmosphere of fear"

Tim's got the right end of the stick today, but he fails to wield it with authority.

Yes, the public is unreasonably afraid of terrorism, and everyone needs to calm down. But Tim's analysis of why this is happening is a little soft, perhaps because his own industry carries so much of the responsibility, and the organization he helps manage is quite happy to sell newsprint on fear and facilitate official fear-mongers. So another opportunity for self-examination and positive change is wasted. If the Courier editors really see the problem here, they are in better position that most anyone in town to do something about it.

Parting shot, Tim: "UFO" is not a synonym for "alien spacecraft." If something is flying and the authorities don't know what it is, it's a UFO, that's the correct term. So the TV newscritters didn't report the "possibility of a UFO," they reported a UFO sighting. Failing to clarify this for your readers reinforces ignorance among those who don't know and undercuts your credibility among those who do.

A1: "Big Chino water: Chino officials, others concerned over rule changes"

Joanna Dodder has a big job to do here in informing the voters about the biggest, most acute problem we have in front of us. Her problem is that it's so eye-crossingly technical and has more characters than a Tolstoy epic. Hard reading, but important.

A1: "Candidates' opinions mixed on Big Chino pipeline"

Cindy's doing a good job with it, I just think the assignment is wrong. Why do we need a summary of what the Courier editor thinks is newsworthy on the front page when back on A7 we have the actual full-length responses from the candidates?

We still have to deal with how the questions are put and the way that wedges the responses, but in my view the more direct the communication between subject and reader, the better. Today's readers (the few that are left), especially younger people, require a lot less media hand-holding.

Editorial: "Grown-up 'water fight' is no laughing matter"

The unnamed Courier editor is at least consistent. Again today he repackages the front page and says nothing. Hint: Assign the space to someone who cares.