We Make The News

I Regularly Block Fake Twitter Followers, @GilGul

I regularly block fake Twitter followers, but not this guy who wrote a column for the LA Times Sunday. Though he claims he did it for experimentation purposes, and I have to give him that, it is good to know how this could help, it’s just plain wrong and a growing problem with Twitter I wish they would get a handle on.

It’s every day when I go on my multiple Twitter accounts and block/report accounts for spam. Most of the time, they’re offers to buy thousands of new followers for just $5. Until I read the LA Times piece, I thought even that was a sham, but it turns out what you’re buying is a bunch of fake accounts all made to look like they’re real. Apparently musicians, politicians, brands and the like use this technique often to give themselves addition credibility on Twitter and thereby across the Net. 
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This would be all well and good, until it came time to use Twitter as the communications exchange medium it was designed to be.  Until you wanted to affect or activate your followers and send out a message saying “read this” or we need your help on this “call to action.”  Then you’re just talking to NO ONE.

I wish Twitter was more actively stopping this use of their API and service. Surely there has to be a way to detect this rather than having fokes like myself blocking and reporting for spam each day.

On my DaddyClaxton account, I have more than 13,670 followers. I’ve not paid for a single follower and I’m not about to start. The ClaxtonCreative account is above 3,400 followers and the same fact is true. I’ve earned those followers by seeking out like-mined people, trying to find out what they have to say and share with the world about subjects in which I have a real and valid interest. I don’t have time nor interest in creating a fake situation, one where it appears that I have followers who I do not really have.

There have been many documented times when I’ve gone through my followers and cut them back, too, because they weren’t updating any longer, or because they were fake.  You should do the same. Why sort through noise when you can get to information that’s helpful?

Please, if you have followers on Twitter who are offering you thousands of followers for $5, just do like I do and block them and report them to Twitter. Hopefully, if enough of us do that, it’ll put a stop or dent in the business. If we continue to go in this direction, Twitter is going to become more and more useless to us all.

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AT&T Network Resetting in Montgomery, AL

AT&T Network Resetting in Montgomery, AL

UPDATE May 31, 2014: A rep from AT&T via Twitter said thanks and this post had been a great help. I’m glad it was. I spend a lot of money, too much money, every month with AT&T.  Glad an outsider could help them fix an issue. Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 7.38.21 PM

Last night I posted a thread about not being able to text photos via iMessage to my mom and sister in Montgomery, AL. They both have iPhones and are on AT&T.

To his credit, George from AT&T responded via Twitter and then put me on the phone with an operator who literally wanted to “Axe” me a few questions.  (Really? You’d figure internal screening and training would have put a stop to this.)

Back to the problem. For more than three weeks now photos have not been going thru to AT&T iPhones in Montgomery and I have figured out why, not by talking to AT&T, who says their systems are working fine, but through talking to three different people at Apple.

RESET NETWORK SETTINGSAT&T network resetting

Apparently, AT&T has done something lately to their network in Montgomery, AL which is precluding photos from outside the city to come thru. I’ve had others from around the country try to text into the Capital City and received the same results.  I tried this with another iPhone user in Montgomery, this one using Verizon, and the photo went straight thru.

To remedy the problem, go to Settings > General> and then all the way down to RESET > and then down to RESET NETWORK SETTINGS. Tap that setting and follow the prompts. The phone will then reconnect with the towers in Montgomery and on my mom’s phone, she can once again receive photos via iMessage from outside of Montgomery.

 

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CNN TO FURLOUGH ‘UNNECESSARY REPORTERS’ UNTIL MH370 IS FOUND

Editor’s Note: Dear Onion, you’re welcome. 

CNN TO FURLOUGH HUNDREDS OF ‘UNNECESSARY REPORTERS’ UNTIL MH370 IS FOUND

(CNN) The president of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker, Thursday announced that the global news network will be issuing furloughs to more than 350 employees worldwide until MH370 has been found in order to save the media company thousands in salaries for doing nothing else while a handful of crack reporters, including Erin Burnett, Wolf Blizter, Pamela Brown, and Don Lemon carry out their endless filibuster of BREAKING NEWS coverage about the Malaysian missing plane.Unknown

“We’ve decided that we’re wasting money with all these other folks around and in order to save on the CNN budget, the best thing to do is to just send people home until the plane is found,” Zucker said. “We’re not going to cover another damned thing until we know exactly what happened on Flight MH370.”

Zucker said that the meant cable network was forgoing its exhaustive campaign to promote same-sex marriage in America, Putin’s land grab in Crimea and even President Obama’s trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia.

“I don’t’ care what’s going on in Michigan, the Crimea or what Obama’s doing unless the pilots turn out to be in favor of gay marriage, if the Malaysian plane landed in Crimea or the president is releasing the NSA audio of the phone call the pilot made right before takeoff,” Zucker said. “If it doesn’t involve MH370, it’s not news and it’s not going to be on CNN, so anyone not covering this story, well, we just need them to go home until we need them to come back.”

Zucker said his crack team of Blitzer, Burnett and Lemon have been driving up ratings the past 20 days since the plane went missing.

“Every other potential breaking news story is going into a Black Hole,” Zucker said. “We have spent more covering stories we didn’t report on air than the US government has reported spending in the air covering the search.”

Zucker said he is proud of the endless coverage his network has provided in the month of March.

“It’s been madness. I never knew we had such dedicated reporters who can sit there on set and say the same thing over and over and over and over and over with such limited information and make it sound fresh and new day after day after day after day after day,” Zucker said. “Hell, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say the plane had just crashed yesterday the way Wolf gets on there and talks about pingers and batteries and satellite imagery. This is what journalism is all about—giving the public a fresh insight on the very thing we have reported every day for the past 20 days at the same hour of every day since.”

Zucker said once the plane is found, he will consider bringing many of their staff back to work, but only until the plane is found. Otherwise, he said, there’s no need for them to come to work.

 (In case you are actually that dense, this is all fiction and tongue in cheek satire of how ridiculous the coverage on CNN has become.)

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When God Redefines The Possible Book for iPad on iBookstore

When God Redefines The Possible Book for iPad on iBookstore

JOHN ED MATHISON MINISTRY PUBLISHES INNOVATIVE, INTERACTIVE BOOK FOR IPAD DESIGNED TO EXPAND MINISTRY WORK WORLDWIDE

 ‘When God Redefines The Possible’ Now Available AT WGRTP.com

MONTGOMERY, AL—Former Senior Minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, John Ed Mathison, is making history again. This time, he’s teamed up with a former Alabama governor’s press secretary to release an innovative, interactive book exclusively for the iPad that will change how people around the world follow a daily devotional or use social media to hold “Sunday School classes worldwide.”

When God Redefines The Possible

When God Redefines The Possible, John Ed Mathison’s book for iPad.

Mathison recently released When God Redefines The Possible on Apple’s iBookstore, a title he published in paperback in November. The new work, complete with 22 videos, interactive puzzles, quizzes and Bible references can be used on the more than 100 million iPad and iPad mini devices in use around the world.

The book can be downloaded from the iBookstore by visiting WGRTP.com.

Production began in January with Claxton Creative, LLC of Dallas, led by Donald J. Claxton, former the former press secretary of Gov. Fob James and assistant press secretary to former Gov. Guy Hunt.

“We have taken a book printed in black and white and brought it to life with short video clips in multiple chapters that are designed to help readers prepare their minds for the text that follows by asking some important questions or giving some insight about what they’re about to read,” Mathison said. “With the rapid adoption of iPads in schools all across Montgomery and around the world, this is the new type of curriculum tool that readers young and old are finding more and more engaging and enriching in their study.

“It only makes sense to apply this same technology to something like a daily devotional where people can use these technological advances to draw closer to God and use social media to draw closer to other believers and non-believers around the world,” Mathison said.

Mathison’s book, which is 109-pages in print, expanded to 192 pages on the iPad and contains more than 50 chapters of colorful and important ministry lessons and encourages readers to see that God is still doing miracles, even in today’s turbulent times.

The videos, produced by another former aide to Gov. Hunt, Stacey Rimer Stakely, and shot at Frazer by Matthew Gamble, feature Mathison talking about healthy eating, God doing things in people’s lives they could not have anticipated, and even references to his late father, Si Mathison.

“John Ed Mathison has been a leader in ministry for almost 50 years and the exciting thing about this book for iPad is that it proves he’s still a leader in ministry even though he’s been retired from Frazer for a couple of years now,” Claxton said. “We have worked with him to produce a new tool that uses the latest in technology to help spread the word of God. That, in and of itself, is an example of God redefining the possible, as the technology for this didn’t even exist 17 months ago.”

Claxton said versions for readers using Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook are near completion as well.

“John Ed’s use of digital books will make his work available to anyone in the world with a computer, tablet or smartphone,” Claxton said.

John Ed, who served 36 years as Senior Minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, said he is excited to begin this new phase of his ministry.

“I have said before that ‘it is easy to have a Gutenberg mentality when we live in a Google reality.’ and taking converting my writings and teachings into a digital format so that people around the world can share and interact with each other through the social media tools and interactivity functions within the book is an example of where ministry must grow in order to reach those needing and yearning to hear the word of God,” Mathison said. “I’m excited for the potentials this brings for ministry. God really has redefined the possible.”

Claxton is no stranger to innovation and change. He was dubbed as the “foremost student iconoclast” in Dr. John Fair’s 1990 book about Auburn University at Montgomery’s first 20 years. In July 1994, he made candidate Fob James the first statewide candidate in Alabama to have a published email address. In March of 1995, he began writing the original pages for the state of Alabama’s website, which was launched and featured as the lead story in the Montgomery Advertiser in August 1995.  In 2001 he became the communications director for the Dallas Independent School District, then the 12th largest school district in the nation and helped pass the largest education bond program in Texas history—a $1.37 billion program. In 2012, his company began producing books for the iPad, including Dr. Mark Van Stone’s interactive text 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya and There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse by Ken Plume, John Robinson and Len Peralta of Atlanta. The company also has begun production on a book for Learning Forward, one of the largest professional development organizations in the world for schoolteachers.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm focused on the development of interactive, multi-touch publications for mobile devices worldwide.

John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

The John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries was formed in 2008, as John Ed reached the mandatory retirement age of the United Methodist Church. The ministry is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The mission of the ministry is to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God by training leaders for Kingdom work. John Ed actively speaks to churches, conferences and leadership training programs on a local, national and global scale. More information is available at www.JohnEdMathison.org.

 

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Chase Bank Offline In More Ways Than One

Chase Bank Offline In More Ways Than One

UPDATE–March 19: News reports from Chase officials say yesterday’s mix up was not a cyber attack. Regardless, in a space where there is no information, information will be supplied. I’m personally a loyal Chase banker and I’ve still no reason to change to another bank, but they didn’t handle this situation well. The question that should be being asked today is how did a system that’s almost certain to have multiple redundancies so this would never happen fail? The other question is why didn’t Chase’s corporate communications staff, in the midst of this crisis situation for many bankers across the nation, do more to respond and assure everyone that they hadn’t been hacked?  Two tweets in the middle of an event in this day and age is not sufficient.

UPDATE: As of 8:50 p.m. CST, Chase accounts have been restored.  Crisis over.  But still @ChaseSupport has yet to make such an announcement.

UPDATE: As of 8:26 p.m. @ChaseSupport reporting: “*ALERT* We’re looking into reported trans. issues & working to correct an internal issue to show customer balances. We’ll keep you updated.”

It’s 7:56 p.m. Monday, March 18, 2013 and for more than an hour now all accounts in Chase Bank are down. (NBC is reporting it’s a denial-of-services cyber attack. Chase says that didn’t happen. And if you think about it, if it had been a d-o-s attack, we wouldn’t have been able to get in to see our information at all…..)

But it’s been more than an hour now that their @ChaseBank Twitter account has updated.  The message then:  “*ALERT* Customers are unable to view their checking account balances online and on mobile. We will keep you updated as we learn more.”

Chase Bank Down

Chase Bank Down

But we live in a time when an hour is a heck of a long time. Particularly when people’s bank accounts all say suddenly that there is zero in the bank.

Questions are going to be asked.  How could a bank as big as Chase have it’s entire system go down at one time? Surely they have redundancies.

And then there’s the issue of Twitter. The account has gone silent. But there are people across Twitter tweeting their speculations–that Chase has been hacked, that they should move their money back to Bank of America. It’s not good.

On their Twitter page, right now it features a bunch of people who have access to the Twitter feed.  No one is using it right now and that’s not good.  In a situation like this there should be protocols to follow and things that should be getting updated.  Yes, Chase is a corporation so that means things internally move slowly, but this isn’t a time for that to be happening.

Our company works to provide crisis communications services and plans for just such events.  Lots needs to be studied about how Chase handles this in the next few hours. But for right now, it’s very frustrating.

 

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Skype Counseling Sessions & Google Alerts Earned Us Media Coverage

Friday we saw a Google Alert of a FOX News story of counselors offering Skype Counseling Sessions. A quick email to our client revealed what we’d not previously known. Two counselors are offering Skype counseling sessions–one even to a client in Russia, and they’re working out well.

Skype Counseling Services offered by PrestonPlaceCounseling.com.

Skype Counseling Services offered by PrestonPlaceCounseling.com.

So after a quick email pitch to KDFW FOX 4’s Shaun Rabb here in Dallas, we had a date set for this afternoon at 1 p.m.

The piece on FOX 4 is stellar.

We’re bringing this to your attention because we simply used Google Alerts to find a subject matter that applied to a client and then sought to localize the coverage.  We’re told that KDFW is actually going to put the video on the FOX ONO system–meaning it’s going to be sent to FOX stations around the country for them to slip in during their coverage when they need a news story.  You really can’t beat that kind of exposure for a client.

So here’s the link to the FOX 4 story.

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/video?clipId=8556567&topVideoCatNo=237008&autoStart=true

And here’s a link to our client’s site: http://www.prestonplacecounseling.com, where they also added a blog post about their feelings involving Skype counseling sessions.

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Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

press club dcAttached is the link to my book for iPad, which was my presentation to the Press Club of Dallas on March 2, 2013.  Feel free to download the book. Once it’s on your desktop, drop it into iTunes and then sync your iPad.  The file is about 130 MBs so it will take a few minutes to download.  To use on your iPad, you will need at least iOS 5.1 and iBooks 2.

 

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Dallas Parents Raising Awareness Congentital Heart Defects In Children

For Immediate ReleaseCC Red Circl
Contact: Donald J. Claxton
Feb. 4, 2013
214-364-7240

DALLAS PARENTS SHOWING SPECIAL SIDES OF ‘BROKEN-HEARTED’ CHILDREN, RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT HEART DEFECTS CUPID CAN’T CURE

Interview Local Parents, Children Featuring Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week Feb. 7-14 During Mended Little Hearts of Dallas Support Group Event

DALLAS—It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the time for Cupid, colored candy hearts, cards and this year, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, a time when parents of “broken-hearted” children are seeking to raise awareness for the importance of prenatal screening, post-birth pulse and oxygen testing, and supporting children who live with “broken hearts” year round.

Two Dallas-area moms with children who have a CHD are available for interviews, along with Emma, 2, and Pablo, 15, and others in the area who have been affected by CHD and who are trying to educate the public about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of this disease. Emma, 2,

A monthly support meeting also is slated for Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas provided flu conditions do not re-escalate and the hospital prohibits such on-site activities out of concern for the families involved.

WHAT, WHERE, WHEN:

  • Pre-event interviews with Sarah Stewart and her daughter, Emma, who has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
  • Pre-event interviews with Alejandra Romo and son, Pablo, who had Transposition of Great Arteries when he was 10 days old
  • Feb. 11, 2013: Mended Little Hearts of Dallas support group meeting at Children’s Medical Center, Dallas, with family members of children in the hospital’s Heart Intensive Care Unit at 6:30 p.m. in the DL Café Seating area.

*Editor’s Note: Because it is flu and RSV season, children like Emma are not permitted to go to the hospital unless they are sick, and children in the hospital are not permitted to leave the ICU because they are sick, so to get video of an affected child, it is necessary to do an off-site, in-home interview. (Reporters and photographers also must not be experiencing flu, RSV or cold-like symptoms in order to be around the CHD children and parents.)

During the Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m. MLH support meeting at Children’s Medical Center, family members of those suffering from this disease will be treated to a meal outside the ICU in an effort to take their minds off of the condition of their child, to offer encouragement from moms and dads whose children also have the disease but are not currently in the hospital, and to recognize the national awareness campaign.

According to the National Institute of Health, CHDs are the most common type of birth defect, affecting eight out of every 1,000 newborns. Each year, more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with a CHD. But according to Stewart, the signs are not always obvious.

“I like to think of CHDs as a silent fight most of the time. My Emma wears visible signs of her fight: oxygen tubing, feeding tube, etc.; however, there are many children living among us that look ‘normal’ on the outside. Unless you see their ‘zipper,’ or scar tissue from surgery, you likely would not know of their daily battle of living with a ‘broken heart,’” Stewart said.

“Through Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week in Dallas, we are seeking to raise awareness about heart defects that Cupid’s arrow can’t cure.”

Background on Emma: Emma has had three major open-heart surgeries, was intubated for more than six months, endured an inpatient hospital stay for 12 of the first 15 months of her life, and continues to require significant medical care. Emma’s specific case is rare. Her parents learned of her specific heart conditions before she was born and sought out the best medical care for her in the special heart patient intensive care unit at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Background on CHDs: A CHD is a problem with the heart’s structure that are present at birth. Common examples include holes in the inside walls of the heart and narrowed or leaky valves. In more severe forms, blood vessels or heart chambers may be missing, poorly formed and/or in the wrong place.

CHDs are the most common birth defects. CHDs occur in almost 1 percent of births. Nationally each year, between 100-200 deaths are due to unrecognized heart disease in newborns. These numbers exclude those dying before diagnosis. About 40,000 children in the US are born each year with a CHD.

Figures show that nearly 25 percent of children born with a CHD will require heart surgery or other interventions in order to survive. Today, more than 85 percent of babies born with a CHD will survive to age 18, but children with more severe cases are less likely to reach adulthood.

Mrs. Stewart often points out that nearly twice as many children die from CHDs in the US each year as from all forms of childhood cancer, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHDs.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm focused on the development of interactive, multi-touch publications for mobile devices worldwide. The company was founded by former Dallas ISD communications director, Donald J. Claxton.

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Claxton Creative Publishing Books For iPad Wth John Ed Mathison

Digital Book Publisher Begins iPad Project With John Ed Mathison Ministry

 DALLAS DIGITAL BOOK PUBLISHER DESIGNING INTERACTIVE BOOKS FOR JOHN ED MATHISON MINISTRY IN MONTGOMERY, AL

Former Alabama Governor’s Press Secretary Teaming Up With Storied Frazer UMC Minister To Bring ‘When God Redefines The Possible’ Book To Life

CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1MONTGOMERY, AL—Claxton Creative, LLC of Dallas, led by former the former press secretary of two former Alabama governors, Thursday announced it has begun producing digital book formats of Montgomery’s John Ed Mathison’s recently published print work, When God Redefines The Possible.

Mathison’s book, which is 109-pages in print, contains more than 50 chapters of colorful and important ministry lessons and encourages readers to see that God is still doing miracles, even in today’s turbulent times.

When God Redefines Possible by John Ed Mathison.

When God Redefines Possible by John Ed Mathison.

The digital format for iPad will include a series of videos, interactive photos and illustrations, end of chapter quizzes, puzzles, Internet social media components and other ways to help broaden the reach of one of the Southeast’s most recognized United Methodist Church leaders.

Versions also will be produced for readers using Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, as well as the Samsung Galaxy and Microsoft Surface.

“John Ed Mathison has been a recognized leader in ministry for nearly a half century and even today, he is on the cutting edge of using technology to help spread the word of God,” said Donald Claxton, owner of Claxton Creative in Dallas. “The use of digital books will make his work available to anyone in the world with a computer, tablet or smartphone. Now that’s really an example of God redefining possible.”

John Ed, who served 36 years as Senior Minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, said he is excited to begin this new phase of his ministry.

“I have said before that ‘it is easy to have a Gutenberg mentality when we live in a Google reality.’ and taking this next step, to convert my writings and teachings into a digital format so that people around the world can share and interact with each other through the social media tools and interactivity functions within the book is an example of where ministry must grow in order to reach those needing and yearning to hear the word of God,” Mathison said.  “I’m excited for the potentials this brings for ministry. God really is redefining the possible.”

Claxton said his firm, based in Dallas, is working to schedule a video production schedule with Mathison and to begin the digital design process for the book.  Release of the book is slated for March 2013.

Claxton is the former assistant press secretary to the late Alabama Gov. Guy Hunt and former press secretary for Gov. Fob James. He moved from Montgomery in 2001 to become the communications director for the Dallas Independent School District, then the 12th largest school district in the nation. In 2012, his company began producing books for the iPad, including Dr. Mark Van Stone’s interactive text 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya and There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse by Ken Plume, John Robinson and Len Peralta of Atlanta.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm focused on the development of interactive, multi-touch publications for mobile devices worldwide. The company was founded by former Dallas ISD communications director, Donald J. Claxton and is supported with the assistance of Fort Worth Author Ron Rose, Dallas author Will Manning, Birmingham, AL editor Larisa Lovelady, Ally Stephenson of Huntsville, AL, and others.

John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

The John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries was formed in 2008, as John Ed reached the mandatory retirement age of the United Methodist Church. The ministry is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The mission of the ministry is to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God by training leaders for Kingdom work. John Ed actively speaks to churches, conferences and leadership training programs on a local, national and global scale. More information is available at www.JohnEdMathison.org.

 

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Manti Te'o's GF Could Have Been Found WIth Fact Checking

Journalists Baffled By Manti Te’o Hoax Should Try Fact Checking

Journalists Baffled By Manti Te’o Hoax Should Try Fact Checking CC Red Circl

Fact checking used to be something that was done on a regular basis in the news business. There was even a commonly used editing icon–a red check mark in the margins of a draft copy of a story that signified one thing–CHECK YOUR FACTS. Seasoned and sage editors used to use it frequently with cub reporters because something just didn’t feel right.

Deadspin Does Media's Job--Checks The Facts

Deadspin Does Media’s Job–Checks The Facts

But with the proliferation of the Internet and the demise of the Fourth Estate caused by an ever decreasing need to spend a buck a day for what you can find on the Net for free has come another consequence–the inaccuracy of things on the Internet because there are few left in the news rooms of America, really the world, to do what was once commonly done on a news story.

Pull up an On Demand clip from All The President’s Men, (that’s a movie about Woodward and Bernstein–they were investigative reporters who broke the Watergate Scandal during the presidency of Richard Nixon) and you’ll see references to the fact they couldn’t use information in their stories unless there were two verified, confirmed sources willing to go on the record and confirm something as fact.

Today, most publishers of America’s newspapers and TV networks rely on a handful of people to put together a product that is more entertaining than based on news or fact. The training is different than it was just 10, 15 or even 20 years ago.

The AP Stylebook, once revered as “The Bible” in journalism courses across the country is seemingly used as a last resort. The rules, (when I was in college, if you wrote a paper and made five AP style errors, no matter how good the writing was, the paper was given an F grade because of the five infractions) that once made news writing consistent and at a certain standard clearly are ignored or not known out of ignorance.  (Think of how many of your local anchors say “Drunk” driving when it’s “DRUNKEN.”) (Think of how many times you’ve heard them talk about the flags having been lowered to half mast–when a mast is on a boat, and the actual order, which by US law can only come from the office of the president or the office of a state governor, and requires the US flag to be flown at half STAFF.)

 

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

 

But according to some, it’s okay to ignore those things because news isn’t about being right anymore, it’s about being entertaining.  And what could be more enthralling and more encouraging to readers and viewers than a story about a college football player playing for his dying girlfriend who is more worried about him repeating a Gipper scene of “win one for me” than bothering to check to see if such a person even exists.

The ESPN anchor who just interviewed Notre Dame regular reporter Gene Wojciechowski, (By the way, Gene, if you read this and have a sister/cousin named Natalie who used to live at KI SAWYER AFB in Michigan in the early 1970s, but who changed her last name to Forester because it means the same thing, would you please ask her to contact me) said something to the effect, echoed by the anchor of, “Wow, we’re gonna have to stop taking people’s word from now on and ask some tougher questions.”

Well, YEAH.  That’s what a reporter is supposed to do.  Or was once supposed to do, when reporting news was about reporting news. That was before the day of “if it bleeds it leads.”  That’s when it meant something to be in “Sweeps” and to have your investigative reporters out finding something truly scandalous about government workers who were fleecing taxpayers, or chemicals being put into children’s drinks that could be carcinogenic.

This is just one episode where the media failed to get the story right. What we won’t hear much of in the coming days is them being harsh or critical of themselves because there is not a more thin-skinned bunch than ones who sit around in the core of the nation’s news rooms. No, they will have nothing to learn here.  It’ll more or less go down like this: Gene, SI, the South Bend paper, they all got it wrong, we just repeated what they said as though it were fact so we’re in the clear.

But as you think about how the press and the rest of us all got duped in the Manti Te’o hoax, start thinking about what all else you’ve seen on the national news lately that may not be right either.  And that, my friends, can be a scary thought…..

And congrats to Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey.  Nice work.  Too bad there aren’t more like you left in mainstream news rooms across America.

 

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