Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Newspapers Attack!

The newspaper biz is in a tough time these days. People read the news online, often don't purchase the paper, and the papers are late on scoops.

So it's not been unusual to see the local papers skew from their standard storylines.

Case in point: the recent criticism of Bo Pelini.

Now we don't want to turn this into a discussion of the Nebraska football program (and whether or not the problem may be rooted in the offensive coordinator position). But ever since T.O. went political, the head coaching job has transcended simple Nebraska sports. So, rather, we want to look at the Omaha World Herald's and Lincoln Journal Star's carping on the head football coach.

Lee Barfknecht of the OWH and Steve Sipple of the LJS both wrote columns giving their personal views of the "boorishness" of "ugly" Pelini on the sidelines and in the press room. Both suggested a certain immaturity on the part of young (41 year old) Bo, and maybe, could we say, non-Nebraska-ishness?

Whether or not that's the case, it is still a bit surprising to see the OWH and LJS -- through their reporters -- calling out the most visible man in the state. There was a day when such statements would be considered heresy and would get a reporter sent to the woodshed by the Athletic Department, and maybe see one's press credentials curtailed.

But frankly, with the blogs posting everyone's thoughts and emotions on the subjects, the newspapers must feel that they have to keep up.

Look at the OWH's recent boasting that, Look at us! Look at us!, the OWH "was the first to reveal" the settlement on the Mayor of Papillion! (Uh, yeah guys, we read it.)

(By the way, want to make a quick quarter million? Have a consensual relationship with a single man in Papio, then break up with him. Cha-ching!)

Then there was the story last week about the plant closing in Auburn, Nebraska. The OWH pointed out that the cabinet making plant had a number of reasons for moving everything to Pennsylvania and that the Nebraska department of economic development had been in touch with the company as well.

But then who did they get a comment from -- in the story, mind you? Some guy in Hagerstown, Maryland. Maryland? And why? Because the guy has some relatives who live near Auburn.

That's it. No other connection. No other insights. No other expertise on the issue. But the story quotes said Marylander that "the governor has to get involved".

Thank you Maryland! Juneau, Alaska on the line, go ahead.

We should see the papers getting more and more creative and see more and more opinions in the "news".

But please, just remember where to come if you want the REAL, original snarkiness...


As long as we're talking about the OWH, Papio and non-sequiturs, get aload of this afternoon's story about Papio fire recruits cheating on a test.

First, the headline:
Cheater, cheater - pants on fire.

No, we did not make that up.

So the story goes on about how someone discovered guys cheated, they don't know who and they're going to re-administer the test.

Now...here's how that story ends:
The fire department controversy surfaced just days after Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning concluded his investigation into the City of Papillion's previously secret settlement and $200,000 payout by the city's taxpayer-funded insurance carrier to former Mayor James Blinn's female assistant, Racheal Cascio.

Blinn and Cascio had a longstanding romance that ended badly in June, and she accused Blinn of work place sexual harassment.

Blinn, 40, resigned without explanation July 7, the same day Cascio filed her claim. Neither has spoken publicly about the settlement or their relationship
We did not make this up.

You get two free tickets to the Kansas State game if you can tell us what on Earth those two stories have to do with each other, other than that they both took place in Papillion.

Will every article about Papio now end with that story?
"...and the Papillion police took the bank robber into custody. This is the same Papillion where former Mayor James Blin was nailing his assistant and then she got paid a bunch of money. The World Herald reported that first, you know. Not WOWT. Or Joe Jordan and his stupid Watchdog blog, for gawd's sake..."


Anonymous said...

I am glad the OWH pushed and got to the bottom (sort of) of the issue with Rachel Cascio and Jamie Blinn.

I was fairly disgusted at last evenings attempt to lure readers to an additional story on the subject on the website to learn that it was just an ad regurgitating old headlines with editorial comment about the OWH's wonderfulness.

Besides, any wife could have told you months ago that it was consensual until somebody got bored.

One Out In The Third said...

Listening to the questions the "media professionals" asked at the news conference after the TT game exhibited to me why newspapers are going broke.

Nebraska's media is overdue for a few team substitutions themselves...and not just in the Sports Dept. "Tell me Coach...How do you feel?" Let's see...how many ways can I answer that question after getting my butt handed to me? Give me a break.

NE Voter said...

The OW-H has no choice but to stir (or flat out create) controversy if it wants to sell papers. The print media business model is all but dead.

As the OW-H continues its slide toward utter irrelevance, both as a news organization and as an opinion-setter in Nebraska, the paper will push tabloid stories.

As SS notes, what will be interesting to see is how far the paper will go tweaking former "sacred cows" like the Nebraska football program/coach. Heck, today's lead editorial is a rebuke of Jon Bruning for his soft-shoe routine over the underlying facts in the James Blinn fiasco. Wouldn't have seen that three years ago.

BTW, I also take issue with the OW-H's claim that it broke the Blinn story -- WOWT had the story the night before the paper published anything on the scandal. It was pretty obvious that the paper had prepared the story -- and probably wasn't going to publish it unless another outlet ran with it. That's the OW-H's traditional obfuscation of wrongdoing by favored Republicans.

Omaha continues to become more progressive and tolerant, and the paper and other old-line civic institutions (hello Quivera) are playing catch-up.

Time for some popcorn.

NE Voter said...

SS -- In answer to your question in the update: In the eyes of the OW-H and the other Lord of Omaha, Sarpy County "stole" the Omaha Royals (and the sales tax and other revenue for the City of Omaha) associated with that soon-to-be-former enterprise.

In retaliation, OW-H is doing a series of hits on Papio and Sarpy.

Hey, OW-H -- Grudge much?

Please donate the tickets to Girls and Boys Town.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so, I wonder if anyone has ever cheated on any of the Omaha Fire Department tests?

This is really too bad and not a good example to our youth.

macdaddy said...

Uh, guys, this stuff is news. Nebraska really isn't a hotbed of corruption and mayhem, so I don't know what you guys are looking for, but this is what you get in these parts. It may come as a shock, but your neighbors really aren't that interesting. I guess OWH could go back to dissecting grain reports, but they're stuck with reporting about cheating firemen, both on tests and on marriages. And that's about as nefarious as it gets. There just aren't that many What's-His-Name Hawkins s***heads out there and despite Suttle's best efforts, he's no Mayor Daley.

Anonymous said...

Uhmm... isnt it Liar, Liar, Pants on fire? Cheater, Cheater , pants on fire doesn't even sound right.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what Puke-knecht thinks of Bo?? He's a Big Ten/Iowa State lover anyway. Go look at old Youtube vidoes of some of Bobby Knight's past pressers....they are good for a laugh, and you learn to appreciate his blunt style, not to mention that you understand how annoyed he gets at stupid questions.

macdaddy said...

I went and read Barfknecht's column today. Not sure why he was complaining. As I watched the game on Saturday, I was hoping Pellini was chewing the refs some new ones. As long as he doesn't end up with a penalty or end up like Woody Hayes, he can chew out whomever he wants. I think Shatel had a much better column today. Of course, he only said what I was thinking ;-). Shatel is absolutely correct, but I still hate to see a player like Suh go to waste with this offense.

Anonymous said...

Who knew Papillion even had a mayor? I thought they were an autonomous collective.