Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dec. 26: Well, I got what I wanted...

...the latest copy of Globe, fresh from the checkout counter with the latest news I need to know about how Kate hates Camilla, and how there were ten things I didn't know about Bill Murray - his father was a lumber salesman, for example, and Murray used to caddy. Fascinating. Who is Bill Murray, anyway?

Then, in the grossest bad taste, this magazine which specializes in trivia, scandal and titillation had a special prayer for the children killed at the school in Newtown. It reminds me of the days when I hung out with journalists for a similar supermarket mag called Midnight. We used to invent headlines, then write stories to fit them. And, if they had an adequate mix of sex, perversion and religion, they got published. One of my favourites, was "Dope-crazed preacher attacks six-year old crippled boy". It hat lots of righteousness in  lines like - "..and then the filthy beast reached for the screaming boys'...."

The Globe prayer is sure to to be picked up by God. It was especially commissioned by Globe from the founding directors of the Hollywood Prayer Network. (I think, thought, that some of the guys writing for Midnight could have jazzed it up a bit. I mean, that opening is really cornball, "Dear Lord, We are distraught and grieved..." Come on. Nobody gets distraught any more. Distraught is out.)

Mind you, it still beats "Bill Murray had acne as a teenager.

I had not intended to write a blog today. (or on the day of Christmas Eve, for that matter. I figured nobody would be reading. To my amazement, people have been reading the blogs for those days in close to record numbers. So I thought it was worth doing a short one today.

Any newspaper is usually pretty vapid on Dec. 26. Most of the reporters and editors were, of course, celebrating Christmas. So what passes for news is mostly stuff that could be written up last Saturday. "metro shoppers gear up for big sales....", "N.B.'a volunteer firefighters provide service" or "Pope calls for peace in middle east". They could have written that last story any Dec. 26 for the last twenty years. In fact, I think they did.

We don't expect much of a newspaper on boxing day. But we shouldn't have to put up with sloppiness in the editing. However, that sort of sloppiness is every day in the TandT. So why not on boxing day?

The page editor decides on which stories to put on the page, writes the headlines and sub-heads, and determines where to place them on the page. The sloppy mistake on today's  page 1 may, unfortunately, worsen the grief of some families.

The headline on p. 1 is "Young crash victims mourned". Just inches below it is the lead for another story,
"Plenty of holiday family fun to be had." That is the sort of sloppy and careless editorial work that is dreadfully common in the Moncton Times and Transcript. It's reflected not just in this tasteless presentation, but in the casual approach to choosing news stories in the first place.

Queen Elizabeth delivered her TV message in 3D. Brace yourself for the ending when she throws a glass of water in your face.

The editorial is gutsy and gripping. "Boxing Day brings bargains". A must read.

Eric Lewis takes us back over the year to talk about the exciting stories he has covered, being careful to say nothing interesting about any of them, in fact, nothing at all. A hint, Eric, "cool" is like, you know, the sixties. And 'anyhoo' gets laughs, I suspect, only from TandT editors. Or maybe after a half dozen beers.

Some people will find Brian Cormier's column hilarious - perhaps the same people who find "cool" and "anyhoo"  like really hey you know like wow!

Both Alec Bruce and Norbert Cunningham play it light - as journalists really have to do on a Dec. 26. But both keep it light while still being worth a read. de Adder hits a sombre note. But he might be bang on.

Meanwhile, back to the news we need to know. Apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow's 8 year old daughter still sucks her thumb. Perhaps we should contact the Hollywood Prayer Network so, as Billy Graham used to say, the Lord will bless her real good. (None of your cheap, second-rate blessings.)

Who's Gwyneth Paltrow? Can't she afford to change her name?

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