Take a deep breath:
From the June 18 issue of the Original Irregular, a weekly newspaper published in Kingfield:
"Green ideas have produced numerous political ribbon cutting ceremonies over the decades, but seldom do these green events get to enjoy long term anniversaries such as the Tranten's will enjoy this week at their grand re-opening, following a new expansion and remodeling job completed this spring."
Most green ideas don't last as long as that sentence.
Take a remedial course in grammar: From the same paper:
"Thieves apparently broke into the store by prying off boards on the south side of the building. Based on the size of the opening, it is suspected that up to two burglars entered the building, who are small-framed in body size."
Please, the building is sensitive about its stature.Take the dictionary and open it:
Headline in the "Go" section of the June 19 Portland Press Herald: "Indescribable music of Sun City Girls to fill Space on Friday." From the column under that headline: "Their musical style … has been described as demented surf, Indian and Asian improvisation, free-form noise and fractured folk, and I'm sure if you threw several other names at it, they'd stick."
I think "Indescribable" bounced off.Should have taken math in college:
On June 18, the Web site PolitickerME.com reported on a new Rasmussen Reports poll, purportedly showing Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins' lead over her Democratic rival Tom Allen shrinking significantly.
Setting aside questions about Rasmussen's surveying methods (mostly robo-calls), which have caused some news organizations to refuse to use their results, Politicker still should have been skeptical about these numbers. As an alert reader quickly posted on the site, the figures indicating a decline in Collins' support among all voters were at mathematical odds with the pollster's claims she'd gained 18 percent among independent voters, the largest bloc in Maine.
Nor was the writing all that impressive. The story claimed Collins "is now down to only a seven point lead at 42%, dropping her below 50% for the first time." In fact, it's Allen who's at 42 percent, according to the poll, with Collins at 49 percent.
Are they hiring at the Irregular?Should have taken ethics in college:
The June 17 Portland Press Herald carried an Associated Press story on the McClatchy Co.'s announcement that the country's third largest newspaper company is eliminating 1,400 jobs nationwide because of weak advertising revenue. What the story doesn't tell readers - but should have - is that McClatchy owns 49.5 percent of the Press Herald. The company has no administrative or editorial role in the paper, which is controlled by the Blethen family, but does share in the Portland paper's profits. When there are any profits. For a more balanced piece on McClatchy's problems, click here. Should have taken a job with the campaign:
Reporter Lynn Ascrizzi and whoever wrote the headline for her June 18 story in Waterville's Morning Sentinel on state Senate candidate Robert Sezak of Fairfield
should consider dropping the pretense this was journalism and admit the piece was a political ploy of some sort. Either that or major-league ineptness.
The headline read like something swiped from a campaign brochure, telling us Sezak wants "a new perspective in Augusta" and that he's running to "give constituents a voice." Not until the ninth paragraph do readers learn who he's running against (incumbent state Sen. Peter Mills). Nowhere in the story are they told what party Sezak represents (although, because Mills is a Republican, they could narrow it down to Democrat, Green or independent).
Ascrizzi writes that Sezak lives on an island in the Kennebec River, serves on local and regional boards, owns a "nonmainstream" book store in Waterville, likes former U.S. Sen. Bill Cohen's spy novels, favors the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and is a life member of the National Rifle Association, but she doesn't bother to mention any of his positions on issues, such as energy costs, taxes, the state budget, job creation, abortion, same-sex marriage or education.
This feature-length treatment of a legislative candidate is in sharp contrast to the Sentinel's usual handling of political announcements. The paper tends (like too many others) to just print candidates' press releases verbatim, even if those releases omit essential information, such as opponents' names. For the Sentinel to assign a reporter to do a fluff piece on Sezak raises questions about whether this was a lapse in editorial judgment or an indication of some poorly concealed agenda.Take a refresher course in news writing:
Thanks to an alert reader who called my attention to this syntactical and temporal nightmare of a posting on WMTW-TV's Web site.
According to the site, the district school board in Raymond tried to eliminate nine custodial jobs from its budget. I'm not sure when this happened, as the story says "Thursday night," which hadn't yet arrived when the piece was posted early Thursday morning, June 19. The article goes on to say the board backed off on making the cuts after receiving a letter from the union representing the workers.
At least, I think that's what happened. With sentences like this one, it's hard to tell: "Following some negotiations that could have led to a potential lawsuit, the board put a chunk of money back into the budget, essentially saving the nine custodial jobs that were on the line, Keithley said."
Keithley is Jim Keithley, a Channel 8 reporter. I don't know if he's responsible for this mess, but he ought to be embarrassed his name is associated with it.
Or maybe he's planning to jump to the Irregular.Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.