Wrongspeak.

The journalism world, such as it is these days, is discussing Randy Michaels’ no-no list. The former radio wrecking ball, now the CEO — I get dizzy just thinking about it — of the Tribune Co. issued a list of 119 words and phrases that must never, ever be heard again on the company’s news-talk station, WGN.

This story is being spun as a monumental case of micromanagement. It is. However, it is nothing new. Every media outlet in the world has a boss who hands down these edicts; it’s one of the perks of the top job — creating a world unto yourself in which no one ever, ever uses the word butt. The only thing that makes this case different is the fact it’s the CEO doing it. In most companies, especially one like the Tribune Co., inevitably referred to as “troubled,” the CEO is — should be — the big-picture guy standing on the bridge looking at the seas ahead, scanning for icebergs, not going below to instruct the coal-shovelers on the proper angle to wear their sailor caps. Not in Chicago, evidently. Ah, well.

Here’s the other thing: Michaels kind of has the right idea, or seems to have backed into the right idea. A big chunk of the entries on the list are the sort of trite journalese that anyone with a sensitive ear hates — clash with police, say, or went terribly wrong, or one of my personal pet peeves, diva. (I prefer the simpler bitch.) Looking at the rest of the list, though, I’m going to assume the smart part of it is simply a case of a monkey banging out the first act of “Hamlet.” Remember, this is Lee Abrams’ other half.

I’m going to further assume that many of these words never made it onto WGN’s air to begin with. Fatal death for instance. An intern might write that, but presumably it wasn’t a routine usage. Ditto bare naked and medical hospital. I looked in vain for controversial, and didn’t find it. He got famed in there, but not all its variations; generally, I follow the rule that if something is famous, you don’t need to remind people.

The list also bans certain words journalists rely on to protect ourselves — alleged, for one. Laypeople hate that one. I think Eric Zorn tackled it after the Flight 253 near-disaster, when a reader complained that we shouldn’t be calling Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab the “alleged terrorist.” Zorn said yes we should, because that’s what we do — it’s not the news media’s job to decide when you’re guilty, but a court of law’s. If you don’t like it, you can always move to Afghanistan. Or tune your radio to WGN.

Zorn looked at the list, and the fallout, on his blog yesterday. In his defense, Michaels and his underling point out there’s nothing wrong with striving for clear writing, from the CEO all the way down. Agreed. But please explain, gents: What’s your problem with pedestrian? Is there a better word for a person walking across a street? Or officials? Don’t forget that news writing evolved the way it did because those sentences have to carry a lot of freight. It’s easier for listeners for a broadcaster to say “city officials said” rather than “street department, police and fire and parks and recreation supervisors said.”

With that, I go behind closed doors. I seem to have turned a corner, health-wise, but not work-wise. So you all enjoy Friday, and I’ll see you in the wake of the weekend.

Posted at 10:20 am in Media |
 

56 responses to “Wrongspeak.”

  1. John said on March 12, 2010 at 10:26 am

    White stuff made the list.

    Didn’t Ted Turner ban the word foreign on CNN years ago?

  2. Peter said on March 12, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Poor Randy must not have received an MBA from a top notch school. If he had, he would have gone about it like this:

    1. Have get together with upper layer toadys and syncophants. As an aside, complain about poor speech used at other stations.

    2. Butt kissers get hint, put out memo with words they think the boss finds offensive, sets up awards for employees who catch others in the act.

    3. Predictable journalistic shitstorm.

    4. A few overpaid on air personalities flaunt list. They get fired.

    5. Another predictable journalistic shitstorm.

    6. Mr. Big announces surprise that his underlings could be so fascist and fires them.

    Saves much more money than anticipated, makes Mr. Big look like caring executive; gets rewarded with cushier job.

  3. nancy said on March 12, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Peter: I bow down before you.

  4. paddyo' said on March 12, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Perfect analysis, Peter — and nice take on the list, Nance. I agree, the guy kinda-sorta had the right idea about clear writing, which shouldn’t oughta be his daily purview, but what the hell, he’s the boss.

    I remember, during my first stint at The Nation’s Nicepaper in the 1980s, an infamous memo to all the desks from The Founder Himself. In it, he decreed that the use of “USA” in all its forms (noun, adjective and, hell, maybe even verb for all I know) was preferrable to “America” or “American.”

    He had banged it out on his I-think-it-was-a Royal typewriter, which in the early days had its own spot right there in the newsroom so he could pound out a headline or two on an old-school sheet of copy paper. It began, I think, with the words, “I’ll say this ONE MORE TIME . . ..” (I have a copy buried somewhere in a folder in a box at home.)

    To punctuate his point, he attached a photocopied map of the Americas, showing North, Central and South.

    Thus began the infuriating entry into our daily argot of “USA” as an adjective. Not just “the USA’s soccer moms are driving more minivans,” but “USA soccer moms” and “USA weather” and “USA Olympians” — the better, we all assumed, to put those three letters, one-half of the name of the paper, constantly in the minds of the newspaper-consuming public, whether they read ours or not.

    Eventually, in the 1990s, after he retired from running the company (though his mini-column continued to run — and still does — in the Friday/weekend edition), editors quietly allowed “America” and “American” to return to stories.

  5. Carter said on March 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Is it too late to get redouble onto the list? And arguably?

  6. Colleen said on March 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I’d like to add “fighting for his/her life” to the list.

    As a former radio person, I appreciated the ban on dubya instead of double you. And people who say dubya really don’t hear the difference.

  7. nancy said on March 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Who’s the guy at your former station, Colleen, who says “ed-you-kay-shun?” Drover me nuts.

  8. Colleen said on March 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Oh, he’s been gone since before I was. Dave Freund.

  9. Jeff Borden said on March 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Newspapers get all the attention, but radio and TV have been gored by the economy and all the challenges of new media, too.

    In WGN-AM, Randy Michaels confronts a legacy radio station that continues to skew very old –when I covered broadcasting in Chicago other broadcasters used to joke whenever an ambulance drove past: “There goes another WGN listener”– and soon will have to start paying market prices for rights to the Chicago Cubs games. The station is boxed in on many fronts. Consider:
    there are two all-sports stations splitting maybe 5% or 6% of the total radio audience while there is talk that one of them will soon launch an FM simulcast; there already is a very solid all-news outlet; WLS-AM, another 50,000-watt power, is going even more right-wing conservative and God knows no Randy Michaels station would ever go liberal; the current morning personality was imported from San Francisco and is having a hard time establishing himself here; and the Cubs, which along with the recent addition of the Blackhawks bring in about the only young listeners the station can claim, will undoubtedly be testing the market when the current pact expires.

    We are in a place these days where there actually are very few compelling radio personalities in a city where there once were many. (I should note here that this may not be the case on Spanish-language radio. Radio is the prime media used by Hispanics.) And aside from one or two top performers, no one is making seven figures. In fact, most personalities are seeing their salaries decimated. One afternoon talk host at WLS is now making one-fourth of what he was earning two years ago as an example.

    What Michaels is doing, I guess, is working to eliminate a certain level of jargon to knock down more barriers between the station and its listeners.

    Radio, in general, is a wreck. Young people don’t listen to it at all, preferring their own iPod mixes, Pandora or other online music services Compelling personalities are few and far between. There is literally no young talent out there. I can’t think of a radio staffer under 40 and most are older.

    Against that backdrop, the list of verboten words seems rather silly.

  10. beb said on March 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    From NPR, relayed by Romanesko and bounced to boingboing
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/waitwait/2010/03/in_which_i_try_to_use_all_of_w.html

    You’ve got to admire the man’s guts.

  11. LAMary said on March 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Jeff, I know I sound like I’m on the PR staff of the station, but KCRW here in Santa Monica, an NPR station, has a young audience, interesting personalities. You can listen to it online. It’s an NPR that doesn’t carry Prairie Home Companion or the Car Guys.

  12. beb said on March 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    USA v America. Every so often I run into these debates USA v Amerca. The point seems to be that since there are all other countries in North, Central and South Amercia it’s not politic to call ourselves “America” as if we are the only ones there.

    But: The nation’s names is “The United States of America.” Just as China’s offical name is “The People’s Republic of China, and Mexico’s is “The United Mexican States. Guatemala is the Republic of Guatemala. And so on. We are properly speaking American’s living in America because tghat’s how people trunct the names of nations. We’re were the first to claim “America” as the name of our nation, so we get to use it.

  13. deb said on March 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    nance, i seem to remember an incident you mentioned at the columbus dispatch, circa late 1970s/early ’80s, when an editor banned the use of “it’s/its” because he’d hadituptohere with seeing the wrong usage in the paper. then the night desk guy came in and sent out a memo that said something like: “everybody else is gone and i’m in charge; the number four is banned.” (jeff borden, was that you?)

  14. deb said on March 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    btw, the only phrase i remember being urged not to use was “charged with battery.” oh, and “completely destroyed.”

  15. nancy said on March 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Bernie Karsko banned the number four. The it’s ban lasted through the moronic headline — a piece on entertaining pegged to the new year — “It is party time!”

    My new battle is over “totally unique.” And “electrocute” for any non-fatal shock.

  16. paddyo' said on March 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    And don’t forget “literally.”
    I literally had a cow.
    Wow, now THAT’s news!

  17. CTJohn said on March 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I’m new to commenting here, but at least he had the sense to place “utilize” on that list. I am an engineer and I review lots of other engineer’s reports, and while I don’t have the patience to eliminate the “all pervasive” passive tense from their work, I gleefully delete the word utilize. Back when my wife and I were dating, the best gift she gave me was her copy of Strunk and White. I still give copies to every engineer that I hire.

  18. Colleen said on March 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Oh how I love Strunk and White. I think passive tense is utilized by people because they think it makes them sound smarter.

    Did that work? No? Dang.

  19. paddyo' said on March 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    As a longtime newspaper reporter who now works in government communications, I can speak directly to the unbridled utilization of the passive tense. Bureaucratese is everywhere around me, and I spend a LOT of time, daily, fending it off, fixing it in documents that cross my desk, and proselytizing for plain, clear language. I’d say I’m still in the plus column after nearly two years at this, but it is a grinding war of attrition. I think of myself as an extra in the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (PLEASE, the original!):
    If I can just keep from falling asleep and being replaced by a bureaucratic pod . . .
    But . . . it . . . is . . . so . . . tiring

  20. Jolene said on March 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Passive voice, people, not passive tense. Tense has to do w/ when the action expressed in the verb occurs. Voice has to do w/ who performed the action expressed in the verb.

    Active voice: The entity that is the grammatical subject of the sentence is also the actor, as in “The dog bit the man”.

    Passive voice: The entity that is the grammatical subject of the sentence is acted upon, as in “The man was bitten by the dog”.

    Passive voice verbs are always a form of “to be” plus a past participle. Examples:
    - was eaten
    - had been eaten
    - has been washed

  21. Kirk said on March 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    paddyo’,
    i agree that bureaucrats are the source of much of the lazy and inscrutable language that’s been getting into the news media for a long time. the problem is that a reporter’s job is twofold: gathering the news and writing it. way too many gather it and, rather than write it, regurgitate it, lazily using the same inside expressions that their sources use.

    one of my favorite popular useless words: ongoing

  22. jcburns said on March 12, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Sammy’s pet peeve: “a number of …” casualties, victims, bills, whatever. “WHAT NUMBER!?” she yells at the TV, as I activate the special microphone that lets the TV news anchors hear her from our living room. “WHAT IS THAT NUMBER!? IS IT 12? 53? 219?”

    It’s fun to watch Brian Williams jump when that happens.

  23. Jolene said on March 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Love the “special microphone” idea, jc. If I had one of those, maybe I could get John Boehner to stop saying that we have the best healthcare system in the world and that “the American people” do not want healthcare reform. But anyway . . .

    I like Strunk & White too, but if you’re interested in a more sophisticated tratment of style, try Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams. Really great advice on revising away the bureaucratese, written w/ considerable wit.

  24. Kirk said on March 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    One of mine: TV reporters who constantly misuse the word “suspect.” “A suspect forced his way into the home and robbed the couple.” No, it wasn’t a suspect. It was a robber, for god’s sake.

  25. moe99 said on March 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/utah_house_leader_admits_naked_hot-tubbing_with_15.php?ref=fpblg

    Ah, just luv those hot tubs…..

  26. Dexter said on March 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    jcburns…that reminds me of Leon as Danny Duberstein…”…Danny Duberstein is good at two things, math, and f^cL< i n."
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Riv1yzjg5vw

  27. beb said on March 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Honest to God, Moe, where do these people get the idea that this sort of thing is OK? Hot-tubbing with a girl old enough to his grand-daughter. That ought to automatically creep him out. I know it does me.

  28. Jeff Borden said on March 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I guess Roman Polanski would be quite welcome among Utah Republicans.

  29. moe99 said on March 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Actually, he was 30 at the time, so I guess she could’ve been his daughter. She was underage no matter what.

  30. deb said on March 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    jc, “a number of” is newsroom code for “we don’t know what the number is.” that’s as sneaky as the old interview trick of starting a tough question with “senator, people are saying…” what people? name two.

  31. Rana said on March 12, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Is there a bet­ter word for a per­son walk­ing across a street?

    Streetwalker, of course.

    *wink*

  32. coozledad said on March 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Wasn’t Ratzi saying paedophilia was “an American problem” just a few years back?
    Cue “The Lonely Goatherd”:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/world/europe/13pope.html?pagewanted=2&hp

  33. moe99 said on March 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    C’dad, you are a man after my own heart. Only your link is to page two. Here’s the full meal deal:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/world/europe/13pope.html?hp

  34. coozledad said on March 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks, moe. I think my biorhythms are off.

  35. Vince said on March 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I had a news director in Dallas, Texas who insisted the word “metroplex” was never to be used to refer to Dallas-Fort Worth.
    It was a contrivance of some chamber of commerce types and he wasn’t about to have us using a term designed exclusively for advertising.

    That didn’t stop “metroplex” from becoming part of a wider vernacular. In the mid-80′s I snorted when I heard a radio DJ in the middle of Kansas screw on his best Mr. Broadcaster voice and exhale, “and the forecast for the Hays-Wakeeny-Stockton metroplex is….” The largest of those towns then was about 10,000 people.

    That said, other managers in the same newsroom had a few other pet peeve words for purely personal stylistic reasons. “Cops” was too informal and so was “kids.” “Police” or “Police Officer” and “child” or “children” were preferred.

  36. Colleen said on March 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Shoot, Jolene, I know it’s voice and not tense. My brain got behind my fingers! Thanks for pointing it out!

  37. Jen said on March 12, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I really agree with some of those words and phrases, and some of them are ones that I’ve been instructed never to use in news stories or headlines. But allegedly? As Nancy said, that is required to cover our butts. It’s better than the stupid TV news people around here, who are always convicting people of crimes in their news stories.

    We have some of those rules, like not using “Dems” for “Democrats.” It’s usually fine, unless I’m trying to squeeze too many words into a headline.

  38. Kirk said on March 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    The idea of “alleged” or “allegedly” is usually a necessity, but there sometimes are more conversational ways of expressing it.

    “The police said” instead of “The police alleged,” for example.

  39. brian stouder said on March 13, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Aside from boilerplate language, here’s a sincere wish that the Blogmistress gets to feeling better really, really soon!; and here’s two cheers for the boilerplate, too! (her allusion to getting behind closed doors has me humming the Charlie Pride[?] song)

    And a non-sequitur: an informal aquaintance (via school) came knocking on our door and gave my lovely wife a literal (and I do mean literal) sob-story about a health challenge being faced by their young daughter. The upshot was – would she (my lovely wife) be interested in buying some gift certificates for use at a local restaurant chain, whose owner donated them for that purpose?

    When Pam told me this story, that detail made me raise my eyebrows, and when she noticed my raised eyebrows she dropped her chin at me; whereupon I said “you got took”*

    She pointed out that I would have done just what she did (buy the certificates) if it had been me that the brazen woman was crying in front of, and of course she’s right. Pam made a phone call to another mom who might be “in the know” regarding the brazen woman’s story about the ill child, and immediately the other mom interjected with “DON’T GIVER HER ANY MONEY!” – which got us laughing!

    It’s a hell of a thing, isn’t it? You read about these things in the paper (whether or not the language is hackneyed) but then you actually see it – or experience it – and it’s sort of amazing.

    PS – and – the lady didn’t have any certificates, either! She said she’d get back to us with them – but from speaking to the other mom, this fits the pattern, and the certificates are as imaginary as the alleged health crisis

    *Yes, yes – one would more accurately say “taken” or (better) “swindled”; but “took” is more guttural and satisying to say. Possibly this is an Indiana thing

  40. Dexter said on March 13, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Vince, that is strange how that n.d. banned “metroplex” from the lexicon.
    I have only been to Dallas a few times and I live 1,200 miles from there and if I know it’s commonly called that, I suspect most people do also.
    It’s much better than “Tri-State Area” because one could never use that on a national broadcast or in a national edition of any newspaper.
    Where I live , it’s OH, MI, and IN.
    I have heard it used in NYC, as NY, NJ and CT, if I am not mistaken.

    In Cincinnati , on WLW it means Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, but WLW booms way up into Michigan where it would not make sense if you weren’t sure what station you had tuned into.

    I am really in the minority here, but I am all for banishing “America” and “American”. It’s just arrogant to claim those words.

  41. brian stouder said on March 13, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Dexter – I agree with you.

    If I was talking to someone from another place and they asked me where I was from, I would say “The US” or “the States”.

  42. basset said on March 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

    that’s a Charlie Rich song, not Charlie Pride.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyoPaVxMyWY

    WLW used to reach a lot further than Michigan… from 1936-39 they ran a 500kw signal (WLS, WSM, and other “clear channel” AMs are limited to 50 now) as a test of potential military communication. they had regular daytime listeners in Europe and Hawaii, and the signal was so strong near their transmitter that the old DC battery house lights in a lot of farm homes wouldn’t go off at night, too much radiation in the air.

    the transmitter was such a hot-running monster they had to dig a pond outside the transmitter building and use the water to keep it cool:

    http://www.oldradio.com/archives/stations/cinc/wlwpix.htm

    they also had, and as far as I know still have, one of only two Blaw-Knox double-taper towers in existence – think of two very tall and very thin pyramids joined bottom to bottom and balanced on one of the points. the other is at WSM in Nashville – you can see it south of the city along I-65.

  43. A. Riley said on March 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I’d ban “one of their own.” It’s sentimental glurge. And “homeland.” If I were queen, the Homeland Security department would be renamed Civil Defense in no time flat. Speaking of Civil Defense, what ever happened to them? They used to have little CD circles on a couple of spots on the car radio so you could turn to them in the event of an emergency.

    (How ’bout that for a segue?)

    I’ve always kind of liked the very idea of all those big 50,000-watt AM clear channel voices that you can pick up all the way to the north pole on a clear night — but boy, there’s a lot of garbage being broadcast on ‘em.

  44. Jeff Borden said on March 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    A. Riley,
    When I was a kid, my folks gave my sister and I each a Motorola table radio. Mine was turqoise plastic. I spent many, many nights with a little pad of paper and a pencil, writing down the call letters and cities that would reach Lima, Ohio at night. I often found myself tuning in WBZ out of Boston, where the nighttime jocks would sometimes mix weird poetry with music and one of them offered advice on how to build “an instant immortality capsule.” It was basically a wax milk carton with your stuff in it, lol. Now, as you point out, most of these super powerful clear-channel stations are outlets for right-wing aural sewage. Such a shame.

  45. brian stouder said on March 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    It was always considered a cool thing, here in Fort Wayne, if you could get CKLW.

    Say – in one of our late snow storms, one of our two recycling bins got dammaged; not quite busted all to hell, but one side was split from top to bottom. (I think maybe the bow-wave of snow from a passing plow got it, but who knows)

    So we called our city’s informational phone number – 311 – and they said they’d drop off another for us. But the kicker (love that term) was when the person told us to ‘place the damaged one into the garbage bin for disposal….!!

  46. MIchaelG said on March 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    You gottit, A. Riley. “One of their own” gags me.

    When I was a kid, before the ice cooled, WLS in Chi was a great music station. Great jocks like Dick Biondi, the Wild Itralian, and Dan Sorkin. Yes, that’s “Itralian”.

    Used to hear on TV, on the weather particularly, “the Chicagoland area”. Repetitively redundant.

  47. Jeff Borden said on March 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Now, WLS is Limbaughland. It’s right-wing drivel 24/7 whether it’s local or national hosts. Brian, I used to pick up WOWO quite easily in Lima. Later, in the Cleveland area, CKLW was the default station when the local rock AM was forced to decrease power at sunset. I still recall the stentorian tones of newsmen like Byron MacGregor and Randall Carlisle with “CK 20/20 news.”

  48. Sue said on March 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Tri-state in the Chicago area is WI-IL-IN. There’s even a Tri-state Tollway.
    Sorry to hear that WLS is Limbaughland. I’d love to see what Larry Lujack would have done to him.

  49. brian stouder said on March 13, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Wanted to note how genuinely wonderful that Ebert article was, that Nance linked a day ago (or two), regarding Bill Withers (who sang Ain’t No Sunshine and Lean on Me), and who had (and has) the preternatural sense not to take fame any more seriously than as a means to a pleasant life.

    By way of saying I just read that Keith Olbermann’s dad died this afternoon. On one hand I suppose such news is as common as that it was windy and rainy all day today; while on the other, judging from the depth of feeling Mr Olbermann expressed about his father, this news must be akin to the idea that there ‘ain’t no sunshine’, now that he’s gone.

  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 13, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Jolene @#20, that was exquisite. Thanks, and I will pass that along.

  51. Dave said on March 14, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Randall Carlisle, remember seeing him standing alone in the North Heidelberg,(or simply the North ‘Berg), about the far north border of the bars that connected to OSU on North High Street in Columbus back in the very late 60′s, when 3.2 beer flowed freely and places like that flourished. He was doing news on WCOL then.

    Used to try to get CKLW in Central Ohio but you really couldn’t. Remember when I was introduced to it about 1965 by a friend who had moved from my home town to Lima, son of a minister. It’s about the same time I discovered KYW, then in Cleveland, and WBZ, and all the rest. WLS, WCFL, good grief, the list went on then, now it’s all so far away. Radio today is hopelessly lost to blather.

  52. brian stouder said on March 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Nance’s Zorn link now has a response on it from Randy Michaels, his-own-self, which concludes:

    The “kerfuffle” is a bit bewildering. Most news organizations have a style book, and the suggestions on that list are pretty basic. It is surprising that some believe that the CEO of a content company should not be concerned about content. [emphasis added]

    As for where the list came from, it clearly came from WGN radio since it had Charlie’s perhaps unfortunate introduction. It was compiled by a few people after the News Directors meeting. The same list went to all of the TV news directors without public reaction. Someone who works at WGN must think sending internal memos to an out of work blogger who doesn’t like us is OK. That part is the most disappointing.

    The guy may think this whole turn of events is “disappointing”, but why SAY that? Wouldn’t he expect that a “content consumer” (like me) would be interested to know the process by which his company produces the “content”, every day?

    And anyway, why would a chief executive of a major “content company” – a major NEWS organization – publically criticize their own news staff for spreading news about the “content” they provide?

    I certainly hope that any self-respecting NEWS organization would want to know – and report – about the internal processes by which “content companies” where the “content” is, say, ground beef, produce the product that my family and I consume. Even if he really wants loyalty – and silence – regarding how his company does what it does, how stupid must he be to publish that expectation?

    In all this talk about “old media” and “new media”, some things never change at all

  53. Jeff Borden said on March 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Randy Michaels is slurring Robert Feder, the long-time TV/radio writer (not critic!) for the Chicago Sun-Times. He took a buyout when things at the paper looked grimmest and now is associated with a blog that is linked to the NPR station. Feder was the legman for the infamous Gary Deeb and had a Rolodex larger than the L.A. phone book. He is widely disliked in broadcasting circles the way all good reporters are disliked by the industries they cover. He cheapshot me once while I worked at Crain’s Chicago Business and broke a story that embarrassed him, but by and large, he is a very straight shooter with a very high level of integrity. He made it a policy to never, ever allow himself to be interviewed or in any way featured on any TV or radio broadcast because he thought it was unethical to appear on a station he might someday criticize or praise.

    As an out-of-work blogger, Feder has far more integrity than the handsomely-paid Michaels.

  54. coozledad said on March 14, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    This places Roberts’ mealy mouthed bitching in context. Obama was disparaging their new titty:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-thomas14-2010mar14,0,3190750,full.story
    One thing you’ve got to hand to the Bush family. They could spot one of their own kind a mile away, and they subsequently appointed the trash to positions of power.

  55. MarkH said on March 15, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Dave, I just realized that your North ‘berg Randall Carlisle is the same one that was for years on KUTV-2 in Salt Lake City when I got out west. Whenever OSU was mentioned on air, he would light up and I always wondered why, as I got to Columbus after he left. For those interested, here’s the latest, fired last year from SLC’s channel 4:

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700263712/KTVX-pulls-anchor-Carlisle-off-the-air.html

  56. Dexter said on March 15, 2010 at 2:55 am

    I found a site that is a must for all you folks who remember CKLW news broadcasts.
    I mean, seriously, you have never, ever heard anything like Grant Hudson deliver the news.
    Nance, maybe you can get Alan to listen to this 1:35 seg of a newscast by Grant Hudson…the alliteration is astounding.
    Just scroll down to the Grant Hudson bit.
    http://tinyurl.com/yejhce6