Thursday Media Column: How To Be A Journalist For A Profit-Chugging Corporation

May 6, 2010
By

Ever since I was a young boy I wanted to write for the papers. My father would come home from work and sit in his favorite chair while my mother would get him his drink of choice (codeine–two cubes), and he would read every single word of the Kansas City Mid-Evening Bee Zephyr. Sometimes he would even read it out of the house for weeks at a time. My old man really loved his paper!

So it was a dream come true when Two Rogers, Inc. had the financial ability to purchase a majority stake in the New York Times Company. I reflect on what my father would say, his breath sweet with codeine, about his son steering the most prominent name in print media in the whole world. Maybe I’ll call him.

Periodically (HAHA get it?!) I open the New York Times’ website just to make sure that they are holding themselves to the highest journalistic standard possible, and this morning I was not disappointed. My pride and joy:

It’s Yankees-Red Sox Again: Got All Night?

If you’re like me, whenever you read the Sports section of the newspaper you’re also toying with your finest hourglass, measuring the futility of your existence in each grain of sand over and over again until your gun jams or your wife calls you to dinner. Usually I’m chain-smoking in the basement, wearing monochrome goggles pretending to be Edward R. Murrow or a dog. I know this article is about how baseball games take too long (which makes sense because they get paid by the hour) but the clip art used in this article is really top-notch. THAT’s what TRI paid for.

On Formspring, an E-Vite to Teenage Insults

“It’s just shocking that kids have access to all these things on the Internet and we don’t even know about it,” Mr. Stern said. “And it’s disturbing that what goes on there will influence how somebody behaves. How do you block it? How do you monitor it?”

When I worked briefly as a reporter for the Sag Harbor Cellulite and needed to make up quotes for a story, I used to walk down by the docks with a bag of lollies. I’d find the tiniest tot lifting cargo on the pier, and he would suck on his lollie and I would tell him what to say for the story I was writing. This system was nearly flawless (damn Lindbergh baby) because who were people going to believe? Me, an established journalist? Or a kid who’d been sucking on lead-tainted lollies all day and was cranky from a tummy ache?

But this story about how scary the internet is proves that the technique has advanced considerably since my day. The (genius!) writer clearly lifted this quote from Episode 8/Season 4 of the sitcom Step by Step. Don’t believe me?

The episode in question was “All That’s Cool Is Not Cleveland,” in which Frank Lambert (played by Patrick Duffy) discovers that his son J.T. (Brandon Call) has hopped a bus to the country’s then-most-dangerous-city to meet a girl he met at an amusement park. Frank and his wife Carol (Suzanne Somers) then hash it out. Here’s the scene in question:

FRANK: Honey, honey, slow down–maybe Cleveland will be good for him? Maybe he just needs to get out on the open road! Like us, when we went to Chicago for our honeymoon.

CAROL: Frank, that was because you wanted an abortion.

FRANK: Well we went to Deep Dish Danny’s afterwards!

LAUGHTER

CAROL: Listen, it’s just shocking that kids have access to Cleveland and we don’t even know about it. And it’s disturbing that what goes on there will influence how somebody behaves. How do you block it? How do you monitor it? You know how those people smell Frank. And their eyes, Jesus their eyes–

FRANK: (INTERRUPTING) Carol honey every thing is going to be fine. I promise. Now lets go wire J.T. some money. If he’s anything like his old man he’ll need bus fare to Chicago too!

APPLAUSE

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  1. Rico Rosso on June 22, 2010 at 9:42 am

    OK cool to see- interesting blogs are always helpful! See yas.

  2. Jeremy Talentino on June 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    This is just the sort of info I was looking for! Thanks :)

  3. Edmond Laplante on June 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I recall the time i gave my wife a diamond ring, its so small yet so meaningful to women.

  4. Breana Schamberger on June 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Your blog is so informative ¡­ keep up the good work!!!!

  5. Vincent O. Woodward on June 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Considerably, the post is actually the best on this laudable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your incoming updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c clarity in your writing. I will directly grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates. Genuine work and much success in your business enterprize!

  6. Lowell Olivid on June 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Great Site. Really liked reading through it. Subscribed to your rss feed so keep those updates coming.

  7. Sandie Portilla on September 10, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Fantastic Blog here on the financial sector. I love looking through blogs that have to do with business and finance, so thank you for keeping us up to date with your blog! Ill be coming back! I also loved Step by Step! Who knew that Corey would end up beating the crap out of his girlfriend in real life! Not me!

  8. Rosetta Horton on October 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I loved Family Matters too!

  9. Duncan Cruzan on November 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Not many people understand the day-to-day battles that are waged in the corporate press. It is no less than a war over one’s soul, and having to watch while your favorite child is killed for money. Great piece TRI.

  10. maria andros on November 29, 2010 at 10:05 am

    All too true, too true. Let me know if you have any freelance work these days Rogers.

  11. Emilia Newmeyer on December 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Freelance life is terrible TRI! Help!

  12. Damien Budak on December 4, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Oh man, so true. Makes me want to read Manufacturing Consent again.

  13. Temple Muellner on December 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Journalism, or ‘the biz’, has become increasingly difficult. I believe that, facing this snowballing monetization of the craft, we must strive onward, inflecting humor, invective or a somber investigatory tone where appropriate while also entertaining. Dissemination is changed, ladies and gents, and while the sphere of journalism is no longer what it once was, there is perhaps more than ever a possibility for bite-sized global integration of stories. International themes that are now relevant to a wider and wider base. Each news organization is no longer the conduit for data packets, but rather like a local outlet, a specialty store with harder to find items, like accredited opinion and cache.

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