Monthly Archives: November 2003

HAND RAISED, QUESTION . . . Put to Chi Trib ombuds…

HAND RAISED, QUESTION . . . Put to Chi Trib ombudsman Don Wycliff 1:16 PM, 11/4/03:

It’s an old problem, but why “analysts” in head and text of Michael Killian’s story on fallout from loss of copter in Iraq and not “two analysts,” which is all that appear in the story as published? And only one of them on the issue of waning public support for our Iraq venture (the story’s lead and head), the Ohio State professor? (The other, quoted on military tactics, was a military historian at National Defense U.)

Afterword: Really, why can’t newspapers just say “two analysts” when all the story has is two? Why “analysts” with the sneaky implication of consensus?

WUXTRY, WUXTRY . . . Let us now read Chicago’s two…

WUXTRY, WUXTRY . . . Let us now read Chicago’s two highest-circulation newspapers, headlines first. Headlines because they are the ultimate shorthand, blunt instruments but not so blunt in the hands of skilled practitioners such as create them at Chi Trib and Sun-Times.

First grabber is “War funding bill passes” in Chi Trib. Gives one pause, in that rebuilding Iraq is what we have been hearing. War funding? “Fund the military and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan” is in the lead paragraph by Jill Zuckman. That’s war funding?

2nd is “Jailed Russian oil chief resigns: Company’s stock soars after CEO announces exit,” heading very interesting story by Alex Rodriguez in Moscow, with “fueled speculation” in 2nd ‘graf that the man, a billionaire, is going to challenge Putin politically.

Funny, for readers of the internet and watchers of TV news, the 1st story, “war funding,” is not new. That’s your hard-copy daily newspaper problem: how to tell readers what they don’t already know.

Big picture on p. 1 of returnees from bloody ‘copter downing in Iraq, “For families, sad news hits home: Copter victims.” But has Chi Trib been also telling us about progress reported in Iraq? As vividly? I will have to read it more closely, because I seem to have missed news of this aspect of our success.

“Rockford [airport] tries to lure fliers from O’Hare: Northwest Chicagoland Regional Airport uses its new name, free parking and budget fares in effort to woo fliers from northwest and west suburbs” certainly has flare, with photo of spanking-clean passenger waiting area. And news to this reader. Nice going, Trib, two news stories so far on p. 1.

“U.S. rates home health firms: Survey compares 7,000 providers”? Really? Our govt. is rating health firms? What do you know about that? And what are these home health firms? Families?

“Poll says many on campus marching to GOP’s beat: Campaign 2004”? Now you are talking. Republicanism on campus may not be brand new, but it’s new enough to capture attention. “Students leaning right” heads a mini-graph of poll results: 61% undergrads approve of GW, vs. 53% of general population, per Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Jeff Zeleny reporting out of Columbus, OH, where he went to talk to students. (And he really went there, we presume, vs. Jayson Blair of NY Times and his infamous hotel-room creations of sights seen and people interviewed.)

Three news stories today on Chi Trib page one!


Sun-Times has big pic of “two brothers in mourning” over their brother killed in the ‘copter crash. Neither am I full of recollection of this paper’s stories about progress in Iraq. Must read more carefully.

“SADDAM SURE U.S. ATTACK WAS HOAX [upper case in original]: [Ex-foreign minister] Tariq Aziz tells interrogators that deposed leader did little to prepare for invasion” is for p. 3 story from sister-paper London Telegraph with AP help, citing a Wash Post story that ran yesterday. So we have here the work of enterprising editors who assume (safely) that most of us do not read Wash Post regularly.

Nothing like that in “Burke [feisty alderman] wants ‘car for sale’ signs banned from Chicago streets: Claims Indiana car dealers use roads here for sales,” by the excellent Fran Spielman, extremely enterprising City Hall reporter. It’s about “Let’s Have an Ordinance” Eddie, recently heard complaining about smokers on THE SIDEWALK, FOR GOSH SAKES, whom he had to pass on his way from the Hall to his law office for this or that highly lucrative meeting.

This, of course, is Sun-Times’s forte. (Say “fort” not “fortay,” by the way, although being not the first by whom the new are tried nor yet the last to lay the old aside is a rule increasingly hard-pressed to justify it.) What aldermen do is grist for S-T mill. Burke of course favors a draconian measure; he thinks draconian.

P. 1 has other reefers (not marijuana but blotches of type & pix that refer the reader to story elsewhere in paper): New Sox mgr, new movie, and a Richard Roeper column, “Why this girl’s parents are despicable,” next to head shot of Utah girl abducted by Mormon lunatic. Ah. Roeper has found something he truly, truly objects to and is very, very angry. No, thanks.

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