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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Yes, my blog is increasing your taxes.

Reader-submitted complaint: At least we know why the government is broke and looking to increase our taxes. We have employees like this one with too much time on her hands who basically steal from the citizens of the North. Axe her job and the countless others who sit at their desks and blog or email each other dirty emails and we might be $40 million in the black.

Illiterate, incoherent and irrationally upset that I have pointed out Name of Paper Withheld's shoddy grasp on the English language. Too bad this person has cannily concealed his or her identity. I almost feel as if I have read this sort of moronic ranting before. Now, if I could only remember where...

It may not have occurred to this reader, but I do not blog at work. It happens to be a government office, but that is irrelevant. I write for the fun of it every evening after I get home from work. Blogging is my hobby. I don't have time to blog at work; if I did, I would indeed consider it stealing from the citizens of the North. I am paid to serve the public interest, not to write on my blog.

Some people care about journalism because they believe it is crucial to our democracy. I am one of those people. I have always been passionate about journalism: not just what you might consider the unimportant details, like grammar, but the larger issues, like assigning, reporting and editing stories. Newspapers are important, but they lose their relevance when they are inaccurate or sloppy. We all have a stake in this: we need accurate information to make decisions about our lives and our communities. News is much more than the stuff that goes between the ads, and journalism is an honourable profession. This is why we need to call attention to the problems we see in the fourth estate.

I'm sorry that you appear not to share my concerns about accuracy in journalism. I'm also sorry that you believe my blog is contributing to an increase in your taxes.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... shouldn't we hold the paper editor to account for presenting such a poor product? The media has as much, if not more, responsibility as a civil servant to serve the public. Poor grammar and poor editing don't serve the readers.

I'd like to point out that Megan's post was made on Monday at 5:26 pm, after work, and the reader-submitted complaint was posted at 3:10 pm, probably at work.

Another thing, your taxes are going up because our government makes poor financial decisions. It's terrible to suggest that someone should lose their job because you don't agree with their correct assessment of the paper. For shame.

Anonymous said...

This is actually from the paper?

Anonymous said...

For someone who claims to be a defender of good journalism, your attacks on the Name of Paper Withheld (does anyone else find this irony idiotic?) are bias and ignorant. You refuse to point out the good the paper does. Instead, over a cup of coffee with your feet up on your desk, you mark up a few pages to try and discredit it as a bad product.
You have no knowledge of the process and work involved in publishing six papers on a weekly basis. If you think editors are only responsible for reading copy all day you're mistaken. I am sure most of them wish their days were spent merely editing stories.
News/North East and West, Yellowknifer and Northern News Services' other publications win awards on a National and territorial/provincial level every year(and not just one or two). Its efforts in producing the Arctic Winter Games' Ulu News were also held in high esteem around the Circumpolar North.
Your actions reflect a hidden agenda stemming from your personal disdain for the newspaer. It is widely known your sentiments are brought on by your bad working relationship with members of the paper's staff. The only difference is the newspaer has more tact and doesn't personally try to discredit you with anecdotes of your shoddy work. Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury to hide our mistakes from public view.
Maybe you should be a little more honest with your intentions, instead of playing the hero of good journalism. You're just another disgruntled person who feels wronged by the paper.

Cindy said...

Look, I worked for that paper, along with other papers in other parts of Canada. I worked as a reporter and as a copy editor over the years. I would be ashamed to admit any of that text had been copy edited by me.

I know for a fact those kinds of editing mistakes on the front page would bring down an unholy tantrum, and rightly deserved, from the editor or publisher back in my day.

Professional journalists should not try to excuse their mistakes by pointing a finger and saying "you only point them out because you don't like us!" Professional journalists take deserved criticism in a professional, cool and collected manner, and then try to ensure the mistakes do not happen again.

This many copy editing mistakes indicates a flaw in your paper's copy editing system. Period.

And if you were really smart, you'd do what the Globe and Mail or the National Post does and offer a job to some of your harshest critics. If you were an astute editor, you'd want to hire Megan.

Quit the tantrum, Mike. The paper has a problem. Be an editor and FIX it. As reporters love to say, don't shoot the messenger.

The Coconut Diaries said...

Oh, I had not idea Canadians were so feisty! If it makes you feel better, Mike, Sarah Palin wouldn't have caught any mistakes. But I'm really sure she can read so that's not saying much.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry the front page mistake did bring down a holy tantrum. Unfortunately, the editor of that paper was just as disappointed and surprised to see it there as the public was. Sometimes chages are made the main editor is unaware of until they come into work and see it on the stands.
My point was not trying to make excuses. It was to point out the negative bias.
The paper has some very good people working for it and does some very good work. Something you would never know reading this one-sided blog. Editors spend time every week going over the mistakes that make it into publication (Luckily, readers don't see the ones that don't).
Is there a flaw in the system? Maybe. I have worked at papers here and down south and can safely say many have flaws. To say the paper doesn't strive for accuracy is misinformed, especially coming from someone who claims to have worked here.
As far as giving Megan a job. Well, like I said editors don't just copy edit. I am willing to bet, under the same working conditions, the improvement would be negligible.
By the way, I am not Mike. I hope such poorly made assumptions don't make it into your professional copy.

Megan said...

Actually, I almost never write about Name of Paper Withheld these days. (That's not irony, by the way.) Check out the "journalism" section: it's mostly about national media. You'll also find a number of posts explaining why I do these.

If I have a bad relationship with your staff, it's news to me. I think they're lovely people who work hard and try their best. In fact, they often e-mail me privately about the things I write. They consistently impress me.

The appropriate response to this sort of criticism would be to thank me for caring about your newspaper enough to want you to be better.

Anonymous said...

I can't see anyone thanking you for sarcasm and insults.

Uh.. when you say Name of Paper Witheld and then have a picture of the paper with its name, it is ironic.

Seriously Frivolous said...

If you can't handle the work load, the six papers and all the work you say you have, then cut back on the number of publications or hire more people.
Or maybe, learn your your craft.

Anonymous said...

hahaha...well at least you're true to your handle, SF.

scribe said...

Sounds like this paper needs an ombudsman (ombudswoman?). Think how many new readers it's picked up as a result of this blog. Hee hee.

Anonymous said...

Of course the people at the paper should thank you, Megan. You're surely inspiring everyone to do better. The journalism world is so much better for your red pen.

Island Gal said...

The complaints from "Not Mike" about too much work as an excuse for poor journalism, bad grammer, etc. is pathetic. As others have said, "just fess up and move on".

I appreciate Megan's attempts to improve the local paper because it needs major improvements. Most people I know accept that the paper is full of bad grammer, inaccurate or incorrect information, and just plain bad journalism. I think that most of us don't think that there is anything that we can do about it. Nice to see someone trying, too bad it wasn't someone from the paper.

Okay, I'm ready for the nasty comments from "Not Mike" for daring to say something negative about the paper. Just to let you know, I don't have my feet up and I am not at work.

Anonymous said...

Sigh, no one is making excuses I was merely trying to add some perspective. Not once did I say we have too much work or use that to justify mistakes.
If you would like to believe those working at NNSL don't strive to put out the best papers possible week in and week out, well, you're entitled to the opinion, as misguided as it may be.
It is easy to flame the local paper on a blog and post the mistakes you find in the comfort of your homes. What is interesting, all the people who claim to be able to do our jobs better and have all the answers never answer the call when we advertise for jobs.
I see that the people who frequent this blog and the owner have no real interest in anything than bashing the paper and the people that work. Considering that fact this is really a pointless debate.
Oh, and Island Gal. I have no problem with people pointing out mistakes. In fact I welcome people's comments. I, however, do not appreciate when people are sarcastic or abusive.
I do share Megan's beliefs on journalism, depite what she may think. However, she, and many of you base your opinions without any real knowledge of how the paper operates. How is that not an example of bad journalism?

yellowknifer not at work said...

Does anyone else think it actually is ironic that the person who seems to care the most about the paper is the one who's being accused of hating it?

Jackie S. Quire said...

This may be a little late coming in the "commenting game" but I have the following question for Mr(s). "Not Mike"

In my personal experience, I have never seen as many glaring spelling mistakes and typos on a front page as what I have seen on NOPW's.

I will fully own up to having "no knowledge of the process and work involved in publishing six papers on a weekly basis."

But I DO know that many papers across this country publish daily. That's six papers a week (not all publish a Sunday edition).

So if they can match paper-for-paper the number of editions you print, how come they don't have the same problems with their front-page copy?