Monthly Archives: March 2009

HOWLS! Deodorant and libraries get equal coverage

library_books• Is a junkie’s crime newsworthy?

• Libraries warrant more coverage. Continue reading


What is Local? On Fox29, it’s From Cape May to Detroit.

fox032409bdWhat does Fox29 provide in their local newscasts?

Well, on March 24, at 10:00 pm, they ran stories from the Jersey Shore, Washington DC, Pittsburgh and Detroit. They had crashing cars, sinking boats, arsonists, rescued pigs and Jeff Cole. Click on the map to learn about the stories and their locations.

HOOTS! Fishing for numbers

Fishing Boat Sinks• Breaking news as feature?

• What budget numbers really mean. Continue reading

HOOT! for Pew but HOWL! for the Inquirer.

rendellackermanGovernor Ed Rendell wanted to lease Pennsylavnia’s turnpike system to a private company last year. He said the lease would earn $1 billion per year that would fund the state’s transportation projects.

Turns out that the plan was a dud. Long after the state legislature rejected the proposal, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that – had the plan been implemented – the state would have lost money last year.

It is exactly this kind of reporting that we need from our newspapers. We need people who will act on behalf of the people, investigating those who are acting on behalf of the people. This is watchdog stuff, what we have relied upon newspapers for for decades.

Oh, except the information from this story, again, comes from a non-profit organization, the Pew Center on the States. The Inquirer is simply reporting the facts that Pew discovered.

Do we really need newspapers if other organizations are performing the watchdog role?

Best of Sweeps? When in Doubt, Go Bikini.

bikiniWe have very little to say about this story except, “Wow.”

Have you seen a sweeps season story that can top that? Let us know –

Today’s News From a Few Days Ago?

20090319_dn_g1sixn19sOh, Philadelphia Inquirer. Give us a reason to need you. Please.

Today’s Inquirer provides us with the Sixers score against the Lakers.

From two days ago.

Really? A game story that arrives on people’s doorsteps more than 36 hours after the game? Anyone who cares about the game already knows the score.


A few days ago, Inquirer columnist Michael Smerconish boasted about how the region needs newspapers, as newspapers (specifically the Inquirer) are the way the citizens learn about deeper stories in the region. He cited the Inquirer’s early reporting on now convicted, former state senator Vince Fumo:

“Without their investigative reporting, the fate of one of the most powerful politicians in Harrisburg might still be in his own hands,” he penned.

Two days after Smerconish lauds the Inquirer’s investigative instincts, the paper runs a great story about six public offices in the city that, combined, spend about $36 million annually, yet they are centers of nepotism, patronage jobs and missing money ($17 million in one department).

Great story … except for the fact that the Inquirer didn’t do any investigating. Their entire story was based upon a study by the government watchdog group, the Committee of Seventy.

Newspapers are still trying to understand how to use the Internet, and how to allocate their resources.

The Internet is a great place to update fans on sports scores. The printed paper should provide depth, like the story on inefficient public offices. But it should be newspapers digging into those stories, not public interest groups.

What is Local?

pdn022509lanceTUJR staffer Lance Duroni studied the stories in the Philadelphia Daily News from February 25, 2009 as part of our ongoing look at what the Philly media consider important stories for their audiences.

Click on the image to learn about the stories and their locations.