Monthly Archives: April 2010

A Hoot! for Recognizing that the Media Obsession With Tiger Isn’t Healthy.

Early this year, I gave John Gonzalez a pretty hard time about one of his “columns.” Today, I am going to give him some love – on a piece he wrote about Tiger Woods, no less.

In Monday’s Inquirer, Gonzo explored the reception Woods received at the Augusta National Golf Club, home to the Masters. He opens the piece by noting the reverent manner in which Augusta’s members treat the golf course, noting that one section of the course (holes 11, 12 and 13) is referred to as Amen Corner, and many simply describe the course as “heaven.”

He then segues into the holier-than-thou treatment Woods has received from fans and media, which Gonzo believes, “Says as much about us as it does about him. Probably more.” Continue reading


A Hoot! For Treating the Tea-Baggers Fairly.

I withhold praise, I do. But Holly Otterbein’s cover story about the Tea Party in this week’s City Paper is admirable. Otterbein basically sets out to answer this question: What does the Tea Party look like in Philadelphia? Not in the exurbs of the city, but in the city itself.

The feature largely tags along with Diana Reimer, a Tea Party organizer who is actually from Lansdale, but is active in the city of Philadelphia and organized last year’s April 15 tax day protest in Love Park.

Otterbein relays how Reimer found the Tea Party (feeling disenfranchised, looking for a voice, and finding a suddenly loud one that aligns with common misunderstandings about how the nation and economy function), and positions Reimer as a fairly sympathetic person, who made a few missteps that were poorly timed to the nation’s economic collapse. Continue reading

Congrats on the Pulitzer. But This One’s a Howl.

You hate to rain on anyone’s parade, especially when that parade is being held to applaud that person for winning print journalism’s highest honor.

But, unfortunately, newly minted Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wendy Ruderman of the Philadelphia Daily News is the author of my Howl for this week. Continue reading Leaves Trenton for the Wires: Howl! recently published a series of articles identifying potential weaknesses in the police’s handling of the Trenton case of an alleged gang rape of a 7-year-old girl.

The Associated Press articles published by detail claims that some of the alleged suspects may have helped the 7-year-old victim.  The articles also discuss possible police coercion of under-age suspects. Continue reading

Boring + No Flow + Appositive Phrases = Howl.

Last week, Inquirer writer Angela Couloumbis brought readers a story from the paper’s Harrisburg Bureau.  In this article, Couloumbis described a recent hearing at the Capitol concerning police beer raids of local bars.  The officers claimed the beers and kegs had not been registered and needed to be confiscated.  But bar owner Leight Maida testified that some of the beer had actually been registered and was simply mislabeled on official documents.  Whop-de-do.  Where’s the story?

The actual meat of the story – the fact that these bar raids are due to antiquated Pennsylvania state liquor laws-is revealed by Couloumbis early on, but not in an effective manner.  In fact, her set-up is just wrong: “The recent raids on three Philadelphia bars illustrate that Pennsylvania has ‘this crazy web of really chaotic, really dense laws that just don’t work,’ the bars’ owner testified at a Capitol hearing Tuesday.”

Eh.  Kind of weak. Continue reading

Calling a Pulitzer Winner “Barbie-doll fit?” Howl!

The Daily News is proud of its Pulitzer Prize winners, Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman. Proud enough to dedicate three stories and an ad page in last Tuesday’s paper to congratulating them.

And rightfully so.

The Pulitzer Prize is just about the most prestigious accolade a journalist can get, and the reporters’ series on police corruption had all the makings of a great, classic, old-fashioned newspaper investigation.

Unfortunately, Ronnie Polaneczky’s page 2 article, “In a league of their own,” has echoes of a less noble old-fashioned newspaper tradition. Continue reading

A Howl! for Listening to the Loudest Voice.

Jason Nark’s Daily News piece bothers me because it assumes that one person can transform a non-issue into something “newsworthy” by being a loudmouth.

Janine Giandomenico, a Burlington County mom, found out about a fashion show project at her son’s elementary school and lost it. The fashion show was to be centered around historical women’s clothing and asked everyone – including the boys in the class – to dress up. She complained until it was canceled. Continue reading