pr people suck

Attention, PR people: there’s no easier way to get me royally pissed off than to be condescending to me.
“Do you cover education a lot?” she said in a tone usually reserved for telling four-year-olds about why leaves fall off trees in the winter. Yep, that would be my job. “Have you ever heard of [the flak’s extremely prominent group, heard of by most 12-year-olds]?” Yep, dipshit, I’ve interviewed your boss a few times. “When I say ‘vouchers,’ do you understand what I’m talking about? Have you heard that term before?” You bet, you empty-headed fool. When I say ‘too stupid to tie your shoes,’ do you understand what I’m talking about? “Do you know what I mean when I say ‘high-stakes testing‘?” “You probably don’t know this, but teachers don’t make very much money.” Etc., etc., etc. I kept waiting for her to gently let me know the sun rises in the east, or that there’s this fellow named Bush who’s president.
There are some wonderful PR folks out there, of course — intelligent, interested in their subject, with a good sense of what makes news and what doesn’t. But any reporter with more than a week on the job knows that they make up a small percentage of the field. Most are bubble-skulled idiots who know how to dress up real nice for the cameras but couldn’t explain a complex issue if their 401(k) depended on it. They’re the folks who stumbled into writing press releases because they flunked News Writing 101 in college.
If you’re brilliant — a scientist, an author, a professor — you can get away with being condescending to me. If you’re talking to me about a subject I know nothing about, you can (sometimes) get away with being condescending to me. If you’re a 22-year-old pretty-faced moron who doesn’t know her Manolo Blahniks from a hole in the ground, shut the fuck up and transfer me to someone with a clue.

social studies story, mefi link, neighbor leaves town

Here’s my story — which they completely overplayed in today’s paper, not that I’m complaining — about social studies dragging down school ratings.
I really didn’t mean to make Metafilter all weepy.
If you’re looking for a place to live near downtown Dallas, my neighbor’s moving out today. I won’t lie: he won’t be missed. Dumb as a box of rocks, annoying, deeply uninteresting at every level. (Mystery Of Life #3,267: He’s unattractive, stupid, unemployed, completely without charm — but has the hottest damned girlfriend in the building.) It’s an okay apartment, though, with a great location. With him gone, I officially have no neighbors, which means I can play bad guitar as loudly as I want at 2 a.m. That’s good for no one.

espn mag story on uab rapes, usa today

When ESPN The Magazine debuted a couple years ago, it was a joke — all flash and infographics, no substance. It’s remarkably how much they’ve turned it around; they’re even better than SI some weeks. The old ESPN The Magazine wouldn’t have been capable of serious magazine journalism like this.
(Maybe there’s a lesson in there about journalism style and substance. USA Today, the legendary McPaper, has also turned it around in the last few years — and, perhaps not coincidentally, finally become profitable. Their Middle East coverage, for instance, has been stellar. Best line from that story linked above: “Former USA Today editor John Quinn once joked that the paper had become famous for ‘bringing new depth to the definition of shallow’ and that if it ever won a Pulitzer Prize, it would be for ‘best investigative paragraph.'”)

deboer on millie

Roberta deBoer, The Blade’s city columnist, gives her take on Millie — and it’s surprisingly acerbic. Truthful, but acerbic.
Back when ABC ran a regular weekly feature that Peter Jennings introduced as the Person of the Week, Millie graced that show in a segment we all clustered around newsroom TVs to watch. When it ended, I wished out loud I could have met the sweet old lady they depicted, because whoever it was, it wasn

ray cromley, 91yo pentagon reporter

I’d like to thank Kim for emailing a link to this story with this note: This is your destiny. (For those too bored to click, it’s a story about a 91-year-old reporter who “covers” the Pentagon. Problem is, he hasn’t written a story in six years. Just keeps showing up to work, day in, day out. “Mr. Cromley has a cubicle in the Pentagon press room outfitted with an old Royal typewriter without a ribbon, a 1971 World Almanac and 17 toothbrushes in a plastic cup.”)