Friday, July 5, 2013

The Kansas City Star should apologize to its readers for disrespectful news decisions -- Paula Deen is apprently the second most important event in the world at noon today... click bait on a hook won't save journalism

I’m calling out the Kansas City Star here and now for bankruptcy of news judgment this morning. At 11:59 a.m., a story about Paula Deen was actually listed SECOND under “Latest News” on their opening Web page.

You read it right: Latest News.

Second under “Latest News” is certainly bad enough. With Kansas City erupting in violence of surprising variety and Egyptian troops firing on demonstrators, with a do-nothing congress and hairball legislatures on both sides of the state line rendering governance either dangerous or cockeyed, in a world struggling to cope with completely new viruses both real and virtual, and a universe of new threats to privacy in the name of security sprouting up like mushrooms after a rainy season, opening the Web page with Paula Deen is just the worst message this newspaper could send its readers about 1) what’s important in the world this morning, and 2) what the editors of this newspaper think is important in the world this morning.

If you are a reader of the Kansas City Star, you have been disrespected by this tripe.

And, tripe, it is. Not only is this a story about poor Paula Deen, a woman caught in the meat grinder of a 24-hour news cycle that has turned all of us into sick paparazzi, but it’s a story about Paula Deen being offered a publicity stunt deal by a porn outfit. Nothing happened here. Some bright public relations or marketing person saw an opportunity to send out a press release and get a little notice for his or her boss. That’s all. No action. Nothing. Probably didn’t even waste paper or stamp on the idea. Hacked out an official looking e-mail and sent it to every newspaper in the country with a single click. That’s it. A worm on a hook.

Now, don’t go to the story if you’re expecting something juicy. It’s a plastic worm -- dare I say? -- for a plastic world. (Yes, I did watch "Woodstock" yesterday…) There is no there, there. If you are looking for something salacious, you’ll be completely disappointed.

And, if you care about journalism as a profession at all, you’ll be sorely disappointed by the writer of this story who actually received a byline for a 10-paragraph, 124-word, brief. I use the word ‘story’ loosely. What is the story here? Search for it yourself. I mean, it isn’t even funny, let alone a story.

Oh, the writer was careful to include a few obvious puns about aprons, biscuits and butter – no reference to “The Last Tango in Paris,” unfortunately. None of it was delivered with any sort of wit, even juvenile. I’d be shocked if she spent more than five minutes knocking it out on the computer.

Apparently, her editor spent less time considering whether to publish it, and where to publish it.

The writer and her editors, and the newspaper as an entity, owe their readers an apology. They might as well apologize to Paula Deen in the process because she is, after all, a real human being, not just headline type or pixels in a mug shot. Ugh!


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