Cheers and Regards for the Week of March 22

If you ever get an e-mail from a journalist, there’s one portion of it you should pay attention to more than any other. No, it’s not the part where they’re asking you about all those dogs you’ve got wrestling in your basement; it’s the sign-off.

If it’s “Cheers,” you’re cool. You did OK. If it’s “Regards,” you pissed somebody off, and you better figure out how to fix things, quick.

We apply those same tenets here, every week.

CHEERS to NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard, who in a blog post explains NPR’s choice in terminology on stories about abortion (“pro-choice,” “pro-life”). She found that NPR stand virtually alone among national news organizations, who by now have largely shifted to “pro-” and “anti-abortion rights.” It’s refreshing to see an exploration of nuance in a debate often characterized by apocalyptic vitriol.

REGARDS to the Associated Press who, in a story about researchers who managed to create an “invisibility cloak” that covered a bump in gold a mere .00004 inches high, invokes the number one “writing about science” cliché by mentioning a pop culture phenomenon (Harry Potter) in the headline and the lede.

CHEERS to Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera for artfully relaying his mixed reactions to a promotional event for the video game True Crime. Ben’s up front about his reservations and about the fact that the promotion was effective. Video gamers reacted about like you’d expect. (DL)

REGARDS to Regent/Here Media, owner of GLBT magazines Out and The Advocate, for not paying its freelancers. Not paying your writers is one of the great sins of journalism, second perhaps only to plagiarism.

CHEERS to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who a year ago became an online-only publication. They’re not yet turning a profit, but Web traffic is high and Hearst Seattle Media General Manager Pat Balles is optimistic about the Intelligencer‘s future. The move also had a positive effect on its former partner, the Seattle Times.

REGARDS to the San Francisco Chronicle for breathlessly reporting on the completely bogus “pharm party” phenomenon. It seems there will always be a subset of adults who are convinced teenagers are having a way better time of adolescence than they did.

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