Cheers and Regards for the Week of July 12, 2010

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 how you managed to eat through a bank vault; 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 the Cleveland Plain Dealer for its stunning front page from the morning after LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. It tells the whole story in one image, a one-word headline and some tiny text, showing the real impact James’ decision to leave will have on a city that’s had it rough the past several years. (MW)

REGARDS to CNN for firing its Middle Eastern affairs editor over one tweet. Certainly, Octavia Nasr could have done a better job of explaining herself, and saying she had “respect” for a recently deceased Hezbollah leader who said some terrible things about Israel was a very bad choice of words, but an outright firing still seems like an overreaction to a basic foot-in-mouth incident. (MW)

CHEERS to entertainment blog The Wrap for its piece on content farms and how they’re flooding the web with cheap, first-draft-like articles and paying writers about 25 bucks per story. That’s marginally less than someone would make stringing for a newspaper! (MW)

REGARDS to the AP for, in an article about U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro’s recent ruling that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, choosing a comment from the Traditional Values Coalition spokes-person Andrea Lafferty in the name of “balance.” The Traditional Values Coalition, it should be noted, has been certified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, making them about as authoritative and unbiased a source for quotes on gay rights issues as the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is on affirmative action. (DW)

CHEERS to a group of bloggers at ScienceBlogs for taking a stand against having their work put on the same level as a corporate advertising blog. A number of bloggers for the site revolted after news of a sponsored PepsiCo blog broke, and ScienceBlogs (thankfully) dropped the idea later. Now posts such as “Mountain Dew: Too Extremely Delicious?” will have to live only in our minds. (MW)

REGARDS to Boston Herald columnist being the headlining draw at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party. It’s one thing for a prominent journalist to have an opinion and express it publicly; it’s another thing to use that persona to build up politicians’ war chests. (MW)

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