Cheers and Regards for the Week of July 5, 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 the knock-off Rolexes you were selling at the sheriff’s office; 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 AP for stepping up with new staff and dedicated positions to cover the crisis in the gulf. Now if they could just take the same approach to all the other news that’s going on in the world. (MW)

REGARDS to Boing-Boing, which has, on the basis of a few comments on their site and a very biased reading of an IM chat log, decided to speculate on the gender identity of PFC Bradley Manning, now identified as the person responsible for leaking classified documents regarding the killing of civilians by U.S. soldiers in Iraq to Wikileaks, and further speculates that Manning’s decision to leak the documents may have been caused by emotional instability related to gender transitioning. At the best of times, this kind of speculation is baseless and not at all germane to Manning’s case. But when gay and lesbian soldiers are working to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule, suggesting that a high profile violator of military code may have been motivated in part because they might be transgendered seems highly irresponsible. (We were going to post this one last week, but then the McChrystal thing blew up.) (DW)

CHEERS to my former employer, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, for picking a real journalist as its new executive editor. J. Todd Foster, former editor of the Bristol Herald Courier led that paper to a well-deserved Pulitzer earlier this year and he’ll likely do well at the TFP. (MW)

REGARDS to the LA Times for disguising an ad for the King Kong ride at Universal Studios as a news section. Many confused Angelenos were found frantic in the streets over the supposed giant ape attack, or so we imagine. (MW)

CHEERS to the researchers at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and some journalists who read the report to look back at the shaky rhetoric commonly used to discuss waterboarding in the last decade. For more than 70 years, reporters regularly called the practice torture. Then from 2002 to 2008, that just plain stopped. That First Amendment sure did us a lot of good, didn’t it? (MW)

REGARDS to Gannett for trying to make online news profitable with an old model. We tried the pay walls at least a decade ago, folks, and it just didn’t work. Time to think of something different. And while we’re at it, two bucks for a day pass to a Gannett news site? Will anybody pay that? (MW)

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