Cheers and Regards for the Week of September 6, 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 rhinos who escaped from 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 the AP and New York Times for their new policies on attribution and anonymous sources, respectively. As the largest news organization in the world, it’s good that the AP is making a concerted effort to give credit to other news sources — be they in print or online — who originate a story. Likewise, the Times is right to ditch phrases like “he/she was not authorized to speak” for more specific reasons as to why sources are total pussies.

REGARDS to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City for publishing a PR guy’s column without identifying him as a PR guy. The byline simply said “Michael Purdy: Special to the Deseret News” even though Purdy is spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

CHEERS to New York University Professor Jay Rosen for saying, in no uncertain terms, that the current print-driven newspaper business model is unsustainable. He sees no evidence that young people “picking up the print habit” because there is none.

REGARDS to The Economist‘s Democracy in America blog for moving on with its prepared line of questioning rather than pressing Rosen to suggest some ways newspapers could conceivably sustain themselves without relying on print advertising.

CHEERS to Knoxville News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy for questioning why one of his reporters got preferential treatment. University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley “rewarded” six reporters, including one from the News Sentinel, by inviting them to (thereby barring others from) a mock game. Here’s hoping McElroy will take it to the next level next time Dooley looks to reward certain reporters by pulling his reporter out unless everyone gets access.

REGARDS to Washington Post columnist Mike Wise for posting a made-up story on Twitter about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the sake of proving an apparent point. That point? That “anybody will print anything.” The sound you’re now hearing is my brain tying itself into a knot. (A mini-cheers to the Post for suspending Wise over essentially fabricating a story.)

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