Cheers and Regards for the Week of October 11, 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 stuffed animals filled with drugs you’re transporting across state lines; 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 PBS’ Media Shift blog for allowing the odd-looking fellows who run to present their defense after they bristled at being called a “content farm” in an earlier piece. Interviewer Mark Glaser doesn’t go easy on them, though, and forces them to prove why they shouldn’t be lumped in with other content farms. Whether they do that or not is left up to the reader. (MW)

to The Jewish Standard in New Jersey for vowing to never, never ever again run a marriage announcement for a same-sex couple, after a group of Orthodox readers complained that it “caused them pain.” A brief look at reader response to this move suggests that, whatever their feelings on same-sex marriage, the Standard’s readers are not the least bit happy about a paper that is supposed to be covering the entire Jewish community censoring themselves in order to placate just one group. (DW)

A very mild CHEERS to the same paper for walking back its decision to stop publishing such announcements. It never should have happened to begin with, and they haven’t completely reversed the terrible policy yet, but at least they acknowledged the mistake. (KL & MW)

REGARDS to MarketWatch for publishing this terribly inane column supposing that John Lennon would have used Twitter if he was alive today. There’s more to writing a column than looking at a calendar, noticing it’s the anniversary of something, and shoehorning social media in with it. (MW)

CHEERS to the NYTPicker blog for picking up on one of print media’s biggest crutches: Go-to sources who will always support your story’s thesis in a neatly packaged quote. In this case, it’s The New York Times’ use of Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson, who’s spoken to 78 different Times reporters over the last 20 years or so. But without him, how will people believe people really eat spaghetti tacos? (Full disclosure: I used to talk to the same three political science professors at least once every two weeks when I was a government reporter.) (MW)

REGARDS to Lowell, Mass. radio station WCAP for charging candidates $490 for a 25-minute interview segment. The station’s owner seems to think the practice creates a “level playing field” because it’s so hard to give free time to all the candidates. A “level playing field” where only candidates with money get to say anything is pretty representative of the American political apparatus, we must say. (MW)

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