Cheers and Regards for the Week of November 22, 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 that entire live turkey you ate; 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 and REGARDS to Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell for announcing he would leave the company behind at the end of its bankruptcy proceeings. Regards for all the obvious reasons: For buying the company using its employees’ retirement funds, for publicly stating that he wasn’t going to invest any of his own financial well-being into the compnay, for filling the company’s executive offices with radio jocks who made it into an uncomfortable and aggressive place to work. Cheers for finally ending the torture and letting people who actually care about the Tribune and its legacy to pick up the pieces.

CHEERS to the National Sports Journalism Center for trying to drag editors into the late 20th Century by informing them that a link isn’t a tacit advertisement. Readers expect links now, and you have to give them to them.

REGARDS to Gawker Media founder Nick Denton for laughing off any contention that his ring of blogs shouldn’t participate in checkbook journalism. He’s not altogether wrong to point out that all sources have an agenda — paid or not — but aren’t people a lot more likely to just make shit up if there’s a paycheck involved?

CHEERS to PBS ombudsman Michael Getler for wagging his finger at the producers of the award ceremony for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor for editing Tina Fey’s comments about Sarah Palin. The producers said that portion of Fey’s acceptance speech was cut for time, but wouldn’t that part of the speech be the most important, considering how well known Fey is for lampooning Palin?

REGARDS to the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis for forcing a local school’s paper to pull an editorial criticizing an anti-gay DVD from its website. The editorial was well-written, expressed its viewpoint well and maintained an air of respect. So the only thing we can figure is the church got mad because some kids didn’t like their gay hating.

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