Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Wed, Apr 05 2006

The press against the press

Have you been paying attention to the Anthony Pellicano Web Links Blog? I thought the post on March 27 was interesting. The author questioned the timing of a difficulty with their blog coming just after their mention of the Los Angeles Times' anemic coverage of Mr. Pellicano's case.

I don't know anything about the blog difficulties, but I grew up in a mostly "small pond", so I know a wee bit about small-town politics and the inescapable mixing of politics with local media, law enforcement, judicial personalities and the after-hours business crowd. The problem with a big-pond newspaper like the Los Angeles Times is that it's so tied up with so many people in so many different ways that it inadvertently becomes a barometer as much as a timeline of events. A hot story can appear to begin like any other story, but the people being written about in the story often have national—even international—associations and influences. So an editorial slant that changes horses in midstream makes us believe there must be something that even the newspaper executives didn't realize they were getting into the middle of when they began. Pressure may come to them from people they didn't even know had any interest in the story to begin with. And we readers become even more suspicious when we see things being left out of a story's coverage in an age when instant communication would their inclusion very easy.

It all makes me wonder about the saying that "no news is good news". It may turn out to be good only for those who are trying to keep something quiet. And news writers and editors—when they get leaned on—rarely keep doing things in exactly the same way they've been doing them. They either back off or they work that much harder to make a story stand out. If we're paying attention, a change in coverage is as much of a story as the story itself.

posted at: 10:01 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry



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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!