Thursday, February 14, 2008

Good News For the Daily News, But Really Bad Copy

Item About All-Color Presses A Little Too Colorful

The Daily News in New York has never been shy about wearing its heart on its sleeve. You'll never see the journalistic equivalent of a shrinking violet on the copy desk.
That's not always for the better, especially when they feel Rupert Murdoch's flame lapping at their butts and they try to out-Post the Post.
So, a bit of hype about the News' eventual move to printing the entire paper in color by next year should be expected.
Not to be expected was the florid prose that I sure as hell nobody on the city desk actually wrote and was instead left to one of the newspaper's over-eager flacks.
The first two paragraphs set the sorry tone:

The Daily News is writing a new colorful chapter in its storied history with the announcement today that it will build America's most modern newspaper print center!
By the end of 2009, the Daily News will be produced in 100% color on new industry-leading presses, guaranteeing and reinforcing its future as the country's leading tabloid and enabling its millions of readers to enjoy the city's first major daily newspaper in full color.

Cue barf bag.

How hard would it have been for a News reporter to write even-handedly about this admittedly significant event without serving as a shill.?
I did it as a reporter for the Bergen Record some 19 years ago, when I was assigned to cover the opening of the paper's newest plant in Rockaway, N.J.
Did I feel a little weird interviewing publisher Mac Borg about his new baby? Did he seem a bit bemused that someone from his paper was doing something besides offering hearty congratulations? Yes, on both accounts.
But I covered the event like I would any other story, nor would it have been expected or accepted that I would do otherwise.
Then again, Mort Zuckerman's ego, from all I can gather, is considerably more out-sized than Borg, not exactly the meekest of men. Amid all the hoopla, Zuckerman was too busy patting himself on the back to sanction putting real news in The News.

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