Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Delta Doozy?

Why You Need to Check Your Quotes Before Hitting the Send Button

I caught up to a nice story on the USA Today "Today in the Sky" blog about the retirement of Delta's senior pilot who, among his many accomplishments, never missed a day of work in 45 years at the airline. The blog post was actually an AP dispatch, which was rewritten from a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But this human-interest slice of life about how Cal Flanigan got to live his dream is muddied by a quote that is questionable at best. Questionable in that it's hard to believe that the speaker actually meant to say what he said if he said it that way at all. Questionable in that the reporter did not challenge him about what he said. And questionable that the AP and, by extension, USA Today, repurposed it verbatim.

Flanigan is “very humble — he epitomizes the principles of servant leadership,” the AJC quotes Delta senior VP of flight operations Steve Dickson as saying.

Servant? The implications of that word are especially troubling, given that Flanigan happens to be black and worked for an airline based in a city with a troubled civil-rights history. Yet, it was an airline that also gave him a shot in the cockpit in 1976, after he came through the ranks as a mechanic.

A guy like Flanigan, who's logged more than 12.5 million miles and flown to six continents would never be mistaken for a servant. Delta CEO Richard Anderson called Flanigan a "hero of mine." In other words, not a servant.

Because of that, I find it hard to believe Dickson said what he is quoted as saying. Let's swap out servant for "service," and you have a quote that's not only better, but probably more accurate. Either way, dicey words should prompt red flags, which at least one reporter and several editors somehow ignored.

Don't Forget About Me, NYT Paywall

How Not To Be Annoying While Monetizing Your Website

It's one thing to have a paywall on your website. It's another to be obnoxious about that.

So it has become with The New York Times. When I have logged on for the first time over the last three days, it kindly but firmly tells me I have reached my free article limit. Only thing: I haven't.

I have been a Times print subscriber going on a bajillion years now, so I have unlimited access to every friggin' thing the paper has published. So, periodically it forgets about my vaunted status and has me sign in again. No big whoop, except now it's having a senior moment on a regular basis. I log in and check the "remember me" box. Except it doesn't.

Look, I know the Times needs all the money it can lay its mitts on nowadays, especially when that fire sale of the Boston Globe has failed to ignite much interest from the deep-pocketed set. In the meantime, give props to your most-loyal peeps and don't hassle them on the home page.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Sports Illustrated Slams Sports Illustrated (Sort Of)

Alyssa Miller Swimsuit Issue Kerfuffle Makes It to SI.com

 Admittedly, I'm no expert about how external links populate websites. But you have to think that someone on a host site is at least minding the store to see what winds up on the home page.

That crossed my mind this morning while scrolling through the baseball news in the Truth & Rumors section on SportsIllustrated.com. As is the norm on innumerable sites, in addition to SI content, there is also an "Around the Web" section at the bottom of blog posts. Attached to one was a link from TheGloss.com, a cheeky blog that purports to prove that "wit and sophistication go together like oysters and champagne. You’ll never find a “10 Ways to Please Your Man” article on The Gloss; we would rather debate everything from Lagerfeld to 'cute' jealousy."


The item in question was about how swimsuit issue Alyssa Miller threw up and was forced to wax it all (literally) because she was covered in body paint for a shoot that lasted 15 hours.

So, not a big biggie, although Miller might have disagreed after the wax job and having her body painted, um, delicately. Still, it's one of those incidents that don't reflect well on the SI brand. and the type of post that never should have made it onto SI.com, however inconspicuous it might have been.