Opinion: Newsroom suffers Cheetos envy

A week or so ago, our fearless leader Bob wrote a story about Gannett Inc., the parent company of the Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ), entering the murky shadow land between journalism and marketing. It prompted a comment from Beryl Love, Executive Editor of the RGJ, who in an otherwise dignified response, dropped this little gem:

…”Big J” journalism is not cheap. It takes time. It requires a good attorney on retainer. And it can’t be done by a blogger sitting in his basement next to a bowl of Cheetos.

Here we go again. I thought we had all moved beyond this sort of thing. Apparently not.

For the record, I don’t really care what the definition of journalist is, or whether or not I qualify as being one. It’s interesting to hear differing views about it; some say yes, some say no, and some say sort-a, kind-a, maybe, but only under certain circumstances. And that’s just among my friends. That’s fine. I’m in the writing universe somewhere, you’ll just have to look around.

Having been a reader for many years, I find the entire subject of journalistic ethics somewhat laughable ‘To thine own self, be true’ is the only ethic I know of any consequence. Let’s face it, if “Big J” journalists were honest, we’d see stories similar to this one at least once in a while.

Nothing Much Happened Today
By the staff:
Dateline Reno – Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. If you spent the day in your basement eating Cheetos and writing a blog post, you really didn’t miss anything. Don’t think so? Check our newspaper’s Twitter feed. See that? Nothing. It’s pathetic. We spent all day trying to find something interesting to write about, but there really just wasn’t anything.

Sure, there was a brush fire outside of town. The Fire Department put it out before we got there. They were already stowing their equipment and passing around a bag of Cheetos when we pulled up. The only thing that got burned was sagebrush. It’ll grow back. If it doesn’t, would you notice? We didn’t think so.

In various places around town, some government workers got together and had meetings. There are always Cheetos there, but they never let us have any. “Official use only,“ they say. Bastards.

In one meeting we went to they had previously asked for “public comment.” That was a mistake. Some lady came in and started yammering on and on about how they never do anything but “sit around on their big, fat butts eating Cheetos.” We agree, but do you really want to hear about it? We didn’t think so.

The weather was nice, but since you stepped outside to get the paper, you were probably already aware of that.

Nobody got arrested today, but a few people got pulled over for speeding. One guy in particular we know of was pretty upset about it. After the cop handed him the ticket and walked back to the car, the guy called him a “(expletive deleted)ing (expletive deleted)hole,” but not loud enough for the cop to hear him. That was a close one. We almost had something interesting to write about.

We spent most of the day hanging around the newsroom reading wire copy, making paper clip chains, and wishing we were at home eating Cheetos. Our boss won’t let us eat them at work. He can be a real jerk about it, too. It’s like it’s some sort of power trip, or something.

Maybe something newsworthy will happen tomorrow and we‘ll have something interesting to write about. If not, we’ll just rearrange some words on the press releases and wire copy, call them our own, and leave that on your porch. It’s not like we haven’t done it before. Did you notice? We didn’t think so.

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