Thursday, March 25, 2010

Advertiser Strains to Headline Unremarkable Fact In Another Story that Models Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt

State: City must pay to move runways” is the headline on the Advertiser’s rail story today. It looks like a front-runner for the Unremarkable News of the Year award.

Isn’t it obvious the City will pay for rail-related costs? It’s a City project!

The story’s play is another example of a pattern that’s pretty clear. Advertiser news editors and reporters are going out of their way to cover rail with a “view with alarm” style of journalism that we've noted here repeatedly (keep reading below this post).

Unremarkable facts are played on page one in overly long stories that often quote only rail critics, as this one does. How hard could it be to find a pro-rail source within the City Council or administration to add balance?

And what are we to make of the Star-Bulletin? The paper’s rail coverage rarely approaches the Advertiser’s tone. Is that evidence of lazy journalism, or is it be a sign of professionalism?

Which brings us to Seinfeld’s puffy shirt. This isn’t the first time we've thought the Advertiser’s rail stories often seem overblown, as famously described by Elaine in a Seinfeld episode: “You’re all puffed up!”

Gather a few unremarkable facts, string them together and slap the story on page one, and that’s what you get.

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