Today's news next week sometime


Sometimes I don't get around to writing about something for a week or so after it happens. I have good excuses -- a full-time job, family responsibilities, civic involvement. This blog is not a paying gig: Although some donors (four, actually) have contributed enough to pay the hosting bills for a couple of years, it isn't so much I could quit my job and do this full-time.

The Whirled has no such excuse -- they're paid to cover the news -- and yet they frequently defer stories on City Council committee or regular meetings until the next Saturday. This last Saturday they published a story about a Council meeting that had occurred nine days earlier. (Jump page is here.)

In the past I've been told that even if the reporter files the full story the night of the Council meeting, but it's often drastically cut short or omitted entirely by the editors for space reasons.

That excuse made sense when newspapers were merely ink on paper, but with unlimited space available on the web, it no longer holds water. Why not provide the full story when it's filed, as a "web extra", thus adding value for your subscribers? An Internet news site has the ability to marry the immediacy of radio or television -- "news when it breaks" -- with the detail that only the written word can offer.

The story itself is a pretty fair explanation of the issues surrounding the zoning protest petition. The only glaring omission is a list of the "city officials" who invalidated the 71st & Harvard petition -- a list that would have to include INCOG staff, City Attorney's office staff, and the six city councilors (Baker, Justis, Neal, Sullivan, Patrick, Williams) who voted to accept INCOG's invalidation. It's odd, though, that the Whirled would delay running it, and then wait until the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, a day when not as many people are reading the paper, I suspect.

The highlight of the story was news that Mayor LaFortune had signed the 71st & Harvard rezoning, but his signature was covered with correction fluid (no brand specified), and Deputy Mayor Steve Sewell's signature was superimposed on it. To be fair, the Mayor has taken ultimate responsibility for approving the rezoning in radio interviews, even though it's his deputy's signature. But the use of White Out or Liquid Paper on an official signature provides opens a window onto the decision-making process on the 11th Floor of City Hall. (And I wonder if a signature over a whited-out signature is valid. I'm pretty sure you couldn't do that on your closing documents when you buy a house.) When did the Mayor first sign the document? When was it whited out? Who decided to white it out? When was it signed by Sewell? What brand of fluid was it? Inquiring minds want to know.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 1, 2003 12:17 AM.

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