Monday, July 31, 2006

Interesting electronic developments

In a not-so-surprising recent development, people are now apparently PROPOSING on newspaper Web sites.

You've got to be kidding me, right? Take a look. This poor sap, with the "I took my own photo by placing my new digital camera on the bookshelf and ran into the kitchen" professional-type photo, lays his pride on the line with this little tidbit. Perhaps worse, the woman he's proposing to allegedly works at the newspaper.

This Web site, one of my Newspaper's "competitors" is known for its trashy blogs, questionable "news" stories and other senseless drivel.

Their reporters commonly pick fights with readers, and you can count on their reporters posting at least 8 pet stories a week.

It's hardly news.

But this staggering Web proposal takes the cake.

I hope she says "NO." Crash and burn, baby.

This is the deal

Every once in a while, someone who I went to grad school with sends out an email to a group of folks, usually sending along a link to a journalism-related story or sometimes one he or she wrote for the paper. Then commences a string of back and forth replies (it once reached 115), that usually still involves the original topic, but often digresses into a litany of random thoughts.

A recent one was when CK sent out a link to a Philadelphia Inquirer column about the necessary absurdity of covering the heat. She had written a similar story, as had several in the email chain, and a conversation ensued about how many of us had been writing these ridiculous breaking-news-it's-hot-outside stories.

In my first job out of college, I covered cops and fire for a small daily paper in a county with few crimes or fires. On really hot days - or really cold days, or days with a lot of snow, or after a major rainstorm - my editor would walk out of his office, with his arm crossed and a pensive frown on his face. He'd scan the newsroom (which was puny at four news reporters and an intern), looking for who would write the weather story. We knew it. We knew the look. I would quickly grab the phone receiver and begin talking to the dial tone, as if I was tracking down a hot tip. The government reporter would run to the bathroom; the education reporter always seemed to be strangely missing, and I think he was literally hiding under his desk. Whoever had to do the story would inevitably whine something along the lines of "But I did it last time after that strange storm."

I guess writing these kind of stories - whether about the heat or some other topic that makes you question your career choice - is all part of the job. And while not all of us are covering the weather beat for daily papers, there's a common feeling of understanding among us and we definitely think we have something to say about it.

So that was the idea behind this blog. A handful of us decided to get together in a single forum to write about the exciting world of journalism and our own places in it. We are all at different publications and stages in our career, but share the interest in the business and all the fun and baggage that comes with it. Here we plan to share stories, anecdotes, thoughts, conversation and whatever else transpires. So welcome and enjoy.