Tuesday, February 3, 2009

If it matters to Oregonians . . .

Newsweek examines the story of why you read about Sam Adams in Willamette Week, and not . . . uhm . . . elsewhere.

The article includes speculation by a media ethics consultant from the Poynter Institute as to why the Oregonian got scooped:

[T]he issue may have more to do with the culture at The Oregonian. The paper has built its reputation on thoughtful, narrative coverage, which is a rare and valuable kind of journalism, she says, but it doesn't lend itself well to digging up sex scandals.

I don't know what kind of sex reporting the Poynter Institute keeps in its library, but in my experience the narrative style works for it just fine.

Nigel Jaquiss makes a more plausible argument:

But Jaquiss views [the argument that the O was hamstrung by internal debates about reporting the private lives of public figures] as a copout, an overly simple explanation for a problem that is more about one-newspaper towns being a little too cozy with local power brokers.

My favorite line from the article is this back-handed compliment to Jaquiss from the O's editor, Sandy Rowe:

Nigel has built quite a reputation with sex scandal stories, and deservedly so. He is dogged and very good at that genre.

You can almost hear the rustle of her level-3 HazMat suit, protecting her from contamination by any fluids from "that genre."

(Hat tip to Anne for the link and the title.)

(Cross-posted at Loaded Orygun.)


scrutatrix said...

"[L]evel-3 HazMat suit".


Nothstine said...

Everything I know about personal fluid protection I learned from Special Agent Dana Scully.