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Posts Tagged ‘Langley’

Story of the day: Matthew Claxton calls BS on ‘off the record’

March 10, 2011 1 comment

Today’s Ma Murray-nominated piece of community journalism comes via Langley Advance reporter/columnist Matthew Claxton. Matthew’s nominated for the columnist award. Any reporter will chuckle at one of the pieces he submitted: a tale about a talkative bureaucrat who tries to go off the record after the fact.

Did I say the word reporter when I left my message, when I talked to the receptionist? Possibly not. But I definitely named the newspaper I worked for. The bureaucrat also called me back, and our receptionist reflexively answers the phone by saying “Langley Advance, a Canwest company.” If you call a bakery, you expect to find bakers there, right?

My interview subject then informed me that everything he had just said was “off the record.” He seemed quite smug. As though he had just checkmated me. Oh, no. It doesn’t work like that.

There is no magic reset button when you are talking to a reporter. Saying something is off the record, after a 15-minute conversation, carries about as much weight as seven-year-olds shouting “Jinx!” or “Punchbuggy!” in the back seat of a mini-van.

How to put “media specialists” out of business

March 7, 2011 Comments off

I haven’t had time to do a roundup this weekend, so this will have to suffice.

In a column in the Langley Advance, Roxanne Hooper urges those considering shelling out $40 to learn how to get the attention of reporters not to forget about the importance of advertising in newspapers.

During Hulnick’s session, she vows to teach Langley business operators the best seven steps to productive a media relationship. She’s called it Getting Your Story Told: Making the Most of Media Opportunities.

“Small business owners all face the same facts when it comes to promoting their business,” she says, daring to suggest that publicity is far less expensive and more beneficial than advertising.

And if that wasn’t enough to get my blood boiling, Hulnick claims: “You can save thousands of dollars in advertising expense if you can get reporters interested in covering your small business. But that’s not an easy thing to do.”

At least from reading through this preliminary materials, I have to disagree with Hulnick.

She paints a picture for businesses to cut their advertising budget and guaranteed community exposure. She suggests, instead, that businesses place all their hopes on a reporter (like me – in fact, it is me) who will hear or read about your story, determine it has merit, and allot space in the paper.

While Roxanne may disagree and it may be unspeakable inside a newspaper’s offices, I’ve gotta say that the media person is probably right. If you can get someone to cover your business, that is an opportunity not to be missed. I, for one, completely ignore advertisements in papers. Sorry, but it’s the truth. However, if you can get your business’s name in the editorial font, you can get my attention.

That said, it should be infuriatingly hard to get your business’s name into a newspaper’s editorial space. Only the most unique businesses—I’m talking something on the scale of an artist who tattoos clients while skydiving—should get covered. For the rest, advertising should be the only option.

Unfortunately, media specialists thrive on reporters and newspapers willing to cover banks that change locations and the like. If we really want to put them out of business and help the ad salespeople, it would be best to look after our own house first.

Elsewhere, Revelstoke Times-Review editor Aaron Orlando digs back into the Times-Review’s archives to look into a controversy surrounding a meteorite that was found near Revelstoke some 45 years ago (and which may, or may not, have links to extra-terrestrial life). Ironically, the meteor was first reported in the Times-Review on April Fool’s Day. It’s a fascinating story, but impossible to sum up in 30 words so I won’t try.

The Columbia Valley Pioneer, which I came across the other day because they’re hiring a reporter, has a terrific website that is simple but absolutely beautiful. The Cheers and Jeers sidebar which changes each time you visit the page is a highlight.

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This blog had more visitors in February than any previous months. It’s still a one man show, though, so any help would be great. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll shamefully update the post.

We’re making inroads into our census of B.C. community newspapers, but there are still a lot of blanks in the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. How many journalists work at your paper? How often do you come out? Who’s your publisher? Participation is free! The benefits unlimited! The exclamation points boundless!

Mr. Bateman goes to city hall (updated w/ comment from Bob)

December 21, 2010 1 comment

Jordan Bateman

UPDATE: Bob’s chimed in with his own comment. See the bottom of this post.

One of the more interesting ongoing reads is Langley Advance editor Bob Groeneveld‘s blogged thoughts on Langley Township councillor Jordan Bateman.

I bolded Bateman’s name, you see, because he used to be a reporter at the Advance, working under Bob. (New J-lust stylebook policy: on first reference, all current or past community journalists, bolded; on second reference, last name for politicians/regular folks/ex-journalists, first name for practicing journalists.)

Here’s most of Bateman’s profile from his councillor’s website:

Jordan is a trained journalist and writer, having graduated from Langara College’s journalism school in 1996.

He has operated his own successful small business since 2002, an editing, writing, and ghostwriting firm called Outlawed Wonderings Media Group. Outlawed has done projects for many charity, music, Internet, political, and religious speakers and groups.

Before starting Outlawed, Jordan worked for six years with the Langley Advance newspaper, covering Township Hall and other political issues. He has also blogged on current events at Langley Politics Dotcom for more than six years.

In September Bob took Bateman to task for hauling out the super lame “The media did it” defence when he wanted to take back something he said, in that case calling for finance minister Colin Hansen’s resignation on his blog.

Bob wasn’t impressed with the lazy backpedaling after the resignation call, especially considering that Bateman worked for him for six years and expressed contempt for the blame-the-media defence back then.

Bob wrote:

I recall when Langley Advance reporter Jordan Bateman used to laugh at politicians who blamed their faux pas on the media. Many were the times when he joined in the newsroom’s derisive snorts at a politician’s claims that he or she had been “misquoted” or “taken out of context”.

And well did he have a right to laugh. Like the rest of us, he was diligent in his research, careful with his context, and took pains to ensure that his information was relayed correctly to our readers, and in language that was clear and delivered in such a way as to limit the likelihood of confusion.

We know that “the media did it” is code for “oops, I know I shouldn’t have said that.”

….

Then, proving what he had of time contended was a basic flaw among many politicians during his days in the Advance newsroom, he compromised his honesty – or maybe he just lost his spine. In any case, the contentious blog item disappeared into some hole in the fabric of cyberspace, and out of that dark, dirty hole popped an apology.

Bateman apologized for speaking the truth.

Now he’s a TRUE politician.

more…

Bateman has big aspirations. He’s the president of the local B.C. Liberal riding and, Bob writes, has eyes on the mayor’s seat. That seat is currently occupied by Rick Green, whom Bateman has regularly attacked.

Bob, though, hasn’t held back with criticizing his former employee, or questioning his motives when Bateman, say, calls for politicians’ mugshots to be removed from township advertising.

If Bateman does take a crack at the mayor’s chair, it will be interesting to see how the Advance uses its inside knowledge to dissect his campaign.

Bob has since wrote in with the following comment:

While accurate, your report comes off a little – probably unintentionally – skewed.
It should be noted that my blog post on the township mugshots issue was an endorsement of Bateman’s motion, if not necessarily his apparent motives.
You also seem to leave an impression that I never have anything good to say about Bateman. I try to be honest about all of our local politicians, which includes occasional pats on the back, along with those kicks in the pants.
And I don’t have any “inside information” about Councillor Bateman that I haven’t already shared with my readers. So don’t hold your breath waiting for me to “dissect” his campaign, when and if it happens.
Even if I try to put an edge on my words, I also try to keep them fair.
And in that vein, I’ll give you a thumbs up on this blog. Mostly good stuff, good direction. Thank you for it.

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Help keep this blog running for weeks to come by becoming a link farmer. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com. Also, take the poll on the right. It’s free. Lucky you.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll duly update the post.

We’re making inroads into our census of B.C. community newspapers, but there are still a lot of blanks in the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. How many journalists work at your paper? How often do you come out? Who’s your publisher? Participation is free! The benefits unlimited! The exclamation points boundless!

Steal (or borrow) these ideas

December 20, 2010 Comments off

A full-tilt Lower Mainland roundup today.

John Van Putten‘s photo in the Maple Ridge News of an up-and-coming goalie employs a great and simple concept. I’m not going to try and describe it, so just click through. Story by Grant Granger is also a solid read.

Need another photo lesson? Here’s one in the North Shore News by Rob Newell. He makes a portrait of a guy standing in front of some banners infinitely better just by rotating his camera a few degrees. Granted, his flash lighting doesn’t hurt either.  Story, by Sean Kolenko, is also great.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. When you have one person dedicated to writing the story, and another concentrating all his or her efforts on coming up with a solid photo idea, the result is a good photo and a good story, rather than a story with a photo that may look tagged on.  Alas, not all papers have the resources, but one can dream. In lieu of that, it’s probably worth thinking up some photo ideas before heading out to an interview, rather than improvising when you get to the meeting spot. (I write this as someone who has, on a couple of occasions, entirely forgot that a photo is required).

I’ll stick with the North Shore News to point out Greg Hoekstra‘s excellent feature on how local police try and round-up suspects when they have fled the city, the province or the country. The story is another great win-win concept: the cops get a chance to highlight the city’s most wanted and the work they’re doing; the reporter gets significant access to and understanding of the behind-the-scenes process, which makes for a great story — if you write it as well as Greg (I’m going to start referring to people by their first name now, just ’cause).

The Langley Times runs a timeline of the convoluted and controversial building of that city’s hockey rink (does that make it a Timesline? I’m sorry. Real Sorry.) Timelines are easy, but underused (I think we just forget that we can do them).

Michelle Hopkins of the Richmond News investigates if anybody really likes to receive gift cards. Great Christmas story. After all, when you buy a gift card, you’re simply putting a limit on how that money can be spent. Cash would seem much more logical. But many like them, Hopkins finds. (It seems to me that they’re an easy way to give, and ask for, something almost as universally handy as cash. That can be handy because of the taboo against giving cash at Christmas time.)

Diane Strandberg of the Tri-City News and John Kurucz of the Coquitlam Now both have good stories on a nurse whose life-saving treatment by a doctor at her hospital will be documented on a television show.

Tracy Holmes of the Peace Arch News with some good ol’ fire reporting:

Marc Hiatt and his family lost everything when he and five others escaped a fire at their heritage home in South Surrey overnight Friday.

But it will be a good Christmas nonetheless, Hiatt and his son, Rob, said later that morning, after surveying the remains of the 13951 Crescent Rd. house.

more…

Need some more good ideas to steal? Glad you asked. The Richmond Review’s Kudos page deserves kudos and theft. The page showcases local good deeds through photos and gives a dynamic look to grip-and-grins and the like.

And finally, the Surrey Leader (using Google Maps) has a superb online map of that city’s best holiday light displays.

Photo by Andy Rennie via Flickr.

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Help keep this blog running for weeks to come by becoming a link farmer. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com . Also, take the poll on the right. It’s free. Lucky you.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll duly update the post.

We’re making inroads into our census of B.C. community newspapers, but there are still a lot of blanks in the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. How many journalists work at your paper? How often do you come out? Who’s your publisher? Participation is free! The benefits unlimited! The exclamation points boundless!

Omineca Express reporter scoops dailies; strippers raise money

December 2, 2010 Comments off

Hannah Wright of the Vanderhoof Omineca Express was the only journalist to report on the first appearance in court of Cody Alan Legebokoff, whose accused of the first degree murder of a 15-year-old Vanderhoof girl. That despite the presence of reporters from the nefarious big city media, according to Bill Phillips‘s blog.

Wright thought to check with the court clerk, a tactic everyone else seems to have forgot.

From Wright’s story:

Legebokoff appeared emotionless during his brief court appearance, other than being quite red in the face. He kept his head up and stared straight forward, except for a brief look around the room when he first entered.

The only people in the public seating area was an older man and woman who sat together in the front row.

more…

Check out Bill’s blog Writer’s Block for the story on the story.

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Down on the coast, Andrew Fleming (@Flematic) of the New West Record/Burnaby Now has a quirky short story on a local writer who was nominated for, but didn’t win, an award(?) for bad sex writing. Any story in which you write (even in quotes) “Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her” deserves a mention.

Andrew also deserves credit for pointing out this open letter to newspaper photographers, which has a lot of good advice even if it is geared to daily photogs.

Last week it was “BC Daily Deals” (which admittedly also turned up on numerous other Black press websites). Then it was a super creepy photo. Now, a moving drugstore. Really, Langley Times? I’m not trying to single you out, but you’re making it really, really tough.

The Maple Ridge News photog Colleen Flanagan, meanwhile, pulls off the seemingly impossible task of very tastefully shooting a stripper with a handful of 20-dollar bills in her stilettos, bra and short shorts. The story by Monisha Martins is pretty good too.

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Seen something else I should know about? Want to write a post? Have better photos than the Creative Commons Flickr pool ones I use? E-mail bclocalreporter(at)gmail.com.

Help complete a census of B.C. community newspapers by filling in the blanks of the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. 

Photo by Roger H. Goun via Flickr
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