Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Hi All!

I have always been passionate about Journalism.

Journalism and Education. Those have always been my true overlapping vocations.

Thank goodness "Bloggerism" has come to be. If it is too late for me to start "real" career in Journalism, at least I have an outlet to play at it.

I came up 2 credits short of a double major in Journalism on top of Business Administration in my haste to get out of The College of Saint Thomas in three years, (Summa, which meant something in those days). I settled for the BS in Business with the master plan of making a ton of dough so I could retire early and afford to write for a newspaper.

I sigh to myself when I look back and dream that I could have been the next Oliver Towne or Paul Light. Hey, I'm still young... ah, just google it. Someday I will explain what dream jobs Gary Hiebert and Bill Farmer had. Boxmeier, Soucheray? Close sometimes, but no cigar.

It is certainly no great insight of mine that Bloggerism is to Journalism what Pulitzer and Hearst were to Newspapering. Bigtime shake-up. I am just thrilled to be in on it in my own little way!

This post comes from my intense observation of the way the death of 17-year-old Roseville boy Marcell New was reported.

The "big rip" on Bloggerism is that unprofessional, unregulated and sloppy reportage is figuratively tossing glowing cigarette butts on the dry forest floor of the internet on a hot windy day. There is much truth in that.

Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst would be proud.

Bloggerism is the modern equivalent of Yellow Journalism. You have to break some eggs to make an omelet and it can get messy. Hearst took dubious credit for starting a war to sell papers. "Remember the Maine!"

There are well-understood and debated up and downsides to any innovation. Mistakes, from harmless to tragic, will happen.

In the end, IMHO, things will become more established and mainstream and "responsible," whatever that means in these days of separate realities.

Meanwhile, my fellow ex-con Martha Stewart might say, "Bloggerism is a GOOD thing."

I knew details about the New tragedy that hadn't yet been reported.

No bird-dogging was required on my part. What I learned dropped on my lap. A juicy local beat story with simple facts and over 100 witnesses with as close to 100 percent agreement on their versions as a reporter could ever hope to take notes on.

Here's where my Journalism instincts kicked in.

I was slightly ahead of the MSM with my first post and I reworked it as carefully as I could to get to the gist of it without divulging too many of the unfortunate details.

I watched the story evolve during the course of the Thursday and grew increasingly frustrated at how damned restrained and cautious the MSM coverage was.

The St. Paul Police spokesperson spooned out a some cautious, "safe" facts and the MSM basically regurgitated it.

In the next few days, some of the best reporters in the business, Curt Brown, Jim Ragsdale and Cindy Boyd to name a few, dug in and fleshed out the story, eventually with more facts than I had.

One lesson I forgot is that a reporter can't get emotionally invested in a story. I have learned a lesson and hope to be a better blogger for it.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because you write at length, does that mean that you are a "journalist" or a "journalist-wannabe"?

Years ago, before computers, according to what someone told me recently, an editor rerferred to at-length writers as having "diarrehea of the typewriter." Do you have diarrehea of something? (I do not know how to spell "diarrehea" -- but I think you know what I mean, shitwise.)

P.S. -- I find it difficult to believe that you were a "summa cum laude" at St. Thomas.

2:48 PM  
Blogger PK said...

Hi Anon!

And thanks!

I need advice. I crave it.

All I can object to in reply is if you had read carefully, the post was meant to be an exploration.

I never wanted to be a "beat hack." I wannabe PJ O'Rourke, or at least Oliver Towne.

There are some pretty "windy" journalists who write like they get paid by the word.

My figurative digestive disorder is blasted out for all to "enjoy."

As Belushi said, "Don't cost nothin'."

Read it or ignore it, but I hope you will keep reading and I really DO prefer fielding brickbats rather than bouquets!

According to, it's spelled "diarrhea" so if you were guessing, that was a pretty good one!

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Paul! What do you think of Sid Hartman? In any event, did you see the Reader Rep's column in today's Star Tribune?

I sent this message to her:

Hello, Ms. Reader Rep!

I could not believe my eyes when I saw your "ethics"
Sunday column. Are you and your newspaper trying to get rid of Sid Hartman? Just like you got rid of your
predecessor, Lou Gelfand, because he was in his 80s as is Sid?

I am no fan of the semi-illiterate Mr. Hartman. But he
is an institution in the Twin Cities! And he has done
more for this area than you or anyone else at your
newspaper ever will do!

You should be ashamed of writing what you wrote
about Mr. Hartman. And you owe him and your readers an apology!

12:22 PM  

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