Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I don't pick up Happenings "magazine" too often, so imagine my surprise when I learned the March issue had Frank Andrews' smiling mug on the cover. I shouldn't have been surprised, because it's not much of a stretch for a guy who lied about his name, publicly toyed with running for office while working as the news director of Scranton's CBS affiliate, was still on the station's Web site after announcing his plan to run, and is now a paid consultant for the station while running for office.
You see, you have to pay to get on the front page. Happenings isn't a magazine, it's a glossy shopper. Nothing against the Abington housewives who sell the ads, but It's bad for journalism. People confuse its bought-and-paid-for "stories" with what actual newspaper and magazine writers work hard for produce. And it's insiduous because unless you read the find print you won't learn this:
"Q: Can my event be featured on the cover?
"A: Several factors impact choosing a cover for Happenings but any event selected must have a paid full page advertisement inside that issue."
Now, the odd thing is, Andrews' picture is in connection with a story about the Red Cross and how great it is and how much Frank Andrews loves it. And we're left with these questions:
1. How much did the Red Cross -- which is always hitting people up for money in the wake of 9/11, the tsunami, and Katrina, pay for the spread in Happenings?
2. Why did the Red Cross pick Andrews to be depicted on the cover when the story really isn't at all about Andrews?
3. Did the Red Cross know Andrews was running for office? If not, did Andrews think running for office was a possibility when he agreed to the shoot?
4. What does Andrews -- a career newsman -- think of the propriety of appearing on the cover of a pay-to-play publication?
5. How would Andrews explain all this to his journalism students at the University of Scranton?
Given the close ties between WYOU, Andrews, Times-Tribune editor Larry Beaupre and the Red Cross, it's unlikely all this will receive a full airing. But Frank Andrews is a greaseball whose journalism privileges should be revoked.
Read about how to buy your own story in Happenings: