Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Corbett: This one homeless guy I talked to at the TL was in better shape than the newsroom staff

Steve Corbett takes a trip down memory lane on his WILK blog with the tale of the homeless man with softball-sized calves.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember that guy that used to stalk Corbett and drop off letters almost every day. He always wore like a darker shirt (maybe blue)and a hat. What was his name???? I can't for the life of me remember it, but I can remember what he looked like.

Anonymous said...

My God, man ... Call VISION .. you can get help .. No need to wrack what's left of your brain.

Anonymous said...

The man's jame was J.T and he's been dead for several years.
Corbett treated him with respect, something that's lacking all too often in today's newsrooms. Writing about mental illness is more crucial than ever.
Allison Walzer, by the way, once filed a charge with a magistrate against a mentally ill woman who posed no real threat to her when she came to the paper one day.

Anonymous said...

the column is good.

Anonymous said...

I'm the original poster and thanks, it was J.T. (How did i forget that?) I remember reading his scrap book and notes in the newsroom with Mary Jo.

Anonymous said...

Corbett raised a good issue on the Sue Henry Show today. He said he was surprised to find out that the Times-Tribune Saturday politics column written by Roderick Random is written by an imaginary journalist, that no such person exists. Is that ethical? Should a daily newspaper run a serious political columm with a fake name? Shouldn't readers be able to trust their daily newspaper to tell them the truth?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear the corporate spin on this one.

Anonymous said...

Roderick Random is not imaginary, he's very real. He's a mentally ill homeless man with softball-sized calves.

Anonymous said...

Roderick also is ham-fisted, pumpkin-headed, cauliflower-eared and gourd-nosed.
And Mike McGlynn hates his guts.

Anonymous said...

Corbett explained in a very serious column that the man had his own apartment. The issue of a phony name on a column in a daily newspaper is also very serious business.

Anonymous said...

Is the column written by various staffers? Is it written by one person? Does the editor allow this fraud to continue? Does he even know? Is the writer a reporter? An editor?

Anonymous said...

"Does the editor allow this fraud to continue? Does he even know?"
No, the editor has no clue this is going on, so please keep it quiet. We don't want to tip him off.

Anonymous said...

Let's see how long it takes for the paper to change the policy now that the "news" is out. Maybe one or two of the national journalism magazines and the Poynter Institute can help management and staff learn what's right and what's wrong, what's true and what's false, what's ethical and what's not.

Anonymous said...

If we reveal Roderick's true identity, Chris Kelly will start stealing his column ideas.

Anonymous said...

We already know the columnist's identity. The issue is whether the practice is dishonest.

Anonymous said...

OK then, who is Roderick? Enlighten us.

Anonymous said...

Ler's wait for the Sctanton Times to own up to the fraud. Maybe the reporter should just wdmit to who he is, say he made a mistake and save himself and his paper a lot of embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse the above typos. I just got so excited that my fingers flashed too quickly across the keyboard. See, admitting mistakes isn't all that difficult.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Scrotum Times needs to own up ... oops. I mean, the Scranton Times needs to odd up ... dammit. I mean, this Roderick guy needs to wdmit ... oops again. I'm just so pissed about this guy and
DAMN YOU RODERICK RANDOM! WHO ARE YOOOOUUUUUU?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

So let's try to be serious for a moment. The column, even if it's good, can't even be entered in a journalism contest. Is mocking real political commentary and taking readers for a ride more important than real journalism that is judged, appreciated and commended?

Anonymous said...

How did J.T. die? I believe his name was James Taylor, just like the singer. He used to stand in the window of the bank next door to the TL and take notes on the comings and goings of TL managers and editors. If you spoke to him he was friendly and polite. Once a week or so he would deliver a shopping bag full of writings and clippings to Michele Harris in the newsroom. He was finally jailed after violating a restraining order that ordered him to stay out of the TL. He was in jail for some time, and the day he got out he was right back inside the TL, grinning and dropping off his writings.
As for Corbett, he rocks, and always has. NEPA is lucky to have him back.

Anonymous said...

"Roderick Random" has been part of the T-T scene for probably 40 years now, and we're just figuring out it's a pen name?

It's an OP-ED piece, it never has been hard news. For years, it was written by Joseph X. Flannery; before him, a gentleman named Calpin wrote the column, I do believe. Somewhere in the there was a guy named Walter Toolan, who took a turn at writing it. If I had to bet, I'd say Chris Kelly now writes it. Whatever the case, the column was almost always dead-on, all of the info therein was solid and reliable.

It's no different than that Sunday column McGlynn did for years(maybe still does). Was it Party Animals? Same deal, why all the fuss?

Anonymous said...

The current Roderick Random is Borys the flying squirrel.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who sees scandal in the fact that Borys writes Roderick is a moron.

Anonymous said...

Borys is the newspaper's main political reporter and Borys should use his name on any column about politics he writes for the paper.
How hard is this to understand?
If no ethical issue remains, why can't Borys enter those "op-ed" columns in any journalism contest?
He can't because the standards for journalism as its practiced at gtood newspapers bans such a trick as fraud, dishonesty and of no use in a real newspaper. Let's pose this question to our peers at the Poynter Instituteand and see what they say.

Anonymous said...

What they say is that Larry the editor might want to get it together if he cares about continuing to salvage his own reputation as well as the reputation of the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Laugh and mock this issue all you want but advertisers and subscribers are talking about this and aren't laughing. Neither are people who understand what journalism schools teach.

Anonymous said...

I am fine with Corbett bringing it up, but it is unethical to do a radio show spot on an issue and not call the other side for comment.

Even worse is calling another journalist/media outlet unethical and then failing to get comment. It taints Corbett's whole arguement.

Anonymous said...

Corbett thought Roderick Random was real.That's the whole point.
Not everybody has the inside track, particularlty readers. Corbett only recently moved to Scranton and didn't spend his years in Wilkes-Barre following the Scranton Times. They were small time back when thew Times Leader was great. No taint here.Just that the Times taint upfront when it should be.

Anonymous said...

Get real. If Borys wants to follow in Joe Flannery's footsteps that's his problem. The newspaper managers should know better if they want to be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

No one is trying to con anyone here. Roderick has been a part of the paper since the beginning of time; the Lynetts love tradition above all. It's a nice touch and an old-school salute to the paper's history. People in the know understand that Borys is currently the column's author; people not in the know may not be able to identify the author, but they don't believe that someone named Roderick Random has been writing a political column for the last 60 years. I would argue that the average Times reader understands that the column represents the newspaper's attempt to give a weekly dose of political insight and analysis.

If I were the editor I might add Borys's name to the tagline at the end of the column. But I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over the current arrangement.

Anonymous said...

A name is all anybody asked for in the first place. But then the debate arises about whether Borys, a political reporter, should double as Borys, a political columnist.

Anonymous said...

"But then the debate arises about whether Borys, a political reporter, should double as Borys, a political columnist."
Who besides yourself is having this debate, 1:44? You'd have trouble tallying all the political reporters in the country who double as columnists.

Anonymous said...

When journalism standards were higher that simply would not have happened. And, frankly, the column isn't really all that good anyway.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The column is flat. No spark. Dull.

Anonymous said...

The straight political reporting leaves something to be desired as well.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I much prefer the TL's non-existent political reporting.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't make yours good, Borys. Break a story every now and then if the bosses let you.

John Mitchell said...

"Roderick Random" may be a vestige of old-school newspaper days, but it's hardly meant to deceive anybody.
Borys is up-front with sources that "I'll be doing something in Roderick Random" on this...." Political insiders know who Roderick is.
So I'm not sure at all what the point of the pseudonyn is now in 2007.
Lots of newspapers and magazines used to have those kind of institutional columns that got passed from person to person.
The New Republic has T.R.B., which actually has been several different people, like Michael Kinsley. The New Yorker had something similar.
Most of those bogus pseudonyms have fallen by the wayside, and now Roderick just makes me think of Ann Landers' daughter taking over the column and still running the same old picture, or how the guy who created Batman died 20 years ago, but it still appears in papers under his name but drawn by somebody else.
Standards have changed, and it's time to kill off Roderick and let Borys step out of the shadows.

Anonymous said...

Finally, another mature voice of reason.

Anonymous said...

Whether Borys functions as reporter or columnist, he's dull and a company man.

Anonymous said...

Borys and his editors went too far today when he refers to Roderick as a real person in his column. That's a total fraud and I would hope he would be reprimanded if he did that in any new article or column. Tradition is one thing, making reference to a person as if that person really exists defrauds readers who are not part of the silly inner circle that orchestrated and perpetrates this terrible joyride that passes as journalism.

Anonymous said...

"Borys and his editors went too far today when he refers to Roderick as a real person in his column. That's a total fraud."

7:22, are you mentally disabled? A fifth-grader using his 30 minutes of nightly computer time?

Readers aren't stupid. And Scranton Times readers have been seeing third-person references to Roderick since the Truman administration. Seriously. Most readers have a better understanding of the newspaper than many newer reporters.

A fraud? You need to adjust your tinfoil hat. I encourage you to picket the newspaper Monday and start a petition drive. Call the AP. Send copies of your petition to the District Attorney, Philadelphia Inquirer, AP, FBI field office and Bill O'Reilly.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should call the Philadelphia Inquirer, ask for any editor and inquire if the paper would let you cover politics, run a column with a bogus name and then use that name as a real person in your column. On second, thought, don't phone. The Inky editor would think he/she was getting a crank call and dial 911. By the way, readers are often stupid. So are local journalism clerks.

John Mitchell said...

Hot scoop: I have just learned that the writer who calls himself "Mark Twain" was actually some guy named Clemens.

Seriously, well into the 1960s, the New York papers were filled with gossip columns and commentary with bylines like "Cholly Knickerbocker" and shit like that. Probably the Philly Inquirer, too.

Times change and the standards change. I think Roderick Random should be terminated with extreme prejudice and Borys should step forward to take his place.

But that doesn't make this some kind of Jayson Blair case. There's no intent to deceive. It's just a tradition that's outlived its usefulness, yet another example of the time warp that Times Shamrock exists in.