Sunday, November 25, 2007

How lazy is too lazy?

At the outset we'll say that we don't think this is plagiarism per se. But. Still. The Times-Tribune's Christopher J. Kelly wrote today about how the vintage Sesame Street episodes coming out on DVD carry a parental-warning label. Kelly, like many people, read this in the Sunday New York Times magazine a week ago. Kelly pretty much credits The Times and reporter Virginia Heffernan when he lifts a few lines from one of Heffernan's interviews.

But he goes on to write generally about the news -- and hits most of the same points Heffernan does in her writing.

Heffernan: "Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes."
Kelly: "Cookie Monster is not exactly a model of healthy eating and self-control. [...] And his diabetes risk? Let’s not even go there."

Heffernan: "Gordon just wanted Sally to meet his wife and have some milk and cookies, but... well, he could have wanted anything. As it was, he fed her milk and cookies."
Kelly: "The “Sesame Street” of yore was a place where a nice neighborhood man might ask a young girl to come to his house for milk and cookies. Imagine such a scene being judged anything but sinister these days."

Heffernan: "The masonry on the dingy brownstone at 123 Sesame Street, where the closeted Ernie and Bert shared a dismal basement apartment, was deteriorating."
Kelly: "What about Ernie and Bert? Two guys living in a basement apartment for 40 years with no signs of girlfriends is the kind of thing that raises eyebrows...."

Like we said. This doesn't constitute plagiarism per se. But it's lazy as hell.

  • Read the NYT piece in full
  • Saturday, November 24, 2007

    Son of Wilkes-Barre goes on to fame in media and academia

    There should be a Northeastern Pennsylvania Journalism Hall of Fame for people who got out. Former Scranton Times reporter Jane Jacobs could be one. Sanford Ungar would be another. The W-B native has worked as a reporter and book author and host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered before taking over a small college in Baltimore. Today's Sun has a lengthy profile of the guy.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Times Leader sets world record for self-aggrandizement

    Jesus. Where do you start? There's the relentless reminding of readers that the Times Leader loves Wilkes-Barre so much that it's giving away $100,000, $25 at a time. There's the over-the-top Web coverage -- one story, two video clips, three photo galleries. There's reporter Bill O'Boyle, whose "story" is the biggest wet kiss yet for the man who signs his paycheck, Richard Connor. And, finally, there is the lead art both online and above the fold: Connor blowing out birthday candles. This dude makes Allison Walzer look like the most humble motherfucker ever.

    Times Shamrock weekly drops racy back-of-paper escort ads

    Orlando Weekly, the Florida alt-weekly owned by the Lynetts, has dropped the "escort" ads from the back of the paper. Three Orlando Weekly staffers are facing prostitution-related charges after undercover cops allegedly placed prostitution ads in the paper. Question: What effect, if any, does this have on similar-looking ads in Electric City?

    The Citizens' Voice is looking for a sports writer

    You, too, could be covering Wyoming Seminary field hockey and the occasional King's College wrestling match. The CV is advertising on that they'll consider "entry-level reporters with strong journalism backgrounds." Call today!

    Electric City is looking for an editor

    Times Shamrock's Electric City is looking for a new editor after Matt Smith took a promotion overseeing Times Shamrock's weekly and alt-weekly Web operations. Smith actually announced this in his column at the end of October, but we missed it amidst the wall-to-wall Office coverage.

    Correction: We first wrote that Smith would be running all TS Web operations. A commenter pointed out the error. Apologies.

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Charlie Weiss is dead

    We're embarrassed to have missed this, but Wilkes-Barre homeless man Charlie Weiss died in early October at a Hazleton nursing home. Charlie was perhaps Wilkes-Barre's best-known homeless resident. Steve Corbett eulogized him on his WILK blog last week.

  • Corbett: When Times Leader colleagues mocked me for writing about Weiss, "I felt like I was being eaten alive by rats in the newsroom."

  • Photographer Gary Clark's memorial page

  • A powerful 2004 All Things Considered piece about Clark's work shooting Wilkes-Barre homeless men

  • Photo by Gary Clark

    Only in NEPA: Folks confuse Stacy Brown with Al Roker

    We've been meaning to pass this along, but Electric City noted a couple weeks ago that during the Office convention people had a hard time keeping Times-Tribune reporter Stacy Brown and NBC Today weatherman Al Roker straight. Classic.

    Frank Andrews Shimkus: "I can't even get a pencil"

    Former WYOU news director and current state representative Frank Andrews Shimkus denies to Electric City (!) that he's living in sin with wife-to-be Gabrielle Prutisto or that he got her a job in Harrisburg. Crazy talk, he says. P.S: She'll be wearing a Vera Wang dress, the ceremony will probably be at St. Luke's in downtown Scranton, the reception at the Scranton Cultural Center, and Fast Eddie will be on the guest list.

    Welcome Charles Schillinger to the Times-Tribune

    The York Newspaper Company has completed their recent trade with the Times-Tribune of Scranton by sending reporter Charles Schillinger to the Times-Tribune. Schillinger, a 2003 graduate of York College of Pennsylvania, later reported on The Daily Review in Towanda and the Hanover Evening Sun -- isn't that where the potato chips come from? -- as well as The York Dispatch (not the YDR as reported here earlier). Schillinger was recognized by the PNA for his reporting on the shooting deaths of two Bradford County sheriff's deputies in 2005. Welcome.

    Chris Kelly talks with a guy who showed up at the newspaper to talk about a piece of wood that looks like E.T.

    "Journalists wait their entire careers for a story like this to stroll through the front door," Kelly writes." Since there were no journalists around, I went down to the front desk to talk with the man."

    Connor: Merry Christmas, you broken-down old Public Square

    More from Times Leaderr Publisher Richard Connor who writes -- again -- about the newspaper giving away 100 grand to local charities. Kudos.

    Times-Tribune doing something or other with

    We've been getting Google news alerts about this for days. Something about T-T house ads going on Zillow. Yawn.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    U. of Scranton j-prof's blog on Merrill flap picked up by Romenesko

    Matthew Reavy, who teaches journalism at Da U, blogged about the John Merrill flap this week, and his thoughts were posted on Jim Romenesko's Poynter Institute site. Kudos.

    Times-Tribune looking for a Web producer

    Ed Pikulski of the Scranton Times-Tribune is advertising for an "online content producer." Hiring is immediate. E-mail to apply.

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Times Shamrock employees on undercover video

    The Orlando Sentinel has video of Times Shamrock employees at Orlando Weekly talking about alleged prostitution ads. Not exactly the Pentagon Papers, but whatever.

    Frank Andrews Shumkus and Gabrielle Prutisto make it official

    Former WYOU reporters Frank Shimkus -- who went by a fake name, Frank Andrews, much of his working life -- and Gabrielle Prutisto spent $370,000 (!) on a house at 61 Schoolside Drive in Throop, the Times-Tribune reported in the agate type last week. The very Rev. Andrews, or Shimkus, got elected to the House a year ago. Not long after, Gabrielle got a job in the House Democratic PR office. Crazy how that happened.

    The funny thing is that the same day The Times reported the real-estate transaction in the court notes, it ran an item in the main news pages:

    It’s BBC Day

    "Today is Baptist Bible College & Seminary Day in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and in Lackawanna County.

    "A statewide designation, sponsored by Rep. Frank Andrews Shimkus, D-South Abington Township, created the day in the Keystone State.

    "The resolution comes as BBC&S marks its 75th anniversary this year and was passed unanimously by the state House of Representatives. The day comes “with respect for Baptist Bible’s leadership cultivation and community outreach,” according to the resolution."

    Connor gets Jann Wenner, Ulysses S. Grant and Public Square all into one piece

    Times Leader Publisher Richard Connor talks about the newspaper's scheme to give money to charity and also about George W. Bush. Word.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Open election thread: Who carried the coverage?

    Comment here about election coverage both Tuesday on the Web and on Wednesday in print and online. Kudos to The Times-Tribune for monitoring the clusterfuck ballot-counting operation in Lackawanna County -- and kudos to reporter Dave Singleton, who played along with making the de rigeur "nothing's going on" video for the paper's Web site.

    Who wants to buy The Morning Call?

    Romenesko is reporting that The Morning Call is reporting that the New Yorker is reporting that someone wants to buy the Allentown newspaper from new owner Sam Zell, though no one is saying who.

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    Cordaro/Munchak campaign goes after Times-Tribune objectivity

    The Cordaro-Munchak campaign is circulating a letter to Times-Tribune Editor Larry Beaupre complaining that a newspaper executive has donated to the Washo-O'Brien campaign and that a co-owner of Times-Shamrock is law partners with O'Brien's uncle. Didn't this come up in the primary? Anyway, click above to read the letter to Beaupre from Munchak-Cordaro campaign boss Damon Bowen.

    Rich Connor of the TL sends off a longtime downtown W-B merchant

    Times Leader Publisher Richard Connor continues his love-in for the golden early 80s in Wilkes-Barre with his eulogy for a former South Main Street corridor merchant who died recently.

    Mark Sowers joins Times Leader Web team

    Welcome Mark Sowers to the Times Leader Web team. Sowers had been working in weather and doing Web work at WNEP. No word on his dope remote control helicopter skillz.

  • Check the Sowers blog at WNEP

  • Check Mark's desktop wallpaper site
  • Sunday, November 04, 2007

    Ed Christine lands at the AP

    News for the doubters and haters: Ed Christine is working as an assistant sports editor for the AP. Watch this video of Ed sharing his take -- or reading from a script -- on today's Colts-Patriots NFL game.