Gag me with the morning coffee

Dateline: Mon 11 Jun 2007

The prolific Jen Wagner of Taking Down Words takes note of the Star's latest journalism scam: a new feature called Coffee Break, which is yet another lame effort to engage readers and let them do the work. Because as everyone knows, they're not hiring at the Star.

Tim Swarens, former editorial page big cheese, and editorial writer/organizer Jane Lichtenberg, have been sluffed off to handle this fluff. I had a hard time myself wading thru all the verbiage and spin put forth by Swarens in this new feature, called TALKINDY, which actually made its way into the print version the Star sends out to Putnam. I felt a pang, tho, when I read these words from Swarens: "Because we're not experts on everything (some would say anything) journalists have always relied on sources...to provide pertinent information."

The Star wants to use those sources to do the work that reporters once did. Kinda breaks your heart, doesn't it?

Here's what Taking Down Words says:

" Sourcing the crowd, or whatever you want to call it, is fine. So are blogs, photo galleries and other shiny, flashy gimmicks. But you can't trade in core values for fluff.

" Reader-driven tips are good, but they're only as good as the people checking them out. Which means you have to have people checking them out. Those people are reporters."

Yep, the good old days...I remember reporters. Too bad Babs Henry and no-nuts lap poodle Dennis Ryerson have totally forgotten about them....

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