Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No copy editors left at the Kansas City Star?

Looks like a few copy editors got pink-slipped in the latest round of layoffs at the Kansas City Star.
It wasn't a huge mistake, but it points out the major problems facing the Kansas City Star these days.

The front page of the newspaper's "Local" section (4/1) had a dramatic photo of workers putting the finishing touches on the crown atop the team's scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium. It was great art.

However, according to the cutline under the photo, it said workers were getting the stadium set for the team's April 10th home opener "when the Kansas City Royals take on the Chicago White Sox."

Oops. The home opener opponent will actually be the New York Yankees, not the White Sox.

Alert readers pointed out the mistake to the Star's Readers' Representative Derek Donovan, who promptly noted in his online column that a correction will be made on the bottom of Page A2 in tomorrow's paper.

This single glitch points out deeper issues at the newspaper these days.

First, with fewer editors these kinds of silly mistakes are likely to become the norm. Editors eliminate these kind of errors.

Secondly, the error was made in a cutline for an above-the-fold, three-column, 12-inch high photo on the front of a section. The correction will be buried on the bottom of A-2.

Lastly, the correction in the paper will be made fully 24-hours after it first appeared. On-line corrections can be made in seconds; print corrections show up a day (or more or never) later.
In comments, a reader says he has heard from a KC Star employee about work slowdowns at the Star. The sheer volume of gaffes and goofs -- including Rhonda Lokeman's info still up on the website -- leads me to believe some of this is deliberate.



Anonymous said...

You'd see this kind of thing in the Raleigh newspaper even when there was a filled-beyond-capacity copy desk. News copy editors don't know sports and can't use their brains enough to read a schedule.

Anonymous said...

With only two copy editors left at the Lexington Herald-Leader, and I believe no line editors, this thing is out of hand and common at the paper.

Anonymous said...

There are McClatchy papers that still can afford copy editors? How is that possible?

Anonymous said...

This kind of thing has been ongoing and constant with the KC Star long before they started getting rid of copy editors. As far as their online corrections (without reporting it) that allows them to print their bald faced lies and then disappear them when called on it. Case in point: Mark Zieman's Bio. When scumbucket was hired as publisher, the announcement contained his full bio including his career starting stint as an ad guy. An hour or so later, bio one was removed and the edited bio scrubbing his advertising department experience was eliminated.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:05

And sports is the toy department and editors there can't be trusted with real news. Blah blah blah blah.

Different editors have different specialties and mistakes happen everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes errors give real insight into the minds of the people producing the news.

Most newspaper liberals are firmly in the "guns are icky" camp. They actually take pride in knowing nothing about guns. I remember one story where the reporterette kept referring to a "22 millimeter hand gun". I am sure she confused millimeter with caliber and never realized that a 22 millimeter hand gun would be one serious ass gun.

Anyway.... none of the other classically trained professional journalists caught the error and it went to print. When I sent an e-mail to the reporter, she replied that she was only reporting what the police told her. Even if that was the case, and the police misspoke, a reporter that had even a basic knowledge of firearms would have questioned the statement.

John Altevogt said...

The beauty of this is that it will give Derek Donovan an endless supply of chicken crap to write about instead of the issues that are really of import to readers.

Anonymous said...

I think more blame should be put on the person who chose to write the cutline...not on the editors for not catching it.

Whoever wrote it should have taken the time to research it, or have just left it as "prepare for opening day".

Maybe the buck should stop with Obama as he is ultimately responsible for ALL of America right?

Anonymous said...

-'KC Star' To Combine Sections-
“Jen: I know these are tough times and all, but the amount of cutting newspapers are doing is getting ever-so-worrisome. Kansas City Business brings news that The Kansas City Star is reducing sections of the print edition.

See if you can follow the bouncing ball.”
SEE: Fitz & Jen
The article reads like a bouncing ball to follow, and very cleaver I would say. Word is getting out about the Star being a thing of pity.

Anonymous said...

12:17: No, the sports desk could be trusted with "real" news. In fact, they have been.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Stop the presses! Someone made a mistake. You must make your parents proud. They spent all that money for your college education and all you can blog about is a simple human error. Nice job. Keep up the hard work. Maybe someday you can report on typos.

Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking says,
"OMG! Stop the presses!"

Make three turns singing:
♫ When You Wish Upon a Star ♫

A mouse has been know to send a tingle up the leg, or run up your leg and send a tinkle.
Good luck on your wish to stop the presses.

Anonymous said...

The newspapers that make their staff logon through their online page, and count them as hits, must be shortsighted laying off their hitters.

We had a poster from one such place, and they told us it accounted for thousands of hits to assure advertisers they were still viable outlets for ads. The poster said if they left their area, they logged out and then back on again. That sound devious to me.

Anonymous said...

“Different editors have different specialties and mistakes happen everywhere.”

Let’s see the copy,
“Barry Soetoro is a Schmuck.”

Sports editor on the job.
I think his name is Barack Osama and he plays for the Pistons.

Three days later,
I want to correct a small error,
Osama plays for the Jets.

Anonymous said...

I want to know if the Rhobo girl is still receiving money for her past columns? That would make her continued free advertisement in the Scar as dishonorable as a money laundering scheme IMO.

Anonymous said...

Derek Donovan answers readers’ questions my ass. I think most of the questions are probably bogus, and I doubt he even answers the nitty-gritty ones. I have no confidence that anything from the Red Star is legitimate.

Anonymous said...

I think most of the questions are probably bogus, and I doubt he even answers the nitty-gritty ones.

Actually he deletes them. This is a fact that I have witnessed first hand. Sometimes he is known to call the complainant and curse them for exposing their lies.

John Altevogt said...

Here is one of Derek's columns. Note the 2 pages of comments below the column and Derek's running battle with several disgruntled readers, including a couple of late night attempts to ambush them.

Note the abusive nature of his comments. This followed several blog entries in which he condescendingly insulted readers who called him on his deceitful claims to answer all emails and phone calls, among other legitimate gripes about unethical conduct at The Star.

Of all the people I've dealt with at The Star over the years, Donovan is clearly the most abusive, incompetent and ill-suited for his position of anyone there.

Like the others, I too have received the abusive and obscene phone calls including one in which he screamed "F*** yourself" as part of a litany in which I was denounced for my "childish" behavior, I too have had posts raising legitimate issues removed and had him manufacture blatantly false accusation to cover his tracks.

I have offered to publicly debate him and/or sit down and compare stories with him via a lie detector test. In one case he actually bragged about his misconduct in an email to Mike Fannin and myself and when I emailed Fannin I was told to take it up with the readers rep. Thanks, Mike.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why they deleted the link to his blog off the front page? Too many complaints?

Anonymous said...

There was a paper that actually printed bogus letters so they could answer making some agenda point they wanted to push on their readers. Sort of like Snopes, their liberal bias caused them to create urban legends to
debunk, using their agenda du jour. Snopes has lost a lot of their credibility, and their run back to the center after the election is too late IMO. It is the same with Derek Donovan, deleting the hard questions is the sign of a wimpy, yes man. Who in their right mind still reads his garbage? He can go NOW!

Anonymous said...

How is a readers’ rep different from an ombudsman?

Anonymous said...

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. You are being far far too kind to the gaffe-riddled Star. That was not the *only* error in that couple of sentences long cutline. The cutline said two unions had settled and had averted a strike at the stadiums. Claimed officials had been worried and were relieved a strike was averted. I guess the Star's deadlines are now 8 p.m. Because the 10 o clock news had that the cement union had not settled and was going on strike at midnight. And live at 6 this morning all the stations with helicopters hovered over the stadiums with pickets and a strike going. A strike the paper had said this morning had been averted. Funny the web story today never explained the contradiction.

John Altevogt said...

The "readers" rep is allegedly an ombudsman, but when I contacted the Organization of News Ombudsmen (which Donovan links on his blog, implying membership) to discuss Donovan's abusive and unprofessional conduct I received no response.

This is typical and the profession of journalism is even worse than the legal "profession" when it comes to policing its own for unprofessionalism. What one finds is what I call the Reverse Nuremburg defense: We give no orders and are therefore not responsible for any misconduct.

For instance Mike Fannin's response to me concerning Donovan's misconduct, including the obscene phone call and threats was

"You will need to continue working through Derek on this. He is the reader rep, not me. I do respect that boundary we've necessarily created and also the work that he does."

So, in essence, Fannin doesn't give a hoot what unethical conduct his employees engage in because he's not the readers rep, Derek is.

"I gave no orders, your honor."

Thanks, Mike.

Anonymous said...

I do know Derek dumped letters of complaints about Rhonda Lokeman. I wrote plenty of times about her uncouth tripe. Once I wrote on three different computers about an absurd column of hers. None were answered in the paper. Probably orders from high dictated that, but that is not right, if he spiked those letters, what else does he spike? Useless, his position is a farce.

John Altevogt said...

Derek claimed to have answered all letters personally. When that claim was refuted by multiple posters on his blog, the allegations disappeared.

Anonymous said...

Criminy. Enough with Kansas City, already. It is not a real place. No one has ever actualy seen it.