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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Remember me?

I know, I know. I have been a bad little blogger. I gotta say, I'm really enjoying the new job, but without reading seven newspapers a day before 7 a.m., I'm left wanting for blogging time / inspiration. But, every now and again I'll be suitably enraged by something and I'll make sure to tell you about it here. For this installment, I have two reasons to seethe. Reason the First: The Dingwall Affair I assume most readers of this humble site are familiar with Dingwallgate; for those who aren't, I'll let CBC (welcome back, team) tell you all about it. I really hope he follows through and sues a few people - the mainstream press included. I don't know if he'll win, or if he does, if he'll get anything for his troubles, but I really want to see a few journalists called before a judge somewhere and have to explain why they went ahead and took Brian Pallister's word instead of doing their own research. The way they bought into the whole "pack of gum" stroyline was disgusting, and now that THAT charge has been cleared up, I'm blown away by the fact that the Press Gallery can pretend it never happened. Dingwall did some stupid shit (what lobbying rules?) and his arrogance throughout the controversy has been grating, but at the end of the day, Pallister and (by extension) Canada's national newspapers misrepresented the truth and falsely accused someone of illegal / unethical behaviour. That warrants an appology - or at least some sort of recognition of your error. At the very least, I hope they've learned their lesson. Somehow, though, I have my doubts. More on adveritising (Hi Ryan!) I don't know how many of you have been following Antonia Zerbisias' blog on the Toronto Star site, but she posted something incredibly interesting today. Sadly, in going to collect the link for this post, I found that she cut out parts of an email from National Post publisher Gordon Fisher to the entire Post team. Sadly, they were the parts I wanted to write about. Le Sigh. In any event, I'll paraphrase and you'll just have to trust me. There were two related points he made in an email that, from what I can gather, went to both editorial and advertising staff. First, he bragged about the financial recovery the paper has seen as of late, and attributed to their willingness to bring in new advertising conventions. He actually said he was proud of building the reputation as the ad buyer that won't say no. So, does that mean if an advertiser wants to buy editorial coverage, they won't say no? Secondly, he praised his editorial staff for being mindful of revenues as well as top-notch journalism. Really, is that what we want? Journalists who are wary of their advertisers and operating budget? This is why I'm bothered by the very fact that the email went to both advertising and editorial staff. Those two areas should be utterly distinct. Though publishers have to be concerned about both, they should have very different things to say to the people working below them. Thank your advertising department for being innovative; thank your reporters for being professional, but don't mix your messages. We all understand that reportage doesn't happen in a vaccum. That doesn't mean you have to brag about their knowledge of advertising.