This is what I’ve noticed about the Daily Iowan of late: They seem to require that every article in the Arts and Entertainment Section about a live performance have a quote from someone who works at the venue. For example, in todays DI, in an artcle about Robin Hemley reading at Prairie Lights: “It’s great to have one Iowa City’s own reading his work.” said Paul Ingram “[Robin is] a wonderful guy.”
I noticed this in other articles — whenever they write about someone playing at the Mill, they get a pull quote from Andre Perry. And remarkably, he always has something kind to say about the band in question. Now I know Paul and Andre both, and they’re good guys, and given that they’re being asked to say something in an article that promotes their establishment probably puts them in a mood to accentuate the positive.
The problem is this: Even if it’s heartfelt, in the context of the article it has null semantic content. And it seems to be a requirement, explicitly imposed by the editors, because I’ve yet to see these quotes shed any real light on the subject at hand.
This is like the Press Citizen’s “Get a Reep Quote” edict — when you write a PC article, you’re supposed to find a real person, or “Reep” who says something that supports your editorial slant. It’s a bullshit requirement, requiring some reporters (or so I’ve been told) to ask several people before they find one with something to say that is consonant with the Press Citizen party line.
But back to the Daily Iowan — I see no useful purpose in this practice of getting a puff-quote from the venue. It’s just not News, innit? Now if Andre would says “this band blows, but we sell 10 bottles of Jagermeister when they play,” now THAT would be news.