Tag Archives: daily iowan

Daily Iowan Fail Day 2

This is going to come off as petty and self-serving, but what’s a blog anyway if not petty and self serving?

Anyhow, the University of Iowa’s paper of record The Daily Iowan, had a front page story about second hand clothing stores doing well in the recessionary economy.   This is the article every newspaper prints when there’s an economic downturn, so maybe not ‘news’ so much as ‘oft-visited story idea.’

What annoys me is that my wife owns The Second Act, a consignment used clothing store in Iowa City, that has been around for twenty-five years.  Not only been around, but arguably the first store of its kind in Iowa City that wasn’t a dump.  The article lists all the used clothing stores in town except The Second Act.  This notwithstanding the fact that the Second Act has been in several Daily Iowan articles over the years, and is even an advertiser from time to time.

I don’t mean to bag on Chris Clark (who wrote the article) for forgetting The Second Act.  The Second Act is out south of Highway 6 in Iowa City, which for a lot of University Students might as well be somewhere past the rings of Saturn.  I blame the editors, whose job it is to ask questions like “If you’re giving a list of businesses, have you checked to make sure you’re not missing someone?”  That’s a pretty basic rule for small-town newspapers, one that apparently slipped the DI’s mind.

Second Act A41.15.qxd (Page 1)

As promised, I rip on the Daily Iowan

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.