Media


This morning, TBD, a new venture in local news, launched. What is TBD? TBD is a local news network with TV and an online presence. They are using new media in a wonderful way, writing their own stories, linking to others, and creating a dialogue about the area. As they say, “Our goal is to create a comprehensive guide to local news and entertainment, delivered on multiple platforms, for anyone interested in what’s happening in the region.”

U Street Girl is proud to announce that the blog is a member of their local blog network. It wasn’t a secret before, but now that they’ve officially launched I wanted to let you readers know. This doesn’t mean really any change for readers of U Street Girl, but rather that TBD readers will often be directed to my blog if I’m a part of their local coverage or I write something that is of interest to DC as a whole.

I’m really excited about TBD as someone interested in media, and glad to be a part of their network. I wish them the best of success. Go check out their website today!

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Look, Washington Post, I like you as a paper, generally. I think you do a good job covering national issues, I like your online chats and some of your blogs, but I have a huge issue with your laughable concept of local coverage. You are, whether you like it or not, published in Washington DC. You are not USA Today, a shamelessly national paper. Do a better job covering the city you’re published in.

If you can devote the resources it takes to write a 1305 word story (and take the time to email me, a local blogger, plugging the story) about post-ironic, quasi-hipsters and their trips to the freakin’ Target in Columbia Heights, you have the resources to write more than 42 words (!!) about this questionable, kind of scary Columbia Heights police shooting. This is a real story in the neighborhood, affecting people, hard news vs soft news as you in the J-business might call it. A man was shot and killed by a security guard at 9 pm on Friday night in Columbia Heights. Someone lost his life. Devote resources to a well-written, well researched article about that? Nah, let’s cover f&*#ing “hipsters” and their struggles with being all ironic and becoming domestic and suburban in hard-hitting Columbia Heights. ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME?!

Shame on you, Washington Post. No wonder newspapers are going to shit.

Last night, near the Columbia Heights recreation center (at the 140o block of Girard), a teenager was shot and wounded in a hail of bullets. At about 7:30 pm, the teen and other people outside of the recreation center were approached by gunmen, at least one in a ski mask. The gunmen then opened fire with no warning.

In the Washington Post article, Jim Graham is quoted as saying the shooting is most likely gang related, though doesn’t seem to give any reason why.

That block of Columbia Heights has seen a lot of violence, in the summer of 2007 it seemed like there was a shooting there every week. I had a friend who lived on the block and often he had to tell the police that he lived there, and could he please get to his apartment, because it was so often blocked off by police tape.

Isn’t it great though, that the Washington Post is writing about this incident, where no one was killed and the most severe injury (from what I can tell) was a thumb wounded by a bullet, and neglects to do barely any reporting on the fatal shooting over the weekend (I’m sorry, that article doesn’t count). I don’t understand how local news works sometimes, why does the Post see this incident as more worthy to cover? I can cobble my news together from blogs, listservs, and local news outlets and sometimes get a good sense of what’s happening in my neighborhood and surrounding ones. Sometimes I can’t. I really wish there were better coverage of my neighborhood. If there’s some news source that does it well, I’m all ears.

UPDATE: I’m calling out the Washington Post even more on this. They did some crappy reporting on that article. First of all, they didn’t interview Jim Graham, they just took a statement from a press release he issued and made it seem as though they had interviewed him. They did the same thing with a quotation from MPD officer Edward Delgado, taking a statement he had posted on the 3rd district listserv and representing as if they had spoken to him directly. Additionally, they seem to have taken parts of WJLA’s story on the shooting Friday night and represented as if they had interviewed these people on their own. They both interview a witness named Siobhan Gavagan and use the same quotation about her hiding under a car during the shooting. Shame on you, Washington Post reporters, for your sloppy, and in some parts, dishonest reporting.

Perusing some of the websites I checkout nearly every day, I come across this gem of a story from the Washington Post: Warm Conditions Offer Rare Chance to Dress Down – where yes, the whole stupid article is about how since it was warm yesterday people wore lighter clothes. REALLY? This article is perhaps the encapulation of what is wrong with old media.

This was a “oh crap nothing really happened this weekend in the district because it’s a holiday but we need an article to take up space” article. Snippets of the genius reporting:

Epic fail by the Washington Post

Fail by the Washington Post

“Despite overcast skies, drizzle and a breeze that put a slight chill in the air yesterday afternoon, T-shirts and light sweaters were out in force in front of the White House, along Pennsylvania Avenue. Tourists carried jackets under their arms, and scarves were loosened. More than a few people broke out flip-flops for the occasion.”

The reporter then needs some quotations, so he talks to a weatherman (ooooh) and a purveyor at the Dupont farmers market who claims they sold out of parsnips (WTF?).

This is what I hate about traditional media, a meaningless story just to take up space in the paper, and it needed to get out fast therefore lackluster reporting, pointless descriptions of tourists in flip-flops, and just stupidness. So much of old media is entrenched in old traditions that no longer make sense, but they stick to their mores because they don’t know what else to do. I ran across this a lot in journalism school, where I was penalized for having a too long lead, not including a quotation in the first third of the story, not telling a story in a “pyramid” theme… and I couldn’t help but think how pointless these conventions were and how they were going to kill traditional journalism. Well, here we are a few years later and traditional media is taking its last gasps of breath…