I’ve been resisting the urge to point out the nonsensical, though laughable, material printed in the Idaho Falls newspaper. However, this week the headlines and other articles have overwhelmed my self-restraint.
Take a headline in today’s edition, which I have cut and pasted directly from the online version:
Idaho county approves feedlot near interment camp
Following a cursory read, one might conclude that a cattle feeding operation had been given the green light near a – what IS an interment camp? Is it possible that we have a new Idaho colloquialism for cemetery? Idahoans are pretty informal, and they do love the great outdoors. They have girls’ camps, Scout camps, National Forest camps, fire camps, and state camps. But calling a cemetery an interment camp is a little much even for the locals.
I should read the article, you say?
Jerome County Commissioners in south-central Idaho have approved a massive animal feedlot a mile west of a national historic site where Japanese-Americans were confined during World War II.
Ah – now I understand. The newspaper really meant internment camp. Pity. “Interment camp” held far more interesting possibilities.
And Monday’s edition provided us with this insight to the craft of the chronicler:
Historian draws from life
I suppose this is news because most historians just make things up. I have long suspected as much, but thanks are due the Idaho Falls newspaper for clarifying that point. Now we know there’s at least one historian in the world who records events that actually happened – in “life”. And, he’s from Twin Falls, Idaho. At last!
Perhaps the most humorous Idaho Falls newspaper piece I’ve read lately came from the opinion page, and was authored by none other than Roger Plothow, editor and publisher, entitled,
If it’s not journalism, it’s not news
Mr. Plothow first illuminates what journalism is not. Apparently it’s not blogging which “makes no pretense of fairness, balance, accuracy or integrity”. It’s not television pundits such as Bill O’Reilly. It’s not news fresh from the police scanner. And it certainly isn’t anything called or texted in by the average citizen.
After denigrating (look that one up, Mr. Newspaper Guy) any and every one not on his own crack staff, Mr. Plothow tells us what real journalists do. He cites the “code” of the Society of Professional Journalists”:
A true journalist is “… seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.”
The argument can persuasively be made that the Idaho Falls newspaper frequently stumbles when seeking truth. However, the average reader is usually unaware of the extent of that failing, since even the mistakes and missteps that are corrected are found in small paragraphs hidden among massive ads on inner pages.
And the “fair” part? “Fair” is one adjective that is rarely used to describe the Idaho Falls newspaper. Take, for example, the hit job performed on the Boy Scouts with the never-ending parade of articles blaming the BSA for one man’s actions over a decade ago. Yes, that man should be brought to justice. Does it rate nearly daily reporting on the situation for 3-4 years? Probably not.
And yet Roger Plothow and his fellow newspaper people were thrilled to excess with the “journalistic” prizes they won with the original series. These “honors” were further illustration of just how far Plothow’s sense of excellence and fairness diverges from his readers’.
In fact, the circulation of the Idaho Falls newspaper appears to continue in decline, due, at least in part, to the aforementioned series. Many locals who threatened for years to cancel their subscriptions were finally pushed to follow through. Despite claims that online and print versions have never been more widely read, I believe the newspaper is in trouble. Be sure to read a previous post on this subject. And for your information, the Idaho Falls newspaper continues to fail to report their circulation to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, unlike the Boise Statesman and the Twin Falls Times-News. This begs the question: How DOES the Idaho Falls paper document circulation to their advertisers?
Now there is talk of eliminating completely the Monday print edition of the paper, while making it available online. That is not a proposal that comes from a thriving newspaper, especially one which has just invested substantially in new printing equipment. It is also rather strange for a newspaper which, as shown by a recent survey, is read mostly by those over 55 years of age, those least likely to have access to the internet. And, in my humble opinion, their website is in every way inferior to those of the 3 local television stations with whom they appear to be in direct competition.
But let us return to Mr. Plothow’s arrogant and “self-important” musings. Says he:
Good journalism needn’t be humorless or colorless…
By all indications, humor is still found on the pages of the Idaho Falls newspaper. And I don’t mean the comics.
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