September 29, 2006

Great example of bad journalism

Posted in journalism at 7:44 pm by mrsmauck

My local paper ran this as its top story yesterday: “Cheerleader booted for blogging.” Hmmm…sounds like it has the potential to expose some censorship in high school, except this story reads more like gossip on the front page of the paper. The cheerleader posted gossip on her MySpace page about other members of the squad. If a cheerleader were kicked off the squad for gossiping the old-fashioned way about her fellow cheerleaders, would that be news? No, it’s high school politics as usual. I think this was my paper’s effort to get hip with the digital age, as the story followed its lead sentence with the following definitions of MySpace and blogs, both riddled with unhip errors: is an intranet (an interconnected series of web pages,) where you can post pictures, create and update your profile, leave messages or comments from other members, take silly (or serious) quizzes, and write ‘blogs.’ Blogging is keeping an on-line journal, where everyone can view it.

So, according to, an intranet is a private network, not an Internet site anyone can access. Also, how about defining a blog for what it’s short for: weblog, rather than throwing in a hyphenated “on-line.”

I think I’m going to clip this one for my journalism teacher file of “examples of what not to do.” I’ve collected several articles from this paper.

We’ve all heard the stories in the past year or so of people getting fired from their jobs for blogging about their workplace, bosses, company policy, etc. But a cheerleader getting kicked off for posting this on her MySpace page is not quite the same:

“…When people talk about other people, someone always over-hears them… I’m not the only one who (feels) this way. Example: I know somebody on the cheer team that wrote a lot of (expletive) up (expletive) In (Girl’s name)’s death book… like ha ha, you had it coming to you.. anyway she (told) me that I need to quit being a (expletive).”

Another girl copied this entry, added names, and distributed it to people at school. The blogging cheerleader, as she will forever be branded, was then unceremoniously kicked off the team. Unfair? Sounds like it. But local newspaper story? I don’t think so. Sounds like somebody’s aunt worked at the paper and decided to go public through her for revenge.

If you can see the news value in this piece, please point it out to me. Otherwise, this reporter is getting hung out to dry in my future high school journalism class.



  1. Anonymous said,

    That’s why I blog incognito!

  2. mex said,

    Education is +all+ about politics. It stinks! Enjoyed reading yr blog.

    BTW, I am (sorry!) a grammar Nazi. I think the S/V agreement.. should be +was+ instead of +were+ (on the cheerleading sentence.

    How in the world do you find time to do all you do AND blog?

    I was going to try and blog once a month and even that is nearly impossible!

    I still haven’t managed to figure out how to add a blogroll yet. I tried again yesterday and somehow installed a stat counter which I also have NFI how to use or un-install:)

    And then there’s a brandy new message in e-mail and on the blogging site.. something about “Do you want to switch to BETA?”

    Noooo! I don’t! I can barely remember how to log into everything as it is. I am too old to be learning new stuff!!

    Plus, one major gripe I have (now that I am on a rant!! Why can’t I use the same PW for everything? It’s craXy (I like that non-word!) Some places want 6 letters. Some want letters and numbers. You know the deal! Plus, God Forbid trying to post a comment after a glass of wine! Those “word verifications” are hard enuf for us old farts to read on straight cawfee:))

    Anyhoo, I figgered out a few thangs this AM. One is how to put all my favorite sites in bookmark folders! So instead of having a “bar” across the top of my computer w/ about 20 “favorites” (all in a makes-no-sense random order (kind of like my house and Classroom). So anyhow, all that clutter is now in 5 little folders!!

    And yr blog is in the BLOGS I LIKE folder. Now, if only I could learn how to make a BlogRoll cuz I read some funny blogs.

    College professors write two regular ones that I read. I am AMAZED (well, not really) that in college, Profs are dealing with some of the same stuff that I saw in middle school!! For example, one kid asked (a college kid) if the professor was going to include a WORD BANK on the upcoming quiz!! Can you believe that!!

    Thx for sharing, Kim.


    PS. I didnt edit ‘cuz.. 1. I am too lazy. 2. The spell check doesn’t work for me on a MAC

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