Sunday, October 21, 2007

Herald's Chicken: A Change in Policy

posted by Peter Rossi

Hyde Park Herald Editor, Lucianno Lombardy, announced a change in the paper's long-standing policy of placing editorials on all pages of the newspaper. Starting with this week's issue (October 17, 2007), editorializing will be confined to the editorial page.

"In the past, we felt it necessary to infuse our stories with liberal editorializing," explained Lombardy. "We had an obligation to our NIMBY readership to keep the banner of protest flying."

"However, recent Blog developments have caused us to reconsider our policy. We are subject to close scrutiny -- we just can't get away with murder anymore." Lombardy also cited declining readership due to recent increases in the Hyde Park mortality rate.

Lombardy pointed to the long standing Herald practice of manufacturing misleading headlines. As an example, he cited the headline on the page one story on the Point, "Congress moves closer to funding Point study." "This headline loosely conveys the truth. Before our change in policy, we would have written "Congress approves limestone for the Point." Mr. Lombardy hastened to add --- "We still must have our fun. The headline is still misleading as no funding is made available by the Water Resources Development Act mentioned in the article -- this requires an appropriations bill."

Herald headline writer, Jack Hyde, was disciplined by the paper for his work on the lead headline "Co-op Launches Board Search." While true, the essence of the story is that the Co-op is in deep financial trouble, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and has a negative equity. "We regret this mistake. Our staff is used to the old ways. It will take us some time to teach our dogs new tricks."

For those who are nostalgic for the Herald of the past, the editorial page still provides incoherent ramblings on current issues. Mr. Lombardy is particularly proud of this week's "Hospital Talks Must Include Residents."

"We understand that many in the community will wonder why we want to keep an ugly, mediocre building and keep jobs and a badly needed hotel out of our community. This is why we chose to confuse the issue by dragging out our favorite paranoid conspiracy theory- lack of community involvement. We like to contradict our own news coverage of community meetings on the Hospital. We are counting on the Alderman folding like she did on the Point."

Lombardy is considering a change in the paper's policy on letters to the editor. "In the past, we censored letters that represented views contrary to the NIMBY point of view. We were particularly vigilant about letters which indicated how widespread support is for progress in our community. We are giving serious thought to allowing different points of view. This might increase readership, but we still aren't sure."

However, Mr. Lombardy promises to keep the "Jack B. Nimby and Hans More-bucks" policy of allowing these writers unlimited space. "We have our traditions, we aren't giving up on all of them yet."

No comments: