Saturday, March 15, 2008

OOPS! * **

It's a big mistake that most likely could have been avoided, if the Press-Telegram had control of its own copy editors, instead of shipping them out of Long Beach.

Friday (March 14), a story about the selection of Cerritos Mayor Jim Edwards didn't feature his picture. Instead, a picture of an accused child molester had been inserted by the Daily Breeze "better" production system into the Press-Telegram.

The preliminary report from Torrance, the homebase for most of the "new" Press-Telegram, is that there was a technical problem.

Yeah, like not having enough "local" copy editors who would know the difference.

* March 19 clarification: We've received quite a bit of flack for this post, as the comments will show. In pointing out the above error as an example of the downside in LANG's decision to move P-T copy editors to a universal copy desk outside Long Beach, several of our colleagues — experienced P-T copy editors who recently transfered to the Torrance Daily Breeze as part of LANG's consolidation-and-cut strategy — thought that we were taking a cheap shot at their (and Breeze copy editors') competency and professionalism. That was not the intent of the post and we regret that it has been taken that way.

** We welcome passionate dialogue and discussion but recent comments to this particular post contain personal attacks. Further comments to it will not be published. Concerned readers are encouraged to contact us at — Moderators


Anonymous said...

Was it a case of two people with similar names? Or was the other picture supposed to run somewhere else in the paper? How did it happen?

And, of course, this is exactly the sort of problem that everyone warned about, exactly the sort of embarrassing, credibility-destroying, lawsuit-promting goof. And now that management can see that not only CAN it happen, but it DID happen, I'm sure they'll do exactly what we expect them to do -- nothing.

Feenomite said...

There were just as many screw-ups made when we were still at the Arco Towers. If not more.
For what it's worth the management employee relations here are far better then they were at the old site. I've had actual conversations with the managing editor here.
Plus, there is a much greater work ethic here than there was at the old building....
The shake up might have been tragic but in the end I am actually beginning to think it will be for the better in the long run....
They have learned to do a lot more with less here, based in large part to the lack of the "that's not in my contract mentality" that was overly spouted amongst many of my former guild compatriots....
Instead of being snarky and chiming in with the screwup we made why not look in the mirror and see all mistakes the guild has made and continues to make?
Like eliminating the stringer to help on the phones to allow us to have a strong prep section that the readers want. How is that helping the guys who answer the phones?
How does that better serve the community?
I know why it was done, and whose incompetent personage you are trying to re-insert into a job he doesn't deserve and it sickens me...
Fight for those who deserve the fight, not for those who don't.

Anonymous said...

It was not a case of people with similar names, it was a technical glitch on the page control side. It's easy to sit in the back of the class and take cheap shots, isn't it? The thing is, it says more about you than your victim.

Anonymous said...

Ooops! Well, gee howdy, that sure didn't take long. I think every Daily Breeze copy editor is feeling your knife in their backs. Oh, I know, I know, you are not attacking any DB editors personally, just crying about 1. Loss of control 2. Layoffs 3. Lack of respect from MediaNews bigshots 4. So many council meetings to bitch at and not enough time to go to them all 5. Insert Your Beef Here, etc. etc. etc. The fact remains, your wonderful Ooops blog insinuates that 1. DB staffers caused the unfortunate glitch and 2. Gee, they just aren't as good as Long Beach copy editors. With all the Long Beach copy editors at the Breeze now, can you say for certain not ONE of your editors saw the story, photo or final page before it went in? I can only speak for my anonymous self, but you keep up with this Ooops, look what THEY did mentality, and you won't have many friends left. My point is this: Tread carefully my LB friends. The DB staffers are not your enemy. Don't make them such with rude, insinuating comments. As if the PT NEVER made any mistakes when fully staffed! It's the nature of our newspaper business. Glitches will come and go. But worthy colleagues are worth treasuring. As one pillar of the community so eloquently put it -- can't we all get along? Tread lightly ... your constant whining, and now finger pointing, is pissing people off that you can't afford to piss off.

Anonymous said...

That is so much bull crap. The same error could have easily happened at the PT and you know it. Quityurbitchin for crying out loud. You would do well to take down that blog item, just makes you look stupid.

Anonymous said...

You can dress it up and put rouge and lipstick on it all you want, but it's still a CHEAP shot. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who posted it, but i find this comment offensive:

"Plus, there is a much greater work ethic here than there was at the old building...."

I have no ax to grind against any former co-workers (or any sister paper employees-I got along fine with the Breeze folks in all my interactions) but to the person that wrote this comment I have to say:
I don't know about you, but I always worked my but off at the PT-regardless of the location-and I still would (if I were still with you guys). Maybe I was naïve, or foolish, but I cared about the paper that I helped produce everyday.
We all did the best we could with what we had to work with and I commend my former co-workers for their perseverance.
Miss ya and good-luck guys.

Anonymous said...

The impotent Union spends more time holding grudges and picking useless fights than it does actually attempting to accomplish something for the good of the Press-telegram.
That is why the Union was so easily busted, and why the Press-Telegram is a shell of what it used to be. Feenomite is dead on.

Anonymous said...

I haven't always agreed with all of the methods used by, or opinions of, some of the unions reps over the years but keep this in mind:
MediaNews is not a generous company, every raise PT employees were given (since the paper was purchased) was fought for by the union.
They fought for increases in shift differentials, mileage reimbursement, updated equipment, better benefits and just plain decent treatment.
And if you were ever unfairly targeted by management than you would know first-hand what they've done right.
They haven't always succeeded and some reps may lose sight of what's important to the members...but at least they're trying to help.
People complain about how weak this union is (or has become), but they often forget that a union is only as strong as its members make it.

Anonymous said...

Greater work ethic???? I hope your are allowed 5 hours on deciding on where to get dinner and 3 more looking at DVDs all night is awesome!!!!! oh wait lets compare your innovative work against a 14 year experienced prep sports writer. EW is now unemployed, your employed for now you should happy now move on.

Bin-Straw said...

You need a long borderline inappropriate hug.

I know you will be at the rally on Monday in support of the others other than you, see you there.

Anonymous said...

Feenstra, you're usually smarter than this. You don't like Earl, we get it. Does that mean anyone and that gets him out of your hair is ok?

Here's the thing: If you don't pay a fair wage, you're not going to get a lot of good employees, and the few you do get probably aren't going to try that hard to do a good job.

Whether you like the union or not isn't the issue. Because no matter what you think of this or any other union, the bottom line is that MediaNews WILL slash your wages, eliminate your benefits, and eventually cut your job. That is an absolute certainty, the only question is how long it will take for them to get to you.

Maybe you could care less if you get laid off, but I do. Journalism might not be the field you wanted to work it, but it is for most of us. We aren't here because we couldn't hack it in our chosen fields and had to get a day job. This was our first choice. I'm fighting Dean because I love journalism, and people like Singleton are killing this industry.

This union has a bad habit of saying/writing the wrong thing, and this is just the latest example. I don't think they meant to insult the DB. It was a stupid mistake. Either way though, since they're the ONLY shot we have for keeping this industry viable long-term, they have my support.

Feenomite said...

I never had a problem with Earl personally, just proffesionaly. He was a symbol of job entitelment that had spread to a few others.
The "I've been here x number of years therefore I deserve (insert gripe)." Or "I've done job a for 10 years, why should I have to learn skills from job b?"
Happiness with the job wage should have no bearing on how hard you work, I was by far the lowest paid person and yet no one questioned my work ethic.
If there was a new skill to learn I did it, I learned to design, I passed my copy desk test and I learned a good amount about how to manipulate the unisys code to make things look better in the paper.
I did all of that while being a 10buck an hour part-time clerk.
I did my best to make sure the paper that went was the best I could make it. Did I run around and complain that I deserve this or that? No.
I saw and heard about the changes that were coming and wanted to make myself as hireable as possible.
Having had to be a sub worker and doing things on an on-call basis prior to being at the P-T, I totally understood how valuable and important a steady check is, if it meant going beyond my basic job duties to get it done I am ready willing and able to make it happen.
This is the first time I have ever been accused of being anti-union, I am not.
I am anti the apathetic and complacent attitude that had risen up in the guild, anti-entitelment, anti-fighting old fights, anti-sacred cows.
I am anti-pot shots by this blog, all it does is add to the stress we already have in our new situation at the Breeze. We are there doing our best, and to have a blog ran by journalists take a shot at us without it doing some research to find the real reason the screwup was made is why I, and almost all the people who transfered to the DB were so mad.

Anonymous said...

Unions are great. Smart Unions are even better.