This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 7, 2009 1:18 PM. The previous post in this blog was Under the rug. The next post in this blog is I don't think it's him. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dear Editor: It's Groundhog Day

An alert reader writes:

I don't know if you get the dead tree Oregonian anymore, so you might have missed it. Evidently the letters to the editor published in Saturday's edition were so insightful that the paper decided to publish all of them again this morning. No, really.
The reader's right; we no longer subscribe. Did this actually happen? Too funny.

Comments (13)

I thought they looked familiar.

Yeah, hell let's bury the Oregonian and all the other "dead tree" media. We don't need actual reporters doing research and going out to report on "stories", not when we can toss our opinions back and forth as a substitute for actual news.

I'm not sure if it was all of them, but I did notice one was reprinted from Sunday.

Yeah, I don't think it was all of them, but a letter from a SW Portland guy against putting MAX on the new I5 bridge did make a repeat appearance.


Yes, that was the one I noticed also.

let's bury the Oregonian and all the other "dead tree" media

That would not be good, but I think they're burying themselves. Thanks for tossing your opinion in, Dean.

Either this means that so few people bother to comment, and the O had to fill the space, or the letters they're receiving aren't up to someone's standards. I vote the latter. (Things could always be worse. I once worked for a weekly where the editorial staff admitted writing fake letters to the editor raving about the paper's star columnist, mostly because he'd throw insane coke-fueled temper tantrums if he didn't see his name alongside gushing hype in each issue. You can bet, when he became assistant editor, that he didn't pay the favor forward to his fellow writers.)

There was more than one repeat — I recognized three or four, maybe more, from the weekend. None of them really worth saying more than once, either.

We have a friend who used to be a Big O reporter who used to explain the weird hours to the kid by saying "Someone's got to write everything because they don't allow any blank spaces in the paper."

Now that they don't seem to have much use for editors (see, e.g., the regular appearance of "loose" for lose, the regular use of "refute" where "rebut" would be correct, etc.) it's not surprising that letters get randomly repeated. As long as there's no grey space in between the few ads, they're set for another day.

As for penning them yourselves, that's quite an historic tradition. Benjamin Franklin used to write and print all the letters on both sides of a hot dispute in his paper.

Well, you won't have Sandy Rowe to kick around anymore:

Not that this former WW waterhog was ever kicked around personally on this blog.

The O gets tons of letters and can't print more than a small percentage of them. Yet in the editions I saw on Saturday and Monday, the exact same letters were run, and almost in the same order. What I suspect is that there is a different editor on weekends than the rest of the week. The Sunday night editor pulls up a page on the computer screen and there's all these letters laid out, ready to go, and doesn't realize they already had run. Instead, he or she thinks the other guy has set them up to run.

When I was in the newspaper biz, we had a rule: "Read the damn paper." It's appalling how many reporters and editors don't. And I'm sure the staff is so thin, there's no one left to backstop screw ups like this.

Perhaps the obvious: the letters editor didn't show up over the weekend or there was a production mishap at deadline.

I'm surprised that a lot of this content isn't already in the can for just this type of situation.

Similarly, I always wondered why nothing was run in the papers when columnists were on assignment or vacation. They never write more than whats needed?

What ever happened to the editing room floor?

On today's letters page (Tuesday) they admitted that a "series of errors" had caused the letters from the weekend to be reprinted on Monday.

Clicky Web Analytics