Sunday, November 29, 2009

Farewell, Mike

I got the phone call from somebody at the office who had seen it on the wire: Mike Penner had died in Southern California at age 52. The Los Angeles Times obit, written by Keith Thursby, is here.

Former Timesman Ross Newhan remembers Mike here. And Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register writes about him here.

Pretty much everybody in the business knows Mike's story, and it's literally a "I'll never forget" moment when he wrote the column heard round the world. I was on the golf course and got about 10 calls to my cell phone. Not much point in rehashing it.

I just remember Mike as one of the finest writers I have ever worked with, an extremely creative mind who came up with some of the best lines I've ever read or heard. But they were never forced in his columns; they always worked. And he was a good person.

I'll also remember Mike's annual holiday gift to some of his friends, his KPEN compilation of that year's best alternative (I'm hoping that's the right word; some of it was admittedly beyond me) music. I was kind of sad the first year I didn't get one after moving back to Florida, but I understood. I was kind of out of the circle.

I can't really even begin to imagine what he has gone through in the past few years -- well, I guess it's more a lifetime -- and to me, saying "perhaps he has finally found peace," while well-intentioned, doesn't quite fit. I wish he had found it while he was still with us instead.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Doyel on The Media and Michael Vick

Gregg Doyel on says the coverage of Michael Vick is proving all the bad things people believe about the media.

I love this business and always will, but his premise is hard to argue with.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

To directly quote or to not directly quote

I basically posted this same thing on People might be out of steam on this subject, but I think this Richard Prince blog entry is an interesting one.

We've talked about this numerous times, but there are some other thoughts about the whole thing.

Whenever this comes up, I have to laugh a little about this from AP:

"Never alter quotations even to correct minor grammatical errors or word usage. Casual minor tongue slips may be removed by using ellipses but even that should be done with extreme caution. If there is a question about a quote, either don't use it or ask the speaker to clarify. . . . Do not use substandard spellings such as gonna or wanna in attempts to convey regional dialects or informal pronunciations, except to help a desired touch in a feature."

I positively guarantee you that AP doesn't come close to following its own rule on this. As if every athlete ever quoted in an AP story is quoted verbatim.

My career stops have uniformly cleaned up quotes except for features. But I understand the debate, and the added complication of more and more people being able to hear the direct quote, a discern it's different than the written one, because of multimedia is an interesting one.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bernie Lincicome wastes no time writing again

As promised, Bernie Lincicome has quickly transitioned from a columnist at the former Rocky Mountain News to one of the more highly talented bloggers you're going to run across.

Bernie's blog is here.

And Phil Rosenthal's Chicago Tribune story on it is here.

I consider Bernie a mentor, somebody that had a profound impact on my entire career. He's also a hell of a read and worth checking out regularly.

Note to Bernie: The death of the Rockie = bad thing. The new freedom you have to write about whatever the hell you want = good thing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

One of my favorite columns remembered ...

Al Martinez wrote his (presumably last) farewell column in the L.A. Times dated today, and it reminds me of one of my all-time favorites. Al wasn't that well know to readers outside of L.A., although he should have been, but you can find this column in numerous places on the web.

Here's one version, a Christmas story.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tribute to a copy editor

This blog is called sports writing AND editing, and that's why we were glad to see this Patrick Reusse tribute to Star-Tribune copy editor Bud Armstrong, who retired last night after 43 years there.

These are the kind of people that the business is losing -- at least Bud made it to the end on his terms -- and it's going to continue to diminish the quality of the daily paper ( for however long those are around).

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Interesting story about sports writing

Gary Andrew Poole writes an interesting story the Columbia Journalism Review about how to save sports writing, and basically, he wants newspapers to go backward in time and stress good writing. (That's VERY basically.)

Good idea. I don't think newspaper management as it is currently running things is smart enough to buy it, though.