Archive for the 'Media' Category

Tim Hoover headed to Denver

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Tim Hoover of the Kansas City Star has accepted a job as the statehouse reporter for the Denver Post.

You can still reach Tim today and tomorrow at thoover@kcstar.com.

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Early contender for Sentence of the Year

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

It will be hard for any sentence in a straight news story to top this one, as penned by Alyson Raletz in today’s St. Joseph News-Press:

“Mr. Bartle resumed his filibuster after 2 p.m., when he discussed the calorie count of diet strawberry limeades and admitting he was wearing dirty socks.”

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Merrie Spaeth’s Bimbo Newsletter

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

A few months ago, I did a little song and dance at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Action Seminar here in St. Louis. Before the event, the Chamber’s Michael Grote suggested I stick around after my talk to hear the lunch speaker.

Well dadgummit, when Mike Grote makes a suggestion I take heed, and boy am I glad I did — Merrie Spaeth was the guest speaker, and she was phenomenal.

Merrie puts together what she calls the “Bimbo Awards”, named in honor of Jessica Hahn’s infamous “I am not a bimbo” quote. Every month, Merrie documents how public figures — many of them elected officials — choose words which put themselves, or their organizations, in a negative light.

Merrie’s monthly newsletter is the perfect (free) gift for anyone whose responsibilities include interacting with the media.

If you browse the newsletter archives, you’ll notice a recurrent theme: The biggest “bimbos” have fallen into the trap of denying the reporter’s negative words and themes instead of affirming their own positive ones. Reporters know what kinds of things they want — or, at the very least, expect — you to say before they even pick up the phone. It’s your choice whether or not their particular angle will frame the dominant narrative.

Even top-tier candidates fall into the trap. Just the other day, Barack Obama told the AP: “The fact that I’m raising obscene amounts of money for this presidential race doesn’t make me a hypocrite.” Which two words of that sentence will you be most likely to remember? Think he’d like to get that one back?

This month’s Bimbo Newsletter is here. Spoiler alert: The winning quote is, “I don’t have sex with my monkey.” Nice.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

Updates on Matt Stearns, Josh Flory

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Matt Stearns has left his beat at the Kansas City Star for a national general assignment role at McClatchy’s Washington Bureau. Matt’s successor on the Kansas City beat is Rob Hotakainen, who comes from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Rob has been at McClatchy’s Washington Bureau since 1999, and worked in the newsroom in Minneapolis from 1986-1998.

Josh Flory, formerly of the Columbia Daily Tribune, is at the Knoxville News-Sentinel, where he covers business. Josh recently started latinista.net, which focuses on Latin American news. Today’s news roundup: “Rappers, liberals and high-speed wireless.”

For what it’s worth — and to me, it’s worth a lot — Josh was the first reporter to mention a Missouri political blog in print. He did it in August 2003, two years before the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star started their blogs. At the time, other reporters used sites like mine for information but either couldn’t, or wouldn’t, push Internet references past their stodgy old editors. Josh did, and eventually other papers followed suit.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.