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The Oregonian Needs Help from Wacky Mommy

July 18th, 2007

Jack Bog has an interesting discussion going on about some shake-ups at the Oregonian, our daily newspaper here in town. Check it out.

What are the newspapers like in your cities? Boring as ours? More boring? Do you read them, or just hand them to your kid so she can read the funnies? That’s what happens at our house. I do love the TV listings. And Chelsea Cain. She talks about her dead mother even more often than I talk about my dead father.

It’s kismet, really.

Speaking of death — Are newspapers a dying breed? Yes. And here I am to give them a good shove into the tar pits. Just kidding — it’s not that dire. Well, yes, it kinda is, now that I think about it. What did Molly Ivins say last year about newspapers? Something about you have a failing product, so make it smaller and give people less? Sure, that’s the answer. I miss you Molly, you were a big honey.

The difference between blogs and newspapers? People read us. And there’s a certain etiquette — blogiquette — with bloggers. Play nice. Tell the truth. Don’t bore the shit out of people or no one will read you. But as they said on Jeopardy! the other night (category: Proverbs): “If you’re not part of the solution…” “What is you’re part of the problem?” Yes, for $400.

So I’m here to help.

I have other things I’d rather be doing right now. Having coffee with Hockey God, for instance, before he leaves for work. Getting a manicure. Visiting with Rockstar Mommy, my New Jersey girlfriend and morning coffee date, or checking in with Joy Unexpected to see who’s guest-posting today. (That’s the thing about blogs — you’ve got friends and loyal readers. So Y from the Internet — Joy Unexpected — can say dammit, my neck is a mess, will someone write something here? And about 800 readers step up to the plate.) Amalah is always a delight. And not too sweet.

But this is more important.

Today, we start with a few tips for the staff of Thee O:

1) Don’t bore the shit out of people. It’s unforgivable. In the eight years I worked for Thee O, I kept telling you this. Did you listen? No. (And you’re paying for it now, aren’t you?) Did you believe me? No. Believe me. When no one is asking, “What happened next?” they don’t want to hear your story.

2) Hang up the phone and leave the building. No, not to get coffee or go to Higgins for drinks. To talk with people. To interview people — in person. To ask people, “What happened next?”

3) Don’t be assholes to the copy aides and clerks. They’re as smart as you are. In some cases, smarter. Also better looking. Also, don’t harass them. They might get a blog someday. They might have one right now. I mean, look how I turned out.

4) Jonathan Nicholas — stop relying on e-mails and faxes for news. You could all put this advice to good use. News does not always come in the form of a press release.

5) Don’t think you’re all that important, people, because you’re not. I’m not, either. No one is that important. Except Zoot. Zoot is that important. And Dooce. You know. “My friends, you bow to no one…” All bow down to Zoot and Dooce.

One of my favorite reporters at Thee O, who I will not name because he’s adorable and I love him to this day, was an extremely humble kind of guy. People would gush, you know, all, “Oh, super Mr. Reporter Guy, I loved your story, you did such a good job!” etc. (He’s old school. I love old school) and he’d say, “Eh, I just typed it up. They’re the ones that did it.” (Rescued someone, saved the day, lived to be 115, whatever the case.)

Ditto, a female reporter, the ex-wife of a hotshot reporter, who shall go unnamed because I like ’em both and bloggers are protective that way (more blogiquette for you), told me, “You know what I tell our kid? Your dad types for a living. Yeah. I type for a living, too.”

We can all learn a little something here.

6) You’re overpaid and you’re non-union. And you’re extremely jealous of PERS. Keep all of that in mind.

7) You need to stop fucking around. I mean — literally. Leave her husband alone. Leave his wife alone. Leave his/her girlfriend/boyfriend alone. Keep your mitts offa each other, see? If you’re married — go pay attention to your spouse. If you’re single — date someone else who’s single.

8) Stay out of the hot tub. That’s all I’m saying about that one.

Hmm. I think I’ve covered enough for today. Tomorrow? Thirteen Story Ideas: You Missed the Boat Again.




  1. Sarah says

    This made me giggle. I especially like #5!
    I can’t stand reading the boring ‘ol Oregonian. I only look at it for the funnies … I’m one of those “sure I get it for my kids” people! ;) (Childless still! LOL)

    July 18th, 2007 | #

  2. Worker Mommy says

    Yeah, I pretty much line the birdcage with the Seattle Times/P-I :)

    July 18th, 2007 | #

  3. Mallory says

    Ooooo this is so interesting, to hear the real newsroom scuttlebutt. Hot tubs? Wife swapping? Forget the el blando news, report about this!

    July 18th, 2007 | #

  4. Betsy says

    Did you catch the news that Nicholas will be writing *editorials*from now on and giving up the column?

    The mind boggles….

    July 18th, 2007 | #

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