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Thursday Thirteen #102: 13 Story Ideas for The Oregonian/You Missed the Boat

July 18th, 2007

Thursday 13ers and Usual Suspects, we have company today. The Oregonian is here. Sure, they won’t leave comments or anything, but they’re here.

Hi, guys.

“It’s such a good feeling/
To know you’re alive/
It’s such a happy feeling/
You’re growing inside!/
And when you wake up, ready to say:
‘I think I’ll make a snappy new day’ (snap, snap)/
It’s such a good feeling/
A very good feeling…”

— Mr. Rogers

1) I have a new mission. That mission is to ensure that Thee O never ever ever again writes about the “hott new fad” of tattooing. Or “Salsa Dance! New on the Scene!” Or any of the other boring pap they keep spewing out. No more pap! If I must shame them, then so be it. So, please, you lazyass reporters — write about tattooing. But instead of the usual schtick, do a photo spread of cool tattoos. Or an article about laser-ing them off: Cost & Effectiveness. Regrets from aging punk rockers. Or maybe you could interview some long-time tattoo artists about their thoughts on City Hall or… something. Anything. But please…

“They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.”
— Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous”

2) Speaking of art: St. Johns. What’s going on over there? Lents. What’s going on out there? Hott new housing market! (You heard it here first. Wacky Mommy tells all.)

3) Speaking of St. Johns: Pattie’s Homeplate and Ye Olde Gift Shoppe in the back. Interview the locals and the crew. Have a burger and a milkshake. You’ll need the energy, for all the work you’ll be doing later.

4) There’s always Irish dance and contra-dances, and swing dancing, African dance, tap-dance and all that. Not that I can dance. But I hear others can. Go find them.

5) There’s the Art House, the whole cult of scrapbooking (and the soon-to-be-gone Clown House, art of a different sort) and the Dawg House. Oh, wait — I think they’re out of business. Buh-bye.

6) Photos of kids at Pier Pool and Peninsula Pool. Not just Wilson, Sellwood and Grant pools. Just sayin’.

7) Meth? Got some? Yeah, me neither. While I did appreciate the work of Steve Suo, Erin Hoover Barnett and the other reporters on the “METH EPIDEMIC IN OREGON! OH MY HECK! IT’S RAINING METH!” I would have appreciated it even more had you bozos covered the story when I first brought it up in 1994-1995 — and brought it up. And brought it up again. Remember? No, I’m not over-inflating my sense of self-worth. I really wanted some action on this story, but no dice.

You all, editors and reporters alike, kept saying, “No story!” Even then, it wasn’t exactly a “new” story, was it?

How did I know? My idiot friends and neighbors. But what really nagged at me, what continues to haunt me to this day, is the affects of meth on children and babies. You’ve done minimal work on this. Please do more. Families are torn apart by it, kids are in foster care, you’ve got kids who were exposed to porn and all kinds of crazy shit because of their checked-out parents — this isn’t worth a story? It’s a nationwide problem that no one is talking about. Which brings me to…

8) Medical stories. There hasn’t been enough written about the lack of studies on the effects of meth, not just on kids (physically and emotionally) but on grown-ups, too. What does it do to people’s bodies? Can they recover? Brain scans? Receptors? As it compares to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Affect? We can pay ungodly sums for a war none of us want, but we can’t do an expose (or even an informed story, asking “Please can someone connect the dots?”) on this topic.

I would also like to know more about genetic testing and abortions. You want to tackle that one? Yep, I didn’t think the Stickels would care to discuss it.

9) How about our friend Ritalin? What about kids becoming suicidal and/or homicidal from anti-depressants? What about autism? What about special ed kids being mainstreamed in Portland Public Schools and across the nation (new trend — you read it here first. Wacky Mommy points out the obvious once again)?

How about talking to some families who maybe aren’t friends or co-workers about their concerns? I know that as a volunteer in the classroom, it has been a little too much of a learning experience for me working with kids who need to be in contained classrooms (and in some cases, sadly, they need to be in residential care).

As a volunteer without a background in special ed, I am ill-equipped. For educators who are flying solo, no aides, maybe one or two parent volunteers, and thirty kids in the classroom, the teachers are ill-equipped, as well.

(And how about putting Portland Public Schools coverage back with the education team, instead of chucking it to the frou-frou weekly Portland section?)

10) Speaking of kids — instead of all the gushy stories on international adoption, why not do some stories on domestic adoptions, specifically those that are through the state. How long does it take? How much does it cost? How do you get started? What about meth, again?

11) Let’s learn from our past mistakes, shall we?

“I have a terrible memory; I never forget a thing.”
– Edith Konecky, writer

12) Neil Goldschmidt. He “had an affair” with a teenage girl, according to Thee O. It was not “rape,” it was “an affair.” Thanks, ya assholes.

13) Bob Packwood. Let us not forget that he harassed an Oregonian reporter — a helluva nice woman — who told her editors. Who laughed at her. Thanks, ya jerk-offs.

“…the feeling you know/
That I’ll be back/
When the day is new/
And I’ll have more ideas
For you/
And you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about.

— Mr. Rogers




  1. Joely says

    Meth is super bad here in MO too. Happy TT!

    July 18th, 2007 | #

  2. Jenny says

    Obviously this rag is worthless if they weren’t listening to you. So is it old money that is keeping the paper going?

    Our local isn’t too bad, liberal enough for me and with stories about local politics and national. The neighborhood town paper is another story all together, lame, lame, lame.

    Love your posts, there’s no holding back!

    July 18th, 2007 | #

  3. R says

    How about these:

    1. There are over half a million kids in foster care in the US, and thousands in Oregon. Yet there is no comprehensive coverage of this huge issue in the Oregonian. All we get is drive-by articles whenever someone in DHS screws up, and a few “lucky” foster kids who are peddled like used furniture in the Thursday living section. The fact these kids cannot speak for themselves doesn’t erase the media responsibility to report on their behalf. Lets hear more about these thousands of kids. Are they being taken care? By who? Are foster parents supported? Why isn’t Salem getting their feet held to the fire on funding? The articles I’ve seen on foster care often show an alarming lack of background knowledge by the reporter, such as federal laws, the family court system, DHS policies (and how they have changed dramatically in past years) the impact of meth, resources for birth parents, legal rights and representation, etc. For instance, one article stated a meth-addicted baby was “healthy.” A physically healthy baby can still have severe delays and cognitive issues, but reading the article you would have no idea. In fact you would have no idea just how pervasive this problem is.

    2. There is obviously a simmering debate about downtown crime and liveability, but the Oregonian seems hamstrung on the issue because of its boosterism. The paper seems more concerned with promoting downtown as a “great place to live and shop” than factual reporting on the crimes that occur. Lets have a serious look at how safe/unsafe downtown is, and that would include hard reporting. For instance, how many assaults, robberies, etc? How do residents and tourists feel? What do police say? If there are problems, what are the problems and how can they be resolved?

    3. Segregation in schools. This problem has a history in Portland that deserves being explored, from our reaction to busing in the 1970s to the imbalance between neighborhood schools and magnet schools. Speaking of magnet schools, is there a reason why a school like MLC is allowed to handpick their students and still gets funding? I have a friend who applied to get their child into MLC and was asked to provide a portfolio and references. How many children of gas station attendants or non-English speaking parents can create portfolios? Just because the school has a veneer of being liberal hippies doesn’t make the process any less exclusionary.

    July 18th, 2007 | #

  4. Ed says

    Isn’t it bad when that is the biggest paper ion our home state. Maybe one of these ays they will wake up and print news not the commerrcial pap they are now pushing

    July 18th, 2007 | #

  5. Damozel says

    It’s a good point about the state of journalism in general. Our local paper is actually pretty good. but I get all my headlines from the Washington Post these days and all my world news from the British papers (since American ones don’t cover it…)

    July 19th, 2007 | #

  6. byoc says

    Wow, I guess I should read my local more thoroughly – very interesting.

    July 19th, 2007 | #

  7. Malcolm says

    Interesting TT. Maybe this will cause some changes to be made.

    July 19th, 2007 | #

  8. Tink says

    Sounds like reading this TT-list is more interesting than reading your local paper! I hope they’ll listen to you.
    Thanks for visiting my full moon TT.

    July 19th, 2007 | #

  9. Vixen says

    Happy TT Wacky Mommy! Thanks for stopping by my TT. Yea, that comment cracked me up!

    July 19th, 2007 | #

  10. Thursday 13 #4 at Vixen’s Den says

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  11. Mark Caldwell says

    I often wonder if the reporters for my local paper pick their stories up based on what they see on the way into work. I’ve seen stories about a dead cat being seen up a tree yet the same day I’ve seen nearly forty emergency services vehicles outside a building not get a mention…

    July 19th, 2007 | #

  12. pussreboots says

    Interesting list. You should send them a copy. Happy TT.

    July 19th, 2007 | #

  13. TorAa says

    You really got so many relevant points here, so I keep it this this simple comment – unless it could easily be a book (but the in Norwgian at first hand…)

    July 19th, 2007 | #

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    July 21st, 2007 | #

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