2-4-2006 When is a "scoop" not a scoop?

The following e-mail presents us with an interesting question? What constitutes an “exclusive” in our highly competitive local newspaper market?

From the e-mail inbox After reading your article in the Times Leader, maybe we should call you Pajama Dude! Hey, it's all about comfort, right?

Anyway, here's something about the Leader I've seen. What's with all the pointless exclusives? That Howard Beale fellow said something about it Beale‘s Bites, and there's something about today's downtown bookstore EXCLUSIVE being swiped from the Wilkes paper. Da frick's up with that?

Hey, love the blog. Rock on!

As a lowly pajama-clad blogger, I’ve wondered about the “exclusive” tag in the past. Here’s one that comes to mind. A few years ago I took the time to list the names of every member of our police department and what their assigned duties entailed. What I wanted to know was exactly how many of them were assigned to the patrol division. I forget the exact numbers these days, but it worked out to something like 65 total officers with, say, 45 of them actually assigned to patrolling our streets. When you take into affect that they had to man three different shifts seven days a week, it became painfully obvious that their ranks were spread way to thin to effectively guarantee our safety or that of their own.

So I published my findings and titled the post “Number Crunching.” After the passage of a few days, I opened one of the local papers (I think it was the Voice) only to find the same damn story reworked and reworded. Was that an exclusive? Well, I guess if only one of the two local newspapers was reporting the story--it was an exclusive of sorts. But is it a legitimate exclusive when you tweak the work of a lowly blogger and rush it to print? Doesn’t seem like it to me. Then again, the “mainstream media” still views bloggers as little more than hapless fools ranting in place, so I guess they feel no need to credit their sources, or, should I say, the original inspiration for their gifted works of print journalism.

To take this question a bit further, it is a certifiable exclusive story when a local student-run college newspaper reports practically the exact same story 5 days in advance of the local newspaper? I’m no Howard Beale, but it seems kind of fishy to me.

Here’s the Times Leader’s “exclusive” dated Saturday, February 4, 2006:

Colleges consider combined bookstore Exclusive

LCCC, Wilkes, King’s have shown interest in a joint venture in downtown W-B.

By BONNIE ADAMS badams@leader.net

WILKES-BARRE – Three local colleges are joining the effort to bring a large chain-type bookstore and café to the Innovation Center @ Wilkes-Barre on South Main Street.

Luzerne County Community College President Patricia Donohue said representatives of Wilkes University and King’s College approached LCCC about creating a joint bookstore that would be accessible to students and the public.

“This would not be just another college bookstore. It would be a major business for downtown,” Donohue said.

Read it all

And here’s The Beacon article published on January 30, 2006:

University officials mull shared downtown bookstore space

King's and LCCC probable partners in move

By: Victoria White

For the past two to three months Wilkes University officials have been investigating the logistics of relocating the campus bookstore to the Innovation Center on Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre and entering into an agreement for a shared bookstore with King's College and possibly Luzerne County Community College.

Read it all

Whatever. We’ll leave that one to the intelligent folks to determine. These important things far exceed my limited capabilities, so I guess I’ll have to stick to drinking copious amounts of trendy agricultural amusement aids for now.

From the Newspaper Association of America‘s Presstime Magazine:

The Battle for Readers

This dude still owes me a few cases of beer for the exclusives he mined from my site. Wait. Click on that link and then click on the “HIS MUG” link. You gotta see this one to believe it.

From CNN.com:

In Munich, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she understood Muslims' hurt, but denounced violent reactions.

"I can understand that religious feelings of Muslims have been injured and violated," Merkel said at an international security conference, " but I also have to make clear that I feel it is unacceptable to see this as legitimizing the use of violence."

But incensed faithful in some parts of the Muslim world had no use for such words. A leader of the Islamic militant Hamas group, which recently swept Palestinian parliamentary elections, told an Italian newspaper on Saturday that the cartoons were an "unforgivable insult" that should be punished by death.

"We should have killed all those who offend the Prophet and instead here we are, protesting peacefully," Mahmoud Zahar, a top leader of the militant Islamic group that won the January 25 Palestinian elections, told Italian daily Il Giornale.

"We should have killed them, we should have required just punishment for those who respect neither religion nor its holiest symbols," Zahar was quoted as saying.

Gotcha. Objectionable editorial cartoons should be punishable by death. Very nice. These goons are to intolerance what the Bay City Rollers were to lameness. You do have to wonder where all of this fanaticism is going to lead us to. Maybe we should re-institute the draft. Well, that is, provided that we can figure out how to blame it on George Bush.

One side can spew hate, but the other side has to censure everything it does. Sounds like a program to me. A program sure to lead to more and more bloodletting.

I found this at the Joe Hoeffel & Friends web site:

Politicians and public servants in the past have tried to put the city on the path to recovery, but each attempt to bring some economic stability proved to be nothing more than a band aid. When I left at the end of my senior year at Wilkes, the City was millions of dollars in debt, with little to stimulate growth but their hopes, dreams, and ideas. When Tom Leighton was elected to the office of Mayor in 2002 (six months after I graduated), he was so committed to slashing the deficit that he kept the same old broken-down desk in the Mayor’s office and opted not to buy a new one.

Follow the link and read on:

A vision for Wilkes-Barre

Well, the Salvation army showroom on Kidder Street is now open for business.

Wowie Zowie!!!

I‘m sure everyone read the newspaper stories about the woman from Wilkes-Barre who allegedly ripped-off the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so there’s no need to go pasting either of them here today.

And I’m sure you’re not wondering about my take on any of that. Yeah, it’s disgusting, it’s despicable, it’s shameful and somebody needs to have a very, very heavy book thrown at them. This situation reminds me of what I used to repeat to my assistant managers back in my restaurant management days: “Where there’s money, there’s games played.” In other words, keep your eyes wide open and protect our freaking assets. Whatever.


Anyway, I snagged the following blurb from The Times Leader, and it’s the part of this developing story that got my lid to flipping:

Hardy was fired by Make-A-Wish in April shortly after an internal audit performed by the organization showed money was missing. At the time of her firing, she was earning $63,000 per year.

She was earning $63,000??? What??? For what? To organize trips for families of four, maybe five to Disney World once or twice a year? This is exactly the reason I will donate to the Marine’s Toys-for-Tots program, or something like the Voices’ Valley Santa program before I would even consider giving a wooden nickel to any state-wide or nation-wide charitable outfit. If the local Make-A-Wish employee is earning $63,000, what the hell is the state-wide coordinator earning? And how about the regional managers, or the national CEOs? That’s mucho excessive. That’s benefiting rather handsomely from other people’s misfortune. I can’t feature that kind of pap.

You wanna help somebody who needs help the most? Then do it for the satisfaction of doing it. $63,000??? What do you say? You wanna help me start a charity? I already read the “Beginning Guide to Foundation Grants” published by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. Hell, we’re already half way to pay dirt. First we secure some funding, then we figure out how much we should pay ourselves. Since it was my bright idea, I think I should get the six figure salary right from the get-go. And after enough saps donate their money and volunteer their time, you’ll get the six figures when I’m elevated to the seven figure range. If you’ve got a problem with that, go and start your own charitable outfit! I don’t need any of you. I can skim money with the best of them.

I snagged these numbers from the Make-A-Wish PA web site:

Allocation of Expenses/Costs

Program Service 82.2%

Fund Raising 11.0%

Administration 6.8%

I’d sure love to see those administrative expenses delved into by a newspaper on a freakin’ mission.

Reminds me of the Percy Brown’s delivery service that serviced the entire eight-square block are that comprises our downtown. When that service was first launched, I was the principle delivery person for two reasons. The first was that I was at the bottom of the kitchen’s totem pole, and the second had to do with being athletic. The thing was, to make most of the lunchtime deliveries on time, the elevators in the many tall buildings had to be sidestepped in favor of the stairs. Ever raced from the bottom to the top of the PNC bank building and then right back down only to cross the street and do it all over again? It was a hump session.

But even though I was a clueless dork of 14-years, the local charities kind of annoyed me while racing around town with countless lunches in tow. In building after building the recipients of said deliveries had to fork over cash money to enjoy their lunches. Oh, but not when the local charities got a hankering for some liverwurst & onions on rye, or a corned beef sandwich. That was a different story. Yeah, every single employee in the United Way office would order from Percy’s and then some stiff in a suit would sign on the dotted line and away I went. It’s a frickin’ charity--they can afford it. Administration costs, you know. The money’s gonna keep on rolling in no matter what, so what the hell?

Fu>k it! What’s one less unfortunate family helped? We’re freaking hungry, man!

$63,000??? What a gross misuse of charitable funds.

It’s gross.

Sez me.

From the e-mail inbox Mark

Whats with the Simon/Garfunkle lyrics? I don’t recall you vou mentioning them before. They’re my all time faves……..do U get into them?


I did when I was a kid. Sounds of Silence was one of the first vinyl LPs I bought and I still have that very same copy. It’s all beat to hell, but I can’t bare to part with it. I bought it at the corner drug store of all places. A bygone era for sure.

Back in those days, I was my step-dad’s favorite punching bag, and I somehow came to identify with the lyrics of “I am a rock.” I played it over and over, but the weird thing was that it didn’t depress me. Rather, it kind of bucked me up to know that someone else felt so isolated and distrustful.

To this very day, whenever things don’t go as I had hoped they would, I usually dismiss them with a quick “Whatever!” The way I figure it, if I cold survive all of his depraved beatings and his constant torturous and hurtful mind games, the rest of this nonsense ain’t so frickin’ bad. Anyway, that song kind of kept me chugging along to some degree.

And a rock feels no pain.

And a island never cries.


Taylor at Oh Yes

Gotta go.