By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Feelin' groovy:One of Buzz's all-time favorite lines about the news business comes from the 1994 movie The Paper: "We taint them today, we make them look good on Saturday. Everybody's happy."
It's funny, as Homer Simpson would say, because it's true.
Take, for example, two stories that appeared within days of each other in The Dallas Morning News. "Corruption inquiry letting Miller shine" was the headline on an August 21 report by Gromer Jeffers Jr. "Laura Miller's got her groove back--for now," began the story, which was about how the FBI investigation into possible corruption at City Hall was a political boost to Mayor Miller, who's long campaigned for clean government.
Two days later, News staffer Dave Levinthal came back with a Metro story headlined "Some question Miller's power," about how the very council members involved in the FBI investigation have formed a bloc that has essentially stripped Miller of any effectiveness as a leader.
To sum up: Miller is a shiny, groovy, ineffectual loser on the upswing.
"Some people check the stock listings to see if they should buy or sell," the mayor told us. "I check the Morning News Metro section to see if it's a good day to govern."
In fairness, both Jeffers' and Levinthal's stories were more nuanced than that, but their juxtaposition was, well, odd. And it also points out one aspect of the News that has long irritated and puzzled us: its unwillingness to publish long Sunday stories on big, breaking local news, the kind that help readers keep track of the previous week's reporting on an issue. When Buzz worked as an editor for a daily, we hated those stories because they seemed like rehashes, but now that Buzz is just another lowly reader, it occurs to us that it would be nice if the News offered up a Sunday scorecard every now and then to help us keep track of the game.
Better still, it might juice up the impact of the fine work Jeffers, Levinthal and other News writers are doing on the FBI's investigation, work that tends to become sadly diluted because the news comes in increments, leaving inattentive--i.e. most--readers not happy, but confused and maybe indifferent to a story that should have them spitting out their Sunday morning coffee. --Patrick Williams