Tube City Almanac

June 23, 2010

A Letter from the Editor

Category: Sarcastic? Moi? || By

You can read this 500-word story in vain for any clue how the reporter got the information:

Driver in Route 51 crash had record of traffic violations
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The driver of a pickup truck in the June 11 crash that severely injured the mother of a bride-to-be had racked up six guilty pleas and more than $1,000 in fines for traffic violations in the 18 months before the collision.

Which prompted your humble correspondent to send this email:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: What a scoop!
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010
From: Jason Togyer

Dear Jon:

Congratulations on a great journalistic scoop! How did you ever crack that story?!

I'm so glad we still have newspapers and don't have to rely on those weirdos who write on the Internet to gather the news.

P.S.: How do I get my 10 percent finders' fee? Do I invoice the Post-Gazette? Or does my union president (Larry Goldbetter, National Writers' Union, AFL-CIO) have to call your union president? I don't want to violate any craft boundaries.

Warmest personal regards,
Jason Togyer
Executive Director
Tube City Community Media Inc.

c.c.: Lillian Thomas, City Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

. . .

Now, of course, I myself had help with yesterday's report. I searched the court database for the name Tuesday morning, but didn't see anything. Then a little birdie whispered in my ear and said, "Try again, dummy." My little birdie wanted to stay anonymous, however, so I just hat-tipped him.

Seriously, would it have killed the P-G to say "after a local blogger first reported"? Sheesh.

I'm tempted to get a subscription just so's I can cancel it.

. . .

By the way, Kevin Barkes has steam coming out of his ears. I'm just glad he's not mad at me. We're both off of Jon Schmitz's Christmas card list, I'll wager.

. . .

Update: Just to be clear, I am not looking for accolades or pats on the back. As Kevin points out, it only took five minutes to do what I did.

I didn't do anything unusual, exceptional or difficult. What's sad is that the bar for local journalism is very low, yet a lot of us are failing to clear it.

Besides, I don't even have a dog in this fight. I couldn't care less what happens in Pleasant Hills --- I have my hands full.

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Your Comments are Welcome!

Jason that really stinks, I know exactly how you feel, a few years ago I searched around flea markets antiques stores and just word of mouth, and discovered some really great old historic photos of a certain town. I spent many hours researching and figuring out exactly where and approximately when these photos were taken, giving the viewer of these photos a “snapshot” of what this certain metropolis once was.

I then, on my own, had a copy of these historic photos made and put all the information that I spent much time researching, which actually makes the photo valuable, a photo is just a photo unless one knows what, where, who or when it was, and then gave said photos to a Center in that certain town for all to enjoy.

A few months later I walked into a business in the Downtown section of that city and lo and behold there hung proudly on the wall copies of the same Historic photos with the same information that I provided, but now the information was “Courtesy of #######”

With absolutely no mention or credit given to the researcher of these photos himself.

So Brother “I feel Your Pain”
Cox's Jimmy - June 23, 2010

Jimmy —- did you complain?
Webmaster - June 23, 2010

Many years ago, I zeroed in on the Eighth Commandment (or Ninth, depending on your denomination) as a verse for meditation and direction. “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.” I regret when I don’t follow it as closely as I ought, but feel terrific when I know I’ve done my best to bear right witness. Thanks for being something every news organization needs and every community needs in terms of news media: Competition.
Does it matter? - June 23, 2010

Well I don’t think I really complained, but I did make mention of it to the Center, “You know I do understand that I donated these and other items, But Gee that really stinks that I spent time doing all this and not only did someone here profit from it but also took the credit for the work.”

I was immediately dismissed as a ne’er do well and thereafter treated as if I had the plague and was virtually banished, as I was escorted past Shakespeare, whom I used to dust, all members turned their backs and I was shunned from ever entering the chamber evermore. My family heritage erased, like Trotsky, from all annals and tomes stored within.
Cox's Jimmy - June 23, 2010

There’s different management there now, and a different board of directors.

Maybe they can allow you back in from the gulag and even give you a medal on May Day?
Webmaster - June 23, 2010

A reader is encouraging me to share this email, so, what the heck. wrote:
> Jason,
> Thanks for the message. I hope it didn’t distract you from the pursuit
> of further excellence.
> Equally warm regards,
> Jon Schmitz
> Staff Writer/Transportation
> Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
> 412-263-1868

Maybe I should have T-shirts printed up with this endorsement:

The Tube City Almanac means “Excellence!” raves Jon Schmitz of the Post-Gazette!
Webmaster - June 23, 2010

When you call yourself, as the P-G does, “One of America’s Great Newspapers,” you should have an editorial policy and reporting ethic to back it up. As you said, Jason, full attribution wasn’t necessary- just an acknowledgement that the story broke somewhere else.
Kevin G. Barkes (URL) - June 23, 2010

Jon Schmitz has lots of class — all of it third. He’s a smug SOB.
Yer' Ol' Boss - June 23, 2010

Ar har har, ye local scriveners beware! For there be much pirating afoot as the lads and lassies of the big metropolitan rag look for ways to keep the ads from bumping together. There be no retribution for lack of attribution, says I! Why seek thee ways to compensate a humble freelancer when ye can just pirate his wares! Har har har har! Me legal chest is full of doubloons and I presents thee with the middle hook – har har!
Sergeant Mike - June 28, 2010

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zxvuvczr (URL) - October 15, 2014

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