Monday, December 11, 2006

Money Good & Other Press-Release Revelations

I'm really glad we have an "Associated Press". I'm in favor the Press and I'm glad they got "associated" and all. I also have both enjoyed and been informed by AP stories over the years. But reading today's AP story about NM's $720 million surplus of "new money" in this morning's Journal is like taking a trip to stupid school. My "favorite" part:

"We're fortunate to have the amount of money we have in order to address the needs of New Mexico," said Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela, D-Santa Fe, chairman of the LFC (Legislative Finance Committee).

Maybe it's because of my going back to high-octane coffee from the gentle, wafting buzz of English Breakfast tea, but quotes like that just bug the absolute bejeezus out of me. It's so press-releasey, so banal, so much a waste of newspaper space. I've been staring at that "quote" for about a half-hour now and it's sure to be stuck in my head the rest of the day like the lyrics to "Candyman" by Sammy Davis, Jr. when you accidentally come across it on the radio. I hate when that happens.

And it's not the only "ripped from today's press releases" quote in the thing. Here's another from Guv Richardson's office:

"The consistent strength of our economy gives me confidence that we can cut taxes, invest in our schools and make health care available to more New Mexicans, while maintaining prudent cash reserves," Richardson said in a news release.

At least that one comes with the admission that it's a press release. I don't want to get all Journalism school on the Journal's ass here, and I know this might be the French Roast talking, but why the Hell can't the Journal do their own story on the $720 million? And if they're going to succumb to AP, can't AP do a little more than just copy/pasting quote lines from press releases?

I say the Journal makes a New Year's Resolution to lose some fluff weight and goes AP-free for a while. Pay some reporters to work weekends (a radical thought that), and produce something more enlightening than:

"We're fortunate to have the amount of money we have in order to address the needs of New Mexico."

Or maybe I should just go back to English Breakfast.


Natalie said...

I'm on my second pot of the day.
Yeah, it's that kind of Monday...
If the Journal had any moxy at all... they'd get out there and start questioning when, where, why, and how that amount of money is going to be spent.
I have yet to see any concrete plans but what I have seen, here in this beautiful state, is a desperate need for someone, anyone, to step forward and start putting the money where their mouth is and get some things done.
APS is the worst school district I've ever had to deal with and ol' Marty is onto something in saying it needs to radically change.
However, I keep reading the same things, over and over again, and no one is doing anything to make it better. It's very frustrating.
I stopped by the mayor's blog (thanks to you) and saw that he hasn't bothered to update since June/July.
I guess it's just another good sound-bite and that's how things work around here.
Kinda like the Journal and their AP reporting: "Yeah, what they said."
Thanks for yet another thought provoking post.

Julia Dendinger said...

I just came across your blog. Too funy and too true. It makes me feel so much better about my job.

Who works for an AP-free paper!