In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 4, 2012/ 17 Sivan, 5772

Exciting changes, or: How not to report the news

By Paul Greenberg

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Here's the latest from the digitized dystopia awaiting American newspapers and our their loyal, long-suffering readers:

"Exciting changes for our readers," promised the headline at the top of the Mobile Press-Register's front page the other day.

"A new digitally focused media company," the story starts ... and not till the end of thesecond paragraph is the reader told that, oh, by the way, the paper is also cutting its print editions to three days a week.

If that's an exciting change, what would a real downer be?

Talk about a buried lede. Not only was the bad news downplayed, it was played up as good news.

Compare how the New Orleans Times-Picayune played the bad news when it announced that it would be cutting back its print editions to three days a week. "Newspaper to move focus to digital," said the front-page headline, but right below it the paper had the honesty to add, "In fall, paper will cut weekly print enditons to three."

A story at the bottom of the same front page minced no words, softened no facts: "Loss of daily newspaper/ stirs passions in the city," said the headline. The story didn't try to hide readers' responses to the news:

"The reaction to this wrenching change in New Orleanians' way of life was a combination of shock, incredulity, anger and sadness, expressed in telephone calls, emails, tweets and Facebook...."

Come fall, New Orleans is to be the largest city in the country without a daily paper you can have delivered or pick up on your way to work. It's not a distinction to celebrate, but at least the folks running the Times-Pic didn't try to disguise it. They followed the first rule of good newspapering: Level with your readers. That's what distinguishes a newspaper from a PR hand-out, or should.

That these two announcements in neighboring cities were made on the same day -- May 25, 2012 -- in such different ways provides the perfect contrast. Between how to report bad news and how not to.

Lord Northcliffe, the British publisher, once said "news is what someone else doesn't want you to know; everything else is advertising."

That distinction is lost when the news that a "daily" newspaper will be coming off the presses only three days a week is described as an exciting change. Depressing would be a more apt description.

But the bad news wasn't nearly so depressing as how it was reported. Something truly sad has happened when a town's newspaper starts sounding more like a house organ.

"People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news," A.J. Liebling once said in one of his ever-wry observations. To call a city's losing its daily paper four mornings a week an exciting change only adds to the confusion. And consternation.

Someone suggested that when the pink slips go out in Mobile, as they may soon enough, they ought to be headed: Exciting Changes Ahead: You're Fired!

Bad news happens. To all of us. It's presenting it as good news that galls.

It's painful to watch a daily newspaper that's been so useful -- and interesting -- as the Press Register in Mobile disappear from doorsteps and newsstands most weekdays. A tradition is being lost.

But how do you figure the value of what is being lost in Mobile and New Orleans on a profit-and-loss statement? How do you "monetize" tradition? It's priceless. And in those very Southern places, it's slipping away.

To call this an "exciting change" is more than just an editing error; it amounts to a cruel joke on long loyal readers and those who write for them honestly and directly.

Self-promotion is part of this business, and maybe of any business. It's called advertising and it has a useful, indeed indispensable, role to play. For one thing, it keeps us in business.

But when the news is replaced by something else -- call it spin -- it serves neither the reader's interest nor the paper's. For it erodes a newspaper's greatest asset: the trust of its readers. That sort of thing really ought to be left to politicians.

It's hard to believe that any editor down in Mobile can believe the way this story was handled will add to the newspaper's credibility. It's an intangible quality, credibility, but it's easy to lose. And easy to tell -- at a glance -- when it's missing.

The most striking thing about this front-page story in the Press-Register ("Exciting changes for our readers/ New digitally focused media company will be launched this fall") is not what that headline says, but what it doesn't.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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