What We Learned on NewsTalk LIVE: The Valentine’s Day Edition

February 19, 2008 at 12:24 am | Posted in Lowell, Lowell Sun | 3 Comments
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newstalk.jpgEvery Thursday night, Lowell Sun Editor-in-Chief Jim Campanini tackles the issues of the day on NewsTalk LIVE, an hour-long telephone call-in show with a live video stream.

Judging by the number of callers (last week it was one, a pre-scheduled guest), it seems not everyone is tuning into these discussions. So as a service to the public, every week Lucy the Blog will run an excerpt from the previous Thursday’s NewsTalk.

We hope these illuminating snippets will inspire our readers to support The Sun by watching the full broadcasts in all their glory. (To save time, you can speed up the video by clicking the fast forward button. You’ll still understand what they’re saying; they’ll just be saying it in a higher voice.)

Last week’s subject was Valentine’s Day. Campanini’s in-studio guest was reporter Rachel Briere, who doubles as the oft-drunk and seemingly hornyish* Lowellita, and writes an entertainment blog called The Frosting. In his introduction of Briere, Campanini says The Frosting “has been getting national attention” lately — a claim that Lucy the Blog’s investigative team has been unable to confirm.

Today’s excerpt comes about three-quarters into the show, when Campanini reflects on his days as a swinger. It turns out that he and his twin brother were quite the Lotharios, and often employed a fun bit of tomfoolery to get multiple stanks on their hang-lows for the mere price of one drive-in movie ticket.

“Whenever we went out on dates, we had the double date. And we’d go to the drive-in. And uh…naturally the best part of the evening was when we went to the popcorn stand…or to the concession stand. Because then we’d switch. He’d get in the back seat and I’d get in the front. And uh…well, you know. A couple times it worked out and a couple times it didn’t.”

As Lowellita squirms and avoids eye contact at all costs, Campanini goes on to note that the twin brother eventually married a high school sweetheart named Kathy.

“Let me tell you. She could tell the difference between the two of us. One of the only women who probably could. And uh…and uh….she could tell you some stories about uh…about some times when we went out on double dates and we tried to pull the old uh…uh…sneak-a-roo. Kathy always knew. So, so. It was great. Maybe that’s why she married my brother instead of starting a relationship with me.”

Join us next week for What We Learned on NewsTalk LIVE. And remember, NewsTalk LIVE is brought to you by Lowell Cooperative Bank. They’re not just a bank. They’re your neighbor.

Full Valentine’s Day NewsTalk LIVE broadcast here.

*We mean this in the most flattering way possible.

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Howe Lowell Can You Goell?

February 10, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Posted in Lowell, Lowell Sun | Leave a comment
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lowellwings.gifSadly, I lack the patience, will, authority, and skill to assess the wreckage of last Tuesday’s Lowell City Council meeting in this space.  I also lack a reading audience that cares.

But for the few who are interested, I direct you to Richard Howe’s spot-on blog post “Cultural Confusion.”

As Howe notes, The Lowell Sun has been slightly schizophrenic in its recent editorial coverage.*  Much as it is with its delivery service

In addition to Howe, Left in Lowell has also done a bang-up job of covering the situation.  (That’s one “bang-up” and one “spot-on” for those of you who are counting.

Our official stance on the Cultural Council brou-ha-ha is as follows: 

The editorial board of Lucy the Blog supports the arts, the cultural community of Lowell, and the ordinance as presented by City Manager Bernie Lynch. 

We will not tolerate continued opposition to this ordinance.  And councilors who fail to reverse their current course and tenor will find goose on their faces come election day.

Let it be known that Lucy the Dog was once accused of pouring coffee on an HR manager’s car and jabbing an elbow through an editor’s windshield.  And we just started doing push-ups, 10 a day.  So we are not to be fucked with.

Also, according to Google, Jim Campanini is not a very good editor.  Amen.

(*Ed. Note: In all likelihood, none of those Sun links will work by Wednesday.)

EXTRA, EXTRA! Lowell Sun Gets the Gooseface

January 28, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Posted in Evil Tribune, Lowell, Lowell Sun | 9 Comments
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papers.jpg(Ed. Note:  This post unintentionally turned into a long, hard slog, and I wound up, in news parlance, burying the lede.  My bad.) 

It’s no secret that the newspaper industry is kinda fucked.  There are more professional, dignified ways to state that.  And many have, or do on a regular basis. 

I’m told that HBO’s “The Wire” has devoted its final season to the newspaper’s demise.  But I wouldn’t know, because less than three years of working at a newspaper left me so poor that I still can’t afford anything beyond the most basic of basic cable packages.

The rise of the Internets and technology is most often sited as the force behind declining circulation, ad revenue, and newsroom staffs.  Corporate boobs atop the masthead lacked the minimal foresight it would’ve taken to see this train roaring down the tracks.  But after years of resistance, they’re finally loosening the vice grip on their piggybanks, and they’ve started to acknowledge that they might have to adjust their thinking.  Or at least start thinking.

As reported by Lucy the Dog man-crush Dan Kennedy, The Evil-Tribune recently announced it will make all of its content available for free on its website, a move that even dumb old Lucy the Dog claimed was a dire necessity before the blond cabal of Tribunazis kicked my sorry ass to the curb.

Publishers are also investing more in their technolomogical capabilities.  Yesterday, Kennedy posted a nifty story about Catherine Keefe O’Hare, an editor at the Danvers Herald.  Kennedy writes:“It wasn’t long ago that a local reporter could head out on an assignment with nothing more than a notebook and a pen. Maybe a camera, but only if there were no photographers available. But those days are rapidly drawing to a close.”

Now reporters and editors like O’Hare get a video camera and editing equipment.  So not only do they have to file that story by deadline, they also have to shoot a short film, edit it, and post it on the website, an increase in workload that is surely reflected in their paychecks.  Or not.

Because it’s also no secret that no one gets into this truly noble profession to get rich.  Or even to break even.  Being a newspaper reporter is a great life if your spouse is a doctor or lawyer.  If you don’t care about little things like spending quality time with your family.  If you aspire to grow man-jugs because you only have time and funds for hasty lunch runs through the Burger King drive thru.  But it’s not the racket you jump into if you’d like a comfortable life.

If I sound bitter about any of this, I guess I am.  I would have loved being a newspaper reporter if I could have made a living doing it.  But it’s a masochistic way of life that’s only getting worse.

tombstone.gif

 Bloggasm reports that 25% of 770 newspaper journalists polled said they intend to leave newspaper journalism, and 36% said they’re uncertain if they’ll stay.  Among respondents under the age of 34, those numbers rise to 31% and 43%. 

According to the study’s author:“Those intending to leave indicate that they will freelance, enter public relations, move into academia or return to school…”

He also mentions that the brightest among them will build media empires around zombies and Kendrick Perkins.

In my opinion, this brain drain from newsrooms is as dangerous a threat as anything to newspapers’ survival.  I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by humiliating wages and 60-hour workweeks.  We were all replaced by equally gifted journalists with ideals and hopes that will also, in time, be squashed.  The cycle of burnout and turnover will continue, resulting in a sad decay of institutional knowledge.  Reporters who’ve been around for years and know their community inside and out will become increasingly rare.  And despite revamped websites, complementary videos, and discussion boards, the quality of coverage in your community will suffer.  But this is not why I’m writing today.

Lucy the Dog does not have the answers to save the newspaper industry.  However, we do have one bit of advice to save the Lowell Sun.  It is profound.  It is radical.  It is so far outside the box that it’s almost back inside the box.  It will blow your mind.  And it appears after the jump.

(No, it’s not weekly inserts of posters featuring sexiest son of a bitch of all-time Charles Nelson Reilly, though that wouldn’t be a bad start.) Continue Reading EXTRA, EXTRA! Lowell Sun Gets the Gooseface…

The Lowell Sun: So Dumb It Hurts

November 1, 2007 at 7:51 pm | Posted in Lowell, Lowell Sun | 9 Comments

halloween.jpgI was just flipping through yesterday’s Lowell Sun, and page 14 features a full-page display of the winning entries for the paper’s Halloween Coloring Contest.

The headline above the pictures nearly induced a heart attack.  As a literate adult, seeing something like this in print boggles my mind and makes me ache for humanity. 

In all caps and a massive font, it reads:

HALLOWEEN COLORING CONTEST
HEAR ARE THE WINNERS!

Presumably this text was written by the Sales Department and not Editorial.  But all the same, everyone responsible for letting it through should be dealt with severely. Nothing short of genital electrocution will suffice.

Sun Pulls a Trib and Outs Biz Reporter as Athletic Demon! Sadly, Hilarity Does Not Ensue.

August 19, 2007 at 11:05 am | Posted in Evil Tribune, Lowell, Lowell Sun | 11 Comments

doh.jpgI’ve really only worked at one newspaper, so I can’t say for sure if this goes on everywhere. 

But at the The Eagle-Tribune, and apparently the Lowell Sun, we used to create a ‘mock’ front page as a parting gift whenever people left the paper.  Which seemed to be every other week or so.

These spoof fronts gave coworkers of the outgoing employee a chance to write something clever and fun, filled with inside jokes and wit and hilarity and oh my God, those were the good old days. 

But like most good old days, they came to an end when one of our faux stories somehow got posted on the Tribune website.  The story was not well-received by local pols, several of whom were portrayed in a less than flattering fashion.  (Politicians can get so touchy when you mock their former DUIs on the Internet.) 

At the time, there was much speculation that the unionistas had posted the story to embarass the Trib.  But I don’t think any of us had the technical savvy to do such a thing.  And we were generally quite busy leaving nails in our editors’ driveways and bashing our elbows through windshields.  We loved bashing windshields!

Anyway, the union agitators must now be infiltrating the Lowell Sun. I didn’t get my Sun delivered today, so I just checked out lowellsun.com. 

It appears that the going-away stories for business reporter Tom Spoth were all posted online, or at least the stories: “‘Ruthless, Dirty…and He Bites’, Placid journalist by day, Tom Spoth emerges as athletic demon at night”He can write, but he’s no actor” and its sidebar, OK, maybe he can act”

Sadly, there’s nothing all-too incriminating here.  And these links will be dead by the time your eyes read this.

Continue Reading Sun Pulls a Trib and Outs Biz Reporter as Athletic Demon! Sadly, Hilarity Does Not Ensue….

Cardboard Elvis, King and Peacemaker

August 17, 2007 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Idol, Lowell, Lowell Sun, Muzak | Leave a comment

elvis.jpgDespite his slanderous and inaccurate lynching of Sanjaya months ago, Lucy the Dog must commend Lowell Sun scribe Andrew Ravens for yesterday’s front page story on Elvis.  Or at least the first four paragraphs, which is the most compelling four paragraphs you will read today.

“Elvis settles most arguments and disturbances at The Community Family, a day-care center for dementia patients on Broadway Street.

Whenever the peace breaks, Program Director Maria Maskaluk sets her close-to-life-size Elvis Presley cardboard standup in the middle of the room and says, ‘Look who’s here.’

Suddenly, the squabbling ends and the giant image of Elvis, wearing a bright gold suit, is placed back behind Maskaluk’s office door.

‘For some reason,’ Maskaluk said, ‘it just calms everyone down.'”

As a former recipient of my Boston University JO722 course’s “Lead of the Week” award, I feel suitably qualified to deem this as the most devastatingly awesome lead anecdote that’s ever been written. 

While previously, Lucy the Blog had called for Ravens’s firing, we now must reverse course and demand that he be promoted immediately and named replacement to not very good editor Jim Campanini.  (Hey, what ever happened to that lively Community Forum anyway, Thomas Paine?)  

I’ve never really been into Elvis, but you’ve got to hand it to the guy.  He moistened panties for decades, sold more than a billion albums, inspired an army of losers to channel his spirit, and now his cardboard likeness is used to sedate the masses at neighborhood dementia facilities.  It’s quite a legacy.

Blah Blah Blah Religion Irritates Lucy the Dog Blah Blah Blah

July 10, 2007 at 7:09 pm | Posted in America, Jesus Christ!, Lowell, Lowell Sun | 3 Comments

clintonpray.jpgAccording to a recent Zogby poll, Lucy the Blog receives more than 1,400 hits a day from readers who claim to be “really into God and shit.” 

But at the risk of alienating that segment of our audience, please humor me while I whine yet again about religiosity.  I know it gets old, but I just can’t help it.  This God guy totally gets my goat!

The Lowell Sun recently published a tedious centerpiece on its front page, titled: “Faith and the 5th.”  

Beyond its existence, I guess there’s nothing particularly offensive about the content, aside from the nauseating photo that accompanies the package: a soft-focus shot of a rainbow over a hillside, with headshots of the 5th district Congressional candidates.  (For one of the poor saps, they actually used a picture where his eyes are closed!

The sub-head for the Sun story is a reassuring pat on the back for panicked voters who are worried that Marty Meehan’s replacement might be some heathen <gasp> non-believer. 

For the rest of is, it’s just another kick in the nuts.  “Many backgrounds, but one thing in common: Religion matters.”  Phew!

Continue Reading Blah Blah Blah Religion Irritates Lucy the Dog Blah Blah Blah…

Jerry Falwell, Those Precious God Hates Fags Folk, and the City That Prays Together Revisited

May 18, 2007 at 3:19 am | Posted in America, Evil Tribune, Jesus Christ!, Lowell, Lowell Sun, Video | 2 Comments

falwell.jpgJerry Falwell is dead, and I could care less one way or another.  Just another Jesus loon, but really no worse than any of the others and perhaps even more admirable if you think about it.

Take, for instance, the Lowell City Council and the Greater Lowell Interfaith Leadership Alliance (GLILA).  At the behest of GLILA, and more importantly, the city’s lawyer, the City Council recently agreed to stop reciting the Lord’s Prayer before its meetings.  (Click here for prior coverage on Lucy the Blog.)

It doesn’t take much smarts to see that the Lord’s Prayer is a distinctly Christian prayer, and thus wholly inappropriate to kick off meetings conducting city business.  Taking things a step further, logic might also dictate that there are better places than the City Council meeting to pray out loud to any God.  And perhaps one of those pleasant moments of silence would be more appropriate.  But that’s not what we got here in Lowell.

Instead, the City Council adopted a watered down “nonsectarian” prayer, written by GLILA, which they read as follows:

“Dear God,

Today as this session opens, we pray that your presence will be before us and everyone who serves in the decision-making process of our city.  We pray for direction which will lead our city to be strong and unified.  May we continue the legacy of our founders.  May we be granted this day the wisdom to make decisions which will be for the good of the city.

We also pray for your special blessing on all those who are working to transform our city and make it a better place to live and work.

Amen.”

According to a Lowell Sun op-ed piece by Stephen Fisher, president of GLILA, “The use of a nonsectarian prayer welcomes everyone into full participation as citizens.”

Uh, not quite, Stephen.  To the contrary, standing up for the Lord’s Prayer or this lame-ass substitution makes me feel excluded, itchy, and isolated, since I don’t really believe in your one-size-fits-all God.  And, in fact, when you froth all over him and ask him to guide our city, it sorta creeps me out.  So count me as one citizen not feeling the full participation vibe.

Fisher also writes, “When the council prays at a meeting, it is no longer simply a personal devotional matter but a public action taken on behalf of the whole city.  [Gee, thanks!]  The use of a nonsectarian prayer welcomes everyone into full participation as citizens.”  Again, Stephen, not everyone.

While I object to the premise of the councilors praying out loud at the meeting to begin with, I also object to the mamby-pamby lunacy of this Mad-Libbed nonsectarian prayer.  If I was of any religious ilk, there’s no way I’d say it.  What’s the point of pretending that your God is some super-unifying force?  That the Christian’s God is the Jew’s God is the Hindu’s God is your momma’s God.  Has everyone lost their goddamned minds?

Continue Reading Jerry Falwell, Those Precious God Hates Fags Folk, and the City That Prays Together Revisited…

Jim Campanini is Not a Very Good Editor*

May 9, 2007 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Lowell, Lowell Sun, New Orleans | 14 Comments

campanini.jpgThis post will be of no interest to anyone outside of Lowell.  And as far as I know, the only person from Lowell who visits this site is my wife.  But I couldn’t resist expressing my extreme frustration with Lowell Sun editor-in-chief Jim Campanini.

Once upon a time, I actually tried to get a job with the Sun, though I had the good sense to ‘break off talks’ before accepting the slave wage that is commonplace in the newspaper industry. 

During that time, I met with Campanini twice, and found him to be pleasant, yet a bit simple and behind-the-times.  He was quite proud of his idea to boost Monday sales by devoting a full page to reader-submitted pet photos.  He offered to bet money on the fact that MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton would sue Google and bring them to their knees for ripping off newspapers’ content.  (I still don’t understand what the hell he was talking about there.) 

And at one point, he leaned into his desk and said, with furrowed brow, “You’re not one of those liberals, are ya?”

Continue Reading Jim Campanini is Not a Very Good Editor*…

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