Journalism that stands apart in The Union

All week we’ve been trying to get George Boardman, the “know-it-all” community journalist to understand big-city journalism. (He never made it to the big leagues but he pretends).

This morning’s edition of The Union is a “teachable moment” for George if he would just listen up.

First with the newsroom vocabulary and news judgment. The front-page story in The Union this morning “Richardson to return to Auburn as City Manager” is what’s known as the “lede” in newspaper parlance. It is the news story deemed most important by the newspaper. In most papers, the lede appears on the front page at the top of the right-hand column, as it does here.

By contrast, the “centerpiece” is “Asking for the gift of life.” It refers to a photo and story that go together in a prominent display on the front page.

The other day, George got this backwards. It was one of the most foolish things he’s written, apparently an effort to stay in the good graces of the newsroom management as his paid weekly column increasingly comes under fire from the community.

Now for the integrity part of journalism. The Union got scooped by The Auburn Journal on its “lede” story about Richardson leaving (still the lede because it is big government news in Grass Valley). This is Tuesday’s paper; The Journal reported this on Saturday.

Sadly, The Union didn’t have the integrity to credit the Auburn Journal. Good newspapers do that, even if it hurts their pride. It’s a respect issue. Here’s an example of the Journal correctly handling this issue with integrity.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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