The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Editor, New Publisher, Same Old Free Press

Sometimes being a media monitor seems like a full time job.

What's wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, The Winnipeg Sun and the Winnipeg Free Press carried the story of a woman stabbed and robbed just off 700 Portage Avenue (near Maryland).

The Sun said it was downtown. Maryland is not downtown.

A quibble, you say? Well, if you can't trust the where, can you trust the what?

A Winnipeg woman was stabbed and hit in the head with a pipe by thugs as she walked home from the bus station early yesterday morning. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Okay so far....

the woman was walking home...about 12:30 a.m. ...when she was approached by a man in the back lane...

Okay, hold on.

She was walking down a back lane at 12:30 a.m.? Hmmm. Nothing suspicious there, surely.

She was stabbed first, then her attacker demanded her handbag. When she wouldn't hand it over, he hit her over the head with something, knocking her to the ground. He took her bag and ran. She had about 70 morphine tablets in her handbag.

Okay, hold on.

So what was it? Sheer coincidence that a mugger attacks her and runs away with a junkie's motherload of morphine?

Or did he follow her, knowing she was carrying drugs worth $5,000- $6,000 on the street?

Or did he know her, and she wouldn't share or sell?

He? Police say there were two men, but only one description made the papers--a thin white man about six feet tall. Watch for him this weekend, right after the month-end cheques come out.

Where's Lloyd Axworthy's Spence Street Patrol when you need them?

Journalism is spelled with 5 W's, Dave

FP reporter David Kuxhaus had an interesting story in the paper, although you had to dig deep for details.

Chief blackmailed critic: judge.
A federal court judge says the head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs engaged in blackmail and held secret meetings to try and stifle a councillor who was critical of his leadership when he was the chief of Norway House.

Here's where Kuxhaus demonstrated a need for a refresher course in Journalism 101.

The five questions a reporters must answer, Dave, are Who, What, Where, When and Why.

Why did it take you ten paragraphs to get to the Who? -- Ron Evans, former chief of Norway House and now the head of the AMC.

The guy who wants to build a multi-million-dollar governance house on an urban reserve in Winnipeg.

Somebody get his definition of governance before any contracts are signed.


Definin' wuhds ain't nobody's 'dea fun

The FP's city hall reporter Mary Agnes Welch, meanwhile, showed she could use a remedial course in English.

Photo-radar bungled?A botched Winnipeg police photo-radar contract has likely cost the city nearly $50 million, says a scathing new report by the city auditor.

It took another five paragraphs for her to explain that the "cost" is in "lost revenue."

In other words, its money the city won't collect rather than money the city has to pay out. If that wasn't confusing enough, Mary Agnes began reporting in Ebonics.

City hall's arcane confidentiality rules normally keep audits secret until they appears on a public agenda...

Sho 'nuff, sistah. Word.


Remember Tories, vote early, vote often

Finally in our parade of shame comes the unknown political reporter in the Free Press, who gamely tried to break the news that MLA David Faurschou was going to take a run at the PC leadership.

The story got off to a bad start, what with the editor saddling the brief with a headline calling Faurschou's riding
P-o-r-t-G-a-g-e. You'd think he would have bothered to read the copy, which spelled the riding correctly. Five times.

But the reporter did it all by himself when he informed readers that nominations close March15, and the leadership convention was being held November 29th.

Close but no cigar. The reporter was only 7 months off.

The convention is April 29th. We hope the Free Press doesn't miss it.


Remember, these people are professional journalists.

They have editors.

Unlike bloggers, they don't wear pyjamas while writing their stories.

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