Last Saturday’s Star-Bulletin offered up one of those “Dewey Defeats Truman” moments in miniature. In a front page and above the fold item, with photo of UH quarterback Colt Brennan on crtuches, repeated in the online edition, the S-B’s headline reported: “Colt will start despite bad ankle.”
The lead: “Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan tosses his crutches aside to start tonight’s nonconference game against Charleston Souther.”
No qualifications. No attribution. Just “Colt will start”.
Of course, in hindsight, we know Colt didn’t start. He didn’t even play.
And it gets more complicated. Back on the front of the sports section, there’s a longer version of that front page teaser. Although it repeated the “Colt will start” mantra, it at least attributed the statement to football coach June Jones. In the online edition, this is described as the “story summary”, which is followed by Dave Reardon’s story.
But the summary bears little resemblance to Reardon’s actual story, which is long and rich in detail, and provides a much better sense of Brennan’s actual physical condition and doesn’t focus on Brennan’s supposed starting role. Unfortunately, in the print edition, that substantive story appears on page B8. I have to admit that I didn’t get that far, and so didn’t see the substance until later.
So who writes those summaries anyway? Was it really supposed to be a summary or a separate story? This whole “repeat yourself” news obviously has its drawbacks. In this case, it would have to be scored Boosterism, 2 – Reporting, 1.
And so it goes.
One final aside. We recently got a new television to replace the former flat line special, and in the process “upgraded” to Oceanic’s limited high definition service which required a new cable box. About two weeks into the experience, Oceanic’s box has stopped functioning. After spending a while on the phone with their service folks, it turns out there wasn’t an Oceanic HD cable box available on the island and won’t be until next week. Interesting, but hard to tell whether they are overwhelmed with unexpected demand or caught penny pinching on customer service.