View Full Version : Is it just me or is the Daily Oklahoman getting worse?



metro
08-15-2007, 02:23 PM
Despite the constant reviews from independent polls and reviews such as the Columbia Review Journal ranking the Daily Oklahoman the worst paper in the nation, I think the paper has become even worse since these ratings. While I do like the "new" layout the did a few years back, the news/stories are still fluff. I've noticed the quality of articles, etc. has gone significantly gone downhill over the last month. It's been at least a month since I've read a decent article worth reading.

Bennett and Co. if you get us a basketball team and demand an arena, we should demand a better paper from you in exchange.

OKC PATROL
08-15-2007, 03:11 PM
We have a good sports section....its the only reason why anyone reads it anyway. duh

Stinger
08-15-2007, 03:25 PM
We have a good sports section....its the only reason why anyone reads it anyway. duh

Yeah, if you want to read nothing but OU Football.

Kerry
08-15-2007, 03:35 PM
Metro - citing poor score from the Columbia Journalism Review isn't helping you make your point. The CJR is about as for to the left as you can get. Just read their response to the take-over of Dow Jones by News Corp and you will learn all you need to know about the CJR.

Oh GAWD the Smell!
08-15-2007, 03:43 PM
We have a good sports section....its the only reason why anyone reads it anyway. duh

Nuh-uh...I read it for the Ultimate Electronics ads.

Pete
08-15-2007, 03:47 PM
They do a good job of covering local business and local sports and there are thousands of outlets for everything else. They never do any investigative journalism but that's common with papers of it's size.

As I've always said, they have a great website where you can read the last 7 or so papers just as if you were holding it (electronic edition) and fantastic archives.


And if you think the DOK is lousy, try checking out the Tulsa World.

jbrown84
08-15-2007, 03:47 PM
I honestly don't buy into it. I really don't see a problem with it. Maybe there's just nothing interesting going on in the last month. There hasn't been much going on on this site in that same time frame. Correllation??

BDP
08-15-2007, 04:00 PM
Just read their response to the take-over of Dow Jones by News Corp and you will learn all you need to know about the CJR.

I haven't read it, but it is a pretty scary deal. The WSJ has been a right leaning paper in its commentary, but usually at least had some sense of reason. If News Corp makes it a Fox News of the print world, it will become a pretty worthless piece of right wing claptrap and propaganda. But, I guess I'll just stop reading it. There is a real concern that News Corp will dumb down a good paper, as it has with many of its other acquisitions.

Midtowner
08-15-2007, 04:31 PM
The DOK is essentially the mouthpiece of the Chamber of Commerce. They will never say anything bad about any businessman who is the least bit well-connected in the community.

All the stories about bad professionals are about doctors, lawyers, priests, teachers, etc... When was the last time you read a story about anyone in the business community ever doing something bad?

There's nothing wrong with that -- the paper requires advertising dollars to be profitable. You can't blame them for catering to their market. Also, if the paper actually did do investigative reports about, for example, the shady goings-on at OCURA, businesses might be less likely to invest here.

Let the Gazette take care of all of the good journalism. They're not half bad at it.

Theo Walcott
08-15-2007, 09:24 PM
Not to mention a blatant OU bias. Anyone recall the incident where they launched an investigation into OSU basketball's phone records after it was discovered that things with Kelvin weren't exactly on the up and up?

Unbelievable stuff right there. Imagine the LA Times doing something like that to UCLA if it was discovered that USC had committed some violations. It would NEVER happen.

I digress...

Saberman
08-15-2007, 10:26 PM
Most of the news stories are from the wire services, and a couple of days late. You can read most of the stories in yahoo news days before the Oklahoman runs it.

You really only get local news and sports, and for the most part poorly written.

soonerguru
08-15-2007, 10:40 PM
Metro - citing poor score from the Columbia Journalism Review isn't helping you make your point.

Why not? The CJR is the bible of serious journalism, which, no offense intended, you apparently know very little about, based on your FOX NEWS-worthy commentary.

I'm guessing you're a right winger, in which case you think everything that challenges your world view is "way to the left."

FYI, I have a degree in journalism. What is your educational background?

metro
08-16-2007, 07:48 AM
Most of the news stories are from the wire services, and a couple of days late. You can read most of the stories in yahoo news days before the Oklahoman runs it.

You really only get local news and sports, and for the most part poorly written.

Couldn't agree with you more.

PapaJack
08-16-2007, 09:09 AM
Having recently spent two weeks in Beantown, I compared on a daily basis The Boston Globe and the electronic edition of The Oklahoman (TOK). I did not find a single news item of national importance that was not reported in both papers. TOK was right in step with the Globe, albeit the location or emphasis was different. I also noticed that both papers were rife with errors, grammatical and spelling. But at least TOK has color comics and recognizes the existence of sports other than MLB. A similar comparison of TOK with The Arizona Republic yeilded similar results.

I too am a Journalism grad, of OU. My time was back when broadcast journalism was taught in the School of Business, along with Advertising. I believe the decline in journalistic accuracy began with the rise in schlock journalism, cyber spelling, and USA Today. Coincidentaly TOK was one of the first newspapers in the country to utilize computerized grammar and spelling. It looks like the bloom has fallen off that rose.

As far as CJR is concerned, using them as the Bible of Journalism is like calling al Sadr the voice of all Islam. CJR was of questionable value in 1968 and I doubt if they have improved while TOK has "declined."

Finally, I actually believe TOK Sports Department has created a bias TOWARD OSU by trying to be totally fair and honest. To me they elevate mundane OSU news to the level of "breaking news" (a phrase I liken to "breaking wind" since all news worth reading is NEW) of OU. Still, on line readers of TOK concentrate heavily on OU articles. Doesn't OSU, the birthplace of the PC, graduate computer literates?

In summary, I am thankful that we "literates" still have print journalism to read with our morning Java. Hopefully the all too strong emphasis on "the bottom line"
will not put TOK or The Globe out of business. I find it hilarious that I am discoursing on print media via computer.

ps This may be a duplicate due to my own state of computer literacy. If so, I apologize. If not, you shoulda' seen my first diatribe.

stlokc
08-16-2007, 12:30 PM
In my opinion, some of what PapaJack has said is quite accurate. The quality of just about every newspaper has declined in recent years. A large percentage of the population seems to no longer have the patience for long, in-depth investigative stories. They want the "quick hits" so common in USA Today, or the schlockiness that characterizes so much of broadcast "infotainment."

Having said that, it seems the DOK falls short of the majority of big-city papers. Now, I admit that I have not read that paper (in paper version) on any kind of a consistent basis for a while, since I no longer live in OKC. But on the ocassions that I do see it, what strikes me is how incomplete a lot of their stories are. When I was in journalism school, we were taught to look at both sides of an argument or an issue, get multiple sources from multiple points of view, and put together a balanced story. It seems a lot of the stories in the DOK (that I see on the web or that people have posted on this site) seem to be of the "press release variety." They answer the who, the what, the when and the where. But they don't get into the why. There might be quotes from someone with one point of view, but less often is there a balanced "yes, but..."

A couple of weeks ago, there was a story about the emergence of new shopping centers in OKC. It was a long piece and was generally good, but because it was long, I kept waiting for what I assumed would be the second part of the story: Is this proliferation of "lifestyle centers" a good thing for everybody? What has it done or will it do to emerging downtown districts? Can OKC really support all this new retail? Nothing like that was forthcoming. It said "5 million square feet will be built in 5 years." They didn't follow up with "Does that mean lots of new retailers that don't exist here yet, or does that mean a complete closing down of every mall, where is that 5 million coming from...OKC isn't growing that fast." That could have been a 3 or 4 part series: Shopping in the 21st century - First day: the new realities of retail. (which is pretty much the story they ran) Second day: the move towards new urbanism and will it get to OKC. Third day: What kinds of new retailers are being pursued? Use consistent graphics across the three days, provide national examples of what is happening in other places. It just seems like an opportunity lost.

The rush to do smaller, quick-hit stories can lead to errors. A week or two ago, the Chamber of Commerce incorrectly said that OKC's Gross Metopolitan Product was higher than Kansas City or San Antonio. The DOK printed that verbatim. It doesn't appear that an editor stopped to think about how that statement couldn't possibly be true. If the editors had used the occasion of that announcement to really delve into "What is a Gross Metropolitan Product?" (It's an interesting term that very few people are familiar with) they would have quickly realized the error. But it seems they more or less printed the Chamber spin verbatim.

(I will say that by and large, Steve Lackmeyer does a fantastic job with his reporting. They need to do everything they can to keep him around. He has obviously developed a real love for his beat and real relationships with sources. They are lucky to have him.)

But in short, when I have read the DOK, it has traditionally left me wanting more. Individual stories are often too short to adequately explore an issue. There are few true investigative pieces. (And the DOK is one of the wealthiest papers in the country - it could, as the St. Louis Post did, send reporters to Iraq to embed with Oklahoma guard units and bring localized stories to readers, but I suspect they didn't).

Woah, long diatribe. Sorry for that. Just my 2 cents.

metro
08-16-2007, 01:43 PM
well said stlokc, their articles always leaving me wanting more, and not because the articles are like a good book, but because they often leave important viewpoints out.

mecarr
08-16-2007, 01:59 PM
The Daily Oklahoman is a paper that has been against all progressive legislation from the past 50 years. From opposing the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, creation of Medicare and Medicaid, to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, The Daily Oklahoman has been a stubborn in its opposition to common-sense pieces of legislation.

jbrown84
08-16-2007, 02:08 PM
That's called being conservative.

striker
08-16-2007, 02:18 PM
I love the oklahoman. It's almost as funny bad to read as our news stations are to watch.

cityguy
08-16-2007, 02:21 PM
That's called being conservative.

No. That's being reactionary. I wonder if The Oklahoman would propose taking Medicare away from our parents? Medicaid from our grandparents who couldn't afford a nursing home any other way? Get rid of the Voting Rights Act? They did, in fact, oppose all of these measures. If that's just being "conservative" I would hate to see them on a really far-right tangent. (sarcasm)

The Oklahoman is a lazy paper. Even the local news stories are covered with no gusto. They lack depth, they lack follow-up, basically - they lack good REPORTERS. They lack more Steve Lackmeyers. Now, there is a reporter.

The Oklahoman, as a whole, is a pretty pathetic newspaper. The online stories are updated by computer from their database. Every revision merits a new "story." How hard would that be to fix? Lazy.

Midtowner
08-16-2007, 02:43 PM
Ah.. so the editorial board took positions you disagree with, thus, you have a bad paper and bad reporters?

I agree that on the whole, they lack depth, they are scared of certain issues and offending certain business leaders. They generally slant the news in a very chamber-of-commerce friendly way (not conservative or liberal by any means though). There is nothing conservative or liberal about the tort reform they recently tried to drum up support for, nor is there anything conservative or liberal about the roads and bridges money they keep trying to raise.

stlokc
08-16-2007, 02:57 PM
I have no problem with a newspaper taking editorial stands on the editorial page. That's what newspapers do. You can agree with their stands, or disagree with them. My problem is when the editorial positions bleed over into the decisions about what news they do and do not cover, what questions they ask, what topics they shy away from.

By all means, be liberal, conservative, reactionary, communist, anarchist, I don't care, on the editorial page. But be balanced and fair in your actual reporting. With the DOK, I constantly wonder "What isn't being told here?"

Pete
08-16-2007, 03:38 PM
Newspapers everywhere are drastically reducing their staff -- mainly in the newsroom -- because they are really losing their market share to other mediums, especially the Internet.

The irony is that newspapers are one of the very few places actual reporting really gets done... Everywhere else just regurgitates and talks about the news.

So, at a time when there is much more need for content (just a generation ago there were only the network affiliates delivering about an hour of news daily) there is much less to go around.

soonerguru
08-16-2007, 07:43 PM
Great point, Malibu. I've actually defended the Oklahoman occasionally. Most recently, some former TV anchor was waxing all rhapsodic about how "newspapers are dying." I promptly reminded the guy that, unlike worthless local TV stations, newspapers actually produce original content, and therefore are more likely to survive on the Web, where original content is desperately sought after.

All in all, the OK has improved in recent years, but they do little if anything to keep our own congressional delegation in check. They do, however, LOVE to pick on small-time politicians who go awry. While this is good, there is no enterprise when it comes to holding our most powerful politicians' feet to the fire.

My biggest complaint about the Oklahoman -- which is one of the chief reasons they received the "worst newspaper in America" designation, is that they DO NOT disclose when their own ownership stands to lose or gain from a news item. For example, you found nothing in the Oklahoman about Gaylord's interest in Bass Pro Shop. This is an absolutely unacceptable abridgement of journalism ethics.

Midtowner
08-16-2007, 07:57 PM
Great point, Malibu. I've actually defended the Oklahoman occasionally. Most recently, some former TV anchor was waxing all rhapsodic about how "newspapers are dying." I promptly reminded the guy that, unlike worthless local TV stations, newspapers actually produce original content, and therefore are more likely to survive on the Web, where original content is desperately sought after.

All in all, the OK has improved in recent years, but they do little if anything to keep our own congressional delegation in check. They do, however, LOVE to pick on small-time politicians who go awry. While this is good, there is no enterprise when it comes to holding our most powerful politicians' feet to the fire.

My biggest complaint about the Oklahoman -- which is one of the chief reasons they received the "worst newspaper in America" designation, is that they DO NOT disclose when their own ownership stands to lose or gain from a news item. For example, you found nothing in the Oklahoman about Gaylord's interest in Bass Pro Shop. This is an absolutely unacceptable abridgement of journalism ethics.

Very well put.

Don't forget the fact that they won't touch any major real estate developer or major employer.

PapaJack
08-17-2007, 05:55 AM
Its interesting how this thread morphed from a discussion about spelling and grammar errors in The Oklahoman (its no longer The DAILY Oklahoman) to an analysis about editorial direction, story depth and liberal vs. conservative ownership. I offer two opinions on the issue.

1. The journalism of William Jennings Bryan, Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis, Will Rogers and Willaim Randolph Hurst no longer exists. Marshall MaLuhan was incredibly correct in his analysis, hot media has replaced cold type. You will not find in depth anything in a media that is literally fighting to survive. The New York Times can do it, for now, because of deep pockets and tradition.

2. TOK is a conservative newspaper because its advertisers cater to conservative consumers, and those advertisers $$ pay the bills. Oklahoma is a conservative state. If you are a liberal in Oklahoma expecting a liberal newspaper you are SOL.

Putting 1 & 2 together, I predict The New York Times will, in time, either morph into an East Coat TOK, or pass from the scene. I have no joy in this prediction, but I donít miss my cassette tapes getting all tangled up when I hit rewind either.

Change is inevitable; progress is a matter of perspective.

Pete
08-17-2007, 06:49 AM
There was a great 4-hour series on PBS's Frontline called News War, that discussed all the various issues about ethics in reporting and the changing times -- especially the role of newspapers:

FRONTLINE: news war | PBS (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/)

dismayed
08-18-2007, 10:01 AM
My main gripes with the news section of the paper are:

- Often times the articles are convoluted. I know that this is sometimes a stylistic choice to reel a reader in. But one day I recall reading several stories where the opener was all salacious fluff to pull you in, then they went on talking about the story for a paragraph without really explaining what it was all about, and finally in the last few sentences laid it all out and explained what the story was all about. That works for TV news but it just translates badly in print.

- I remember posting an example here a few months ago of a story that ticked me off. The entire thing was hearsay and nothing had been substantiated by anyone. I don't understand how things like that can get a pass and end up being printed.

- It seems to be written at the 8th grade level. Not as big of a deal to me... I realize that most TV broadcasts and newspapers are.

- Not a lot of investigation or in-depth coverage.

- Whenever they report on an interest that is owned by their owners (e.g. the Gaylords or Gaylord Entertainment), I have never once seen them run a disclaimer to that effect.



In my opinion, the problems that I have with the editorial page are:

- They don't report on "the other side's arguments." Case in point, even if I think or believe a certain way, I still like to hear what the other side is thinking. It helps me to understand where they are coming from because maybe we can bridge the gap, or maybe I might change my mind. The Oklahoman never dives in and tries to explain "the other side" like this. Instead they just paint anyone who disagrees with them as dumb, immoral, and illogical.

- The letters to the editor that they print are so combative, insulting, and usually lacking in substance. I am convinced that given an open debate I could tear almost anyone of the writers to shreds, simply because most are regurgitating things they have heard someone else say on TV or the radio.

- They just can't bring themselves to endorse a Democrat, no matter how conservative. It cracked me up that during the last general election the paper endorsed someone for about every office... except the Governor's. We get it -- you either liked Henry more than Istook or just couldn't stand Istook. Don't worry, your paper won't spontaneously combust if you endorse a Democrat occasionally.

- Finally, sometimes The Oklahoman is conservative without thinking. I'll never forget the morning after Katrina... the editorial page had a glowing review of the Bush administration's actions and basically told everyone to back off. Then, during that day, there was a massive outcry from both the left and the right all day long. People everywhere stopped and said, 'what the hell is going on in New Orleans?' The next day The Oklahoman ran an editorial basically saying, 'okay maybe we were a bit hasty.'