The Message

Business Call

The challenge of getting business-phobic readers over their preconceptions won't be met so simply, but Keating would like to make progress in that direction. "To me, business is like the circulatory system of the community," he says. "People who want to check out the community's economic health do that by looking at the business section."

Words get in the way: According to William Shakespeare (or, as Mickey Rooney once referred to him, "Billy Shake"), brevity is the soul of wit. If so, Chris Lopez, a former Denver Post city editor, is making the world a wittier place.

Lopez presently serves as the managing editor for the Contra Costa Times, a newspaper headquartered in California's Bay Area that's owned by MediaNews Group, the Dean Singleton-led company that also holds title to the Post. He came to the attention of Grade the News, a journalism project affiliated with Stanford University, after issuing a memo in August that promised "a $50 bonus to reporters for front page stories shorter than 8 column inches -- about 300 words."

All business: New Post business editor 
Stephen Keating.
Brett Amole
All business: New Post business editor Stephen Keating.

John McManus, writing for Grade the News, paraphrased a Contra Costa Times staffer who "saw the memo as evidence of declining news standards at the paper." If such a story was deemed important enough to possibly bump an update about the occupation of Iraq or something equally serious to the inside pages, he wondered, "shouldn't it be fully reported, rather than briefed?" Meanwhile, an anonymous editor at the Oakland Tribune, another Singleton paper, was more concerned with saving money. "Why pay $50 when you can just cut the story?" he asked.

By the way, for those keeping score at home, this item falls over sixty words short of the 300-word limit. I'll take mine in cash, thanks.

Wet 'n' wild: In this space last week, I noted that attorney/Kobe commentator Craig Silverman seemed to be getting an inordinate charge out of discussing details of the case such as semen and yellow panties on the local and national airwaves. "Somebody hose this guy off," I concluded. Shortly after the edition hit the streets, a good-humored Silverman phoned, declaring that he was "fresh from the shower." He added that his interest in Bryant developments is strictly "legal, not carnal."

Now I'm the one who needs a shower.

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