The Message

On the Mike

The game, a 2-0 Avs loss, was equally disappointing, giving Haynes no chance to bellow about either goals or fights. Still, it was a typically first-rate broadcast in which Haynes displayed his hockey knowledge, quick eye and excellent analytical skills, qualities that tend to be drowned out as soon as Super Joe puts the biscuit in the basket. "When the broadcast is over, I hope people go, 'I learned something,'" Haynes says, straightening a tie that his exhortations have loosened ever so slightly. "But I also hope they had fun."

Straight from the source: What a difference a month makes. A January 31 item in the Rocky Mountain News stated that Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell had ousted his longtime chief of staff, Ginnie Kontnik, a contention that was corrected (sort of) days after Campbell's spokeswoman claimed that Kontnik was merely being reassigned. In the meantime, Denver Post scribe Mike Soraghan began investigating the Kontnik matter, and his questions inspired Campbell to phone Post editor Greg Moore with complaints. Moore told Westword that the call had no impact on the subsequent decision to significantly trim the Post's article on Kontnik, but trimmed it was -- and Moore said that he or another manager would soon be talking with Soraghan about his technique ("Correction Detection," February 12). Betcha the tone of that chat went from censorious to congratulatory when Kontnik resigned just prior to a February 22 Soraghan effort; in the piece, former Campbell aide Bruce Thompson charged the chief of staff with shaking him down for a salary kickback.

A week and a half later, Campbell announced that he wouldn't run for re-election, citing a hospital trip for what turned out to be acid reflux as a factor in his decision. It's likelier that Campbell simply didn't have the belly for the ugliness to come, none of which he could hope to squelch by phoning the man in charge at a certain newspaper.

A March 2 Post profile of vocalist Sarah Brightman penned by Elana Ashanti Jefferson (a former Westword intern) contained considerably less original material than did the Soraghan scoop. All of the quotes in the preview were culled from a Q&A sent out by Brightman's public-relations firm, but they were not identified as such, leading the average reader to assume that Jefferson had interviewed Brightman. Insiders accused former Post music writer G. Brown of committing this sin, in which the line between journalism and promotion disappears. Although Brown eventually resigned, it was not over the practice of rewriting press releases, but because staffers detected plagiarism in one of his articles ("Looking Glass," November 20, 2003).

Jefferson and her editor, Ed Smith, directed inquiries about the Brightman offering to managing editor Gary Clark, whose e-mail response makes it clear that today's Post doesn't condone the use of canned promotional quotes to simulate interviews that didn't actually happen. "Elana forgot to include attribution for the Sarah Brightman Q&A into her story," he writes. "It was a mistake. All reporters understand that press materials need to be attributed."

That sounds like a change for the better.

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