Friday, April 07, 2006

Star Tribune To Fire Reader's Rep Kate Parry*

An anonymous source reports to NIGP that the Minneapolis Star Tribune will fire "Reader's Rep" Kate Parry tomorrow. Anyone who has witnessed the job Parry has done in the past year can understand why, as expectations have clearly not been met for several seasons. Parry has done a poor job winning credibility for her newspaper by failing to properly coach StarTribune editors, reporters and columnists when they do not perform up to the standards expected by fans of quality news reporting.

One of the greatest examples of Parry's stonewalling on behalf of the paper against even the most well reasoned criticism is the story of Minnesota Gophers Basketball Coach Dan Monson. On March 22, the Strib reported (no longer available online) that Monson would be fired in the next few days. The following day, Gophers Athletic Director Joel Maturi made the announcement that Monson would not be fired.

This test for Kate Parry should have been a slam dunk. The writers and editors ran with an unreliable anonymous source, published an erroneous story and ended up with egg on their faces when it was immediately proven false. She should have lit them up. What good are editors when they allow unnamed sources to plant untruths in the paper? Clearly no better than blogs. Yet Parry threw this brick up:

I’ve checked to make sure the vetting of the anonymous sources followed the newspaper’s rigorous standards. No one made a misstep I’ve been able to detect; they were methodical and cautious.

One problem with this ridiculous statement is that the source was providing speculation, not factual information that could be vetted. A decent news organization would follow the practice of disallowing anonymous speculation and save anonymous sources for statements that can actually be verified as fact. Perhaps Parry would at least apologize:

Trouble is, it’s hard to apologize if you don’t believe you were wrong. Every reporter and editor involved in that story told me he believes the story was accurate when the presses rolled that Tuesday night.

The story said Monson would be fired in the next couple of days. He was not. Therefore the story was not accurate. She can't even admit an obvious mistake! Remember that whenever you read anything that this horrid excuse for a newspaper prints.

And that is why I hope Kate Parry and her family see this report that she will be fired tomorrow, the same way Dan Monson's family had to see a similar false report about him.

* Because this blog strives to be more credible than the Minneapolis StarTribune (I know our standards are too low), I must admit that the anonymous source was me. When pressed I admitted that I made the story of Kate Parry's firing up. Kate Parry will not be fired and the StarTribune will not become a credible news organization.


Blogger Steve Barton said...

Why does the ombudsman/reader's rep not get to learn the identity of anonymous sources? Does this make any sense? Her explanation says she didn't find out who they were.

"I'm a reporter and I promise you anonymity, not even my boss or the inspector general-equivalent will find out who you are." And when anyone asks, I'll tell 'em I really, really believed you and that will be enough. What kind of deal is this?

11:04 PM  

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