Gaping news hole

Aug 9, 2000 at 12:00 am
Speaking of cerebral trauma, it sounds as if Detroit News assistant city editor Brad Stertz is close to blowing a brain gasket of his own over his team’s lousy work. The lousy work part, by the way, isn’t just our incredibly biased opinion. It seems Stertz himself shares our long-held evaluation of the Detroit Snooze.

According to sources at the paper, Stertz issued a memo last week that laid down the law. In part, the memo declared:

"New policy, NO exceptions: Every time a reporter allows the Free Press or any of our other local competitors beat them on their coverage area, I will REQUIRE a memo from them AND their line editor explaining how and why that happened the next morning before the 10:30 a.m. meeting. I will not accept excuses. If a reporter is tied up on another story, they have to explain why they and their editors did not help arrange for somebody else to cover on a development they knew about. If the beat reporter didn't know about a news development, I want to know why ... in detail. This paper does not get beaten on news, especially by the Free Press. Any reporter asking for better assignments or raises better not have one of these memos in their file when they come to see me."

Then came the kicker: "The consistent failure to cover our beats appropriately will end …"

Wow, an editor at the News putting into print that the crew there is failing to cover beats appropriately. There’s a scoop.

By way of collegiality, News Hits offers this word of caution to the man some around his shop have taken to calling Herr Stertz: Be careful Brad. If you start demanding that your troops file a report every time they get beat on a story, a big downward spiral is likely to result. You get the picture, right? Missed story. Time spent filing report explaining why story was missed. Meanwhile, as said report is being written, the offending reporter gathers no new news, resulting in more stories missed, which means more report writing and less reporting.

No need for thanks. News Hits is always glad to point out the obvious. And, as the Secret Society of Happy People might say, have a nice parade. Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]