Star Search: Shotgun Reporting, Cleaver’s Ride & Dead Men Must Cough Up

A friend of mine at the Star argues that whatever its flaws, locals should embrace and support the newspaper as the single authoritative source of local news….

I agree.

But just as the Star supports arts, entertainment, business and government, it also ushers forth to critique and comment upon them – for better and for worse. The idea being that criticism can be constructive.

Isn’t what’s good for the news goose also good for local ganders?

On that note, let’s take a look at Tuesday’s Front Page.

“Reading, Writing and 27 Shotguns,” reads a headline, leading to a story about Federal Education Department agents wielding sawed-off shotguns. An interesting spin, but the headline and treatment make it sound like teachers and scholarly types are packing.

That’s not the case, as a full reading of the story reveals. So why spin it like that with all the too-cute wordplay?

For example, “The U.S. Deptartment of Education is locked and loaded” and likening the sound of a shotgun blast to “an angry principal breaking up a food fight.”


Local: KC Mayor turned Missouri congressman. Emanuel Cleaver bilking taxpayers for $2,900 a month for a van that serves as a mobile office?

Maybe it wouldn’t be quite so vexing were it not for the added charge that Cleaver spent more on vehicle rental than anyone else in the house.

Two things of note: first, it was a politial Web site – not the Star – that unearthed the story. Second, seems Cleaver’s been tooling around in the van for years and only now is the newspaper getting around to bagging on him for it. Oh and the picture you see here – that’s not it.

Remembrances: Question: how long must someone of note be dead before the Star covers the story. Answer: until their heirs and assigns buy an ad.

So it is that today – more than a week after the fact – legendary WHB personality Richard Ward Fatherley – posted an obituary in the Star. And for all Fatherley’s accolades, it was a short one. Not too very much more than the standard seven or nine line freebie plus $65 for the pic. Fatherley, 69, got off cheap, so to speak. And unless the paper unleashes Aaron Barnhart or somebody else again to drum up one of those tributes…

Hey, even the St. Louis Globe-Democrat had a story about Fatherley’s passing on Monday.

Wait a second.

There’s no death schmooze feature in today’s Star. More than two fat pages of obit ads but that boxed dealie that eulogizes the Deader of the Day is missing. In it’s place; an even fatter funeral homes display ad. Priorities.

Sports: Just how important a place on the local sports landscape does the new Missouri Mavericks hockey team occupy – at least in the eyes of the Star?

The team barely secured a two-sentence mention of its playoff tickets going on sale today totally hidden on page two of sports.

FYI: Nothing here of much interest to me today, other than Horoscopes.

Business: If it’s Tuesday, it’s money shot day for the folks in Biz.

Today we learn that retailers actually employ sales and marketing stategies in laying out their stores. Oh and there’s a nice sidebar further informing that “Men Shop, Too.”

Kevin Collison reveals that scarcely half the hotel rooms in the metro were occupied last year. Ouch. Still we need a 1,000-room hotel downtown to attract conventions and help out the underperforming hotels.

I’m out…

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22 Responses to Star Search: Shotgun Reporting, Cleaver’s Ride & Dead Men Must Cough Up

  1. Anonymous says:

    Aaron Barnhart
    Now that’s the Hearne we know and love – publishing without checking first!

    Of course, had you done the Google and bothered to spell RWF’s name properly, you would have seen that I had already done an online remembrance on TV Barn. (It is, in fact, the fifth result when you search the Web for “Fatherley.”)

    And had you flashed me an email you would have learned that I also wrote a Fatherley tribute for the print edition as well. Unfortunately, it (and Bob Wormington’s) had to wait because the day I was working on them both, a THIRD local legend, Walt Bodine, had some news you may have read in The Star.

    You are still reading The Star, right?

  2. Anonymous says:

    You have a friend at the Star? That’s PRICELESS. Still, props are in order. You have succeeded in getting some Star and Pitch staffers to read KCC to right your wrongs. As Ronald Regan said, “Trust, but verify”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bob Loblaw
    Wow. Speaking of shotgun reporting… That’s pretty embarrassing, Hearne.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hearne: Checked your analytic stats for your
    site and your views and visitors are falling
    faster than ever.
    You’ve now effectively filled your site with
    stories noone really cares about.
    Noone cares about your daily critiques about
    the star. We don’t read it…so we don’t care
    anymore what they write. So why waste time and
    effort in trying to bash these people? The comment segments barely reach 5 which shows that
    this star search column is not atttracting readers but merely feeding your ego.
    Jack’s column on dollar theatres: uh who care?
    Noone goes to them so noone even knew one still
    was operating.
    The blogs about theatre…and tony’s rants about
    the power and light have grown old and worn out
    and i’m sure few people care. If we wanted to
    read tony’s crap we could just go to his website.
    The only saviour you have is greg hall who’s
    writing averages dozens of comments because its
    interesting…fun…and your readers look forward tro his commentary. But someday hall may
    bolt for his own siteand you’re left with
    almost nothing.
    IOf you’re in this to make money and get advertisers…you’re on the wrong path. You need
    content that people want to read. Right now…
    theres almost nothing someone might come to
    look for. If this is your own personal agenda to
    destroy the careers and the lives of the people
    at the kc star then you need some serious
    help. These were once your co workers and
    trying to destroy them is basically a waste of
    time. Remember…they still get 400,000 subscribers and millions of hits on their web site.
    As a businessman you need to make a decision.
    Produce a site that attracts readers who then see
    your advertisers message who then spend money
    with your advertisers or become a dinosaur
    like many of the media have become.
    You’re readers are going elsewhere. You need to
    recapture them before they are gone for good.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tracy Thomas
    JoJo is right. There I said it. I would doublecheck his fact about the Star having 400,000 “subscribers”.

    Nice factual tone here, Jojo!

    I would like Hearne to read Dan Rattiner in the Hamptons is my favorite writer, has published for 40 years out there, very funny writer, even makes stuff up, which then has a life of its own–eg the Long Island Subway. Completely invented, it fools some people. He even prints “ridership reports” and news of which celebrities, eg Alec Baldwin and Paul McCartney, were spotted on that subway the past week.

    Light, fun reading, clever writing. Hearne, you have that ability when you turn your attention to it. Get off this kick the Star kick. This make-wrong approach is not what you are best at, anyway. Since you’re not constrained by space, write a paper or a website that you and everyone want to read!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    I have no clue how many hits you get, but I know the Star has closer to 200,000 readers on the paper side and much of that is news stands etc…still good and still the number one read paper in the midwest.

    That said, you seem to have many readers Hearne, I see the counts on comments on controversail stuff, sports,people etc…so thats good as well. I compare that to bigger online posts like Yahoo on Tiger Woods which had 200 plus comments, but we know had several hundred thousand readers, everyone doesn’t comment.

    On the Star, BOY GARY LESAK SURE WANTS THAT INCE OF SNOW..on Saturday he says high of 52 low of 50 and light snow, hmmmm…how does it snow at 50 degrees? Come on Gary…

  7. Anonymous says:

    All I no is that Hearn siriusly kneads a speelchecker.

  8. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    Leave Hearne alone. He is on it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey Aaron, such thin skin, dude. I’m not reading or reviewing TV Barn in case you forgot. Come to think of it, who is reading TV Barn?

    I’m doing the print edition of the Star, remember? The one that used to cover heavy hitter deaths right around the time the person actually died, rather than waiting and submitting something to an advertising section?

    BTW, the reason I spelled it Fatherly at 5 a.m. was the Star misspelled in his obit, errr remembrance, today and I didn’t catch it. You didn’t see that? You don’t read your own paper?

    It’s not my mission to call you for Star Search, it’s to read the newspaper like a regular subscriber – which I am – and make observations. That’s what readers do.

    As for making excuses about what else you wrote or plan to write, or why something did or didn’t run, the public doesn’t really care. Something happens, they expect to read it. If they don’t, you want them all to call you and ask why so you can explain about other stories you’re working on?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Point to Mr. Christopher. Game to Mr. Christopher. Mr. Christopher leads 0-1.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Star child…
    The way The Star has covered educational issues is criminal…they write opinion pieces as experts and have no real knowledge of the on- the-ground issues that face students and their teachers… however, they are happy to act as a mouth piece for the over $100,000 a year education leeches that are fouling up a generation of students….why?… because the type of people that are left at The Star were point collectors and apple polishers when they were in school… that is, the 1% who thrived under drill and memorize lesson plans… hey, Star writers, you have arrived just in time to kill of the your newspaper…. sad…

  12. Anonymous says:

    “hey, Star writers, you have arrived just in time to kill of the your newspaper”

    speaking of a crappy education.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why does everyone want to figure this shit out? This is the internet real time…wild west…no rules. Hearne…do your thing!
    All business that has worth grows organically.

    I’d say The Star’s biggest asset is their delivery mechanism. Pretty powerful stuff to drop that package in the front yard at 5am 7 days a week. It has become a vehicle or wrap to deliver FSI’s. Things are changing pretty rapidly in the new economy…for instance good luck trying to get anyone under age of 30 to subscribe to anything in print or online. The Napster generation has grown up on Yahoo! and Drudge feeds.

    jojo where have you been? I heard you’re moving to LaCyne?

  14. Anonymous says:

    wrong again bsnoz…not moving. MY house is in
    the upper price bracket and as much as we’d
    like to sell it…those priced houses arent
    selling…so we’re waiting til next year.
    As far as readers of print under theage of
    30…you’re wrong again. Papers with content
    that appeal to this group seem to be doing
    pretty well around the country. Alternative
    papers in denver/l.a./chicago/st. louis/
    etc. are doinga big business because they know
    what the younger readers want.
    I see INK and the pitch seem to be doing okay
    based on advertising (like all other media they
    are down but they are surviving) and you see
    people reading them everywhere. I’m sure many
    enjoy the back of the pitch so they can get
    their hookers instead of strolling down
    independence avenue.
    However…i am back. But i found it worthless
    waste of time to argue consistently with the
    “lower” class of people of this site.
    They have no intelligence about anything other
    than sports and to be honest that’s b ecome
    old. How many blogs can we have here that
    talk bout whether ku wins it all or not.
    And by the way bsnoz…how bout taking me up
    on my bet…you’re a ku fan…
    someone needs to put their money where their
    mouth is on this site.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I said SUBSCRIBE as in part with money not pick up a FREE paper at lunch.
    “I see INK and the pitch seem to be doing okay
    based on advertising (like all other media they
    are down but they are surviving) and you see
    people reading them everywhere.”

    jojo.. 2-1 is the #…. You want to put 2ger in front of that train. Lets Dance???

    Good to see you posting again…You play nice now.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Winkie
    Hearne….talk about thin skin. Come on. BTW,why did you take down the “website outlook”comment? Your censorship is the real comment being made.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Aaron is my boy. He unlike Hearne has survived the Star cuts. He unlike Hearne is known nationally and often appears on other radio programs. He unlike Hearne gives me free stuff and I can be bought ha ha.

  18. Anonymous says:

    And I have NO DOUBT that the TV Barn is more read the this site.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Rick: No doubt, huh? KCC traffic weekdays is significantly higher than TV Barn.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Flashback: Year Anniversary of Death of Bottom Line Communic
    […] criticism. For the record, I’ll post both in full here and now: Aaron Barnhart Says: March 16th, 2010 at 7:15 am […]

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