Saturday, November 10, 2012

Inverted Pyramid Journalism at Work

Re: "Burlesque dancer wiggles into seat on Portland school board," Portland Press Herald, 11/10/2012.

Here we go again--another attempt by the "liberal" media to smear the Greens. Three points in response to Randy Billing's story:

1. Holly's burlesque dancing is not news. It has been covered by a number of local publications, as well as the Daily Show's "Indecision 2012" blog. If the PPH was hoping to influence Holly's electoral prospects with this story, they are about five days too late. Furthermore, the fact that she won suggests Portland voters do not care what she does in her free time--nor should they.

2. It is disappointing (though not at all surprising) that Holly's school committee platform is not mentioned until the story's end. This is in keeping with this sort of disparaging, sensational style of coverage. By making Seeliger's burlesque dancing the primary focus of the story, her actual insight, qualifications, and plans for educational improvement all become after thoughts. As someone who has worked as a professional reporter, I can assure you this type of Inverted Pyramid structured journalism is completely intentional.

3. To Joe Markley, who writes in the comment section, "They [Portland Greens who have previously served on the School Board] had no interest in improving education, [sic] their total agenda was to advance social causes such as kicking the ROTC and Military recruiters out of the school, removing the Columbus Day holiday and just basically insuring [sic] our children be taught a progressive curriculum. There's enough politics in the world already, let's keep it out of education and give our kids the knowledge they will need and deserve."

Nice idea, Joe, but it's not possible to separate politics from education. Education is inherently political. What you are looking for is not education at all, but job training. If this is the case, I would suggest home-schooling your child/children or sending them to a private charter school where you as a parent can dictate the curriculum administered. And while I am offering you unsolicited suggestions, I would also suggest you go back to school yourself and learn to write properly.

Indeed, the only thing Holly has to be ashamed of is not her burlesque dancing, but the fact she once interned for Tom Allen.

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