Hack Piece

Northeast News
June 13, 2017

According to the web site Wikipedia, a hack writer is a pejorative term for a writer who is paid to write low-quality, rushed articles or books “to order,” often with a short deadline. In fiction-writing a hack writer is paid to quickly write sensational, “pulp” fiction.
Such was last week’s hit/hack piece done by KSHB, Channel 41 news, portraying the intersection of Independence and Prospect as the fourth most dangerous “neighborhood” in the country, according to the web site URBO.
The Dog will tackle that URBO piece shortly, but first we’d like to thank the KSHB News team for doing a stellar job producing a textbook hack piece. So good, in fact, that we’re going to use this as a teachable moment for our college interns we hire each summer. It’s not often these teachable moments just fall into the lap like this, so we’re going to seize the opportunity to showcase this poorly-produced and agenda-driven hit piece.
As for the URBO story, once again a true hack piece that apparently can’t even get the street name correct between the headline and the body copy of the story, calling Prospect Avenue “Providence” Avenue. The dog doesn’t even think there’s a Providence Avenue in the city. Additionally, using a strategically-lifted (read: stolen) photograph of the rubble from the October 2015 fire with a respirator-wearing ATF Agent in the background in an attempt to drive home their hit piece is the icing on the cake, complete with the Frisbee-holding Brown Labrador Retriever in the foreground. We won’t even begin to address the not so subtle racial overtones of the Newport Cigarette ad on the glass in the background. Nice touch URBO.
Rather than interview neighborhood people working hard to turn the Avenue around, or even the CID Ambassadors whose office is a scant half-block away, Channel 41 went for the low-hanging fruit to round out their hack in the greatest of fashion. No doubt the Assignment Editor is some twenty-something, consultant-driven, wet behind the ears millennial fresh out of J-School. Here’s a hint for you TV types who swoop in to less than stellar areas under the mantra of “if it bleeds, it leads.” Leave the news to us professionals on the print side of the house where in-depth doesn’t mean an extra 30-seconds tacked on to the end of your hit piece. The News Dog is happy to bring you up to speed.

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