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Fly on the Wall, Edition No. 21


The Fly buzzes around town to see what's up.

Mystery meeting

The Manatee County Port Authority promised that it would have an agenda for its Thursday meeting by 5 p.m. on Jan. 15, but it never showed up at all.


Also, the time changed from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to account for the EDC breakfast.


The Fly actually likes covering the Port Authority meetings because it's a great place to nab some free doughnuts and coffee, and it's a break from the normal round of meetings. Still, going in not knowing what's going to happen gives The Fly a weird feeling.


Security processes

The Fly knows the drill when he goes to a school: report to the office, hand over his driver's license and wait for it to be scanned. Then get a sticker, plant it on his body and walk to wherever the event he's covering is being held.


So when he went to the Amer-I-Can event at Braden River High School on Tuesday, he started the drill, but then got told that he didn't need to check in and could just report to the auditorium.


The Fly always knows where to go. Just follow the METV van. The staff of the network know the Fly by his wings, and there's always time for a chat about the state of the media and TV, but the Fly sometimes worries they'll make him operate a camera.


The graduation was fun and inspiring, though. Strange as it might sound, there are kids out there trying to make something of themselves if you know where to look.


The Fly has a nice collection of school stickers attached to his desk now, and more to come.


Flying on a diet

The Fly found nothing but disappointment at both the EDC breakfast and the Port Authority meeting on Thursday. Even though the EDC event at the Bradenton auditorium had tons of food, and plenty left over, all there was for the hard-working news media was coffee and juice. If the Fly wanted to eat, he was told, he'd have to fork over money.


And the Fly had to sit in the balcony.


Fortunately, the METV folks were there to keep the Fly from dying of boredom. The Fly held out hope that there would be doughnuts at the port meeting, but he was again disappointed.


Dysfunctional meeting

One of the first meetings the Fly covered in his brilliant career at The Bradenton Times had a commemoration for Roberts' Rules of Order. At the Port Authority meeting on Thursday, it seemed for a time like the members were winging it.


Even the clerk had a hard time keeping track of the motions and the votes, and there was great joy in the gallery when the members agreed to a do-over. And even then, one member asked, "Can our legal counsel tell us what we just passed?"


Speaking of Buffets

As a member of the dying tribe of copy editors, who make it a point to know all sorts of useless information just in case someone refers to it in a newspaper, the Fly grinds his mandibles in horror when there's an obvious mistake in a PowerPoint slide or in the media.


At the EDC breakfast, Hank Fishkind quoted someone named Warren Buffet. Well, sorry, folks, it's actually Warren Buffett. Still, the Fly sees in newspaper headlines about the well-known investor: "Buffet says it's a good deal."


The Fly says if you learn nothing more in life, at least learn how to spell Warren Buffett's last name right.


Factual errors are also the bailiwick of the copy editor, and news outlets that recently sent much of their copy desks into oblivion are having to print long lists of corrections. Word up is that The New York Times, which recently cleaned out many of its copy desks, ran a giant list, probably the biggest in its history, on a recent Sunday.


There were 36 corrections, according to a site that follows the Times.


By the way, the Fly's favorite mistake was one made by National Public Radio, in a report on "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (not Schultz!). The announcer blithely declared that when "Apollo 10 landed on the moon, the lunar rover was called Snoopy, which Charlie Brown orbited above."


Now, the Fly is a bit of a space program fanatic, and grew up during those awesome missions to the moon, and he knows that Apollo 10 never landed on the moon, there was no lunar rover until Apollo 15, it was the Lunar Module that was called Snoopy, and so on.


So the Fly sent a friendly e-mail to NPR, and the next week there was a correction read on the air, and the Fly wasn't the only one who set the record straight.


For the above, and more fun corrections, check out Regret the Error, a collection of newspaper and media corrections.


That's all until next time.


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