Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What’s more important?

Who, what, when, where and why. Every journalist knows this simple rule of what to include in the story’s first sentence.

So does every public relations outfit that sends news releases to us.

With that in mind, two recent releases come to mind:

• “WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL, HUDSON VALLEY PROGRAMMERS GROUP UNLEASHESTHE MITCH SHOW IN JUNE” (annoying all-caps theirs, not mine). This release goes on about the screening “sponsored” by Kevin Cahill (meaning “paid by the state taxpayers”). But all that is irrelevant. As in, isn’t the whole thing about “The Mitch Show”?

Let me explain this further.

When you go see “Pirates of the Caribbean” this weekend, I’m pretty sure you won’t care what movie studio paid for it or who Johnny Depp voted for. Same goes for “The Mitch Show.” As for the Democrat assemblyman being at the screening, I would put that as a warning more than a highlight.

We in Life want to keep politics out of our events. After all, Republicans also watch movies. And there is a whole other department (I think it’s called News) which handles politics.

• Then there is this gem: “Judges for the Beta Sigma Phi Beautiful Child Photo Contest focused on selecting winners in three age categories at the Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union.”

What’s beautiful about this item was that the photo attached was not of the babies who won, but -- you guessed it -- the judges.

Here they are.

At the bottom of the release were the winner’s names and the fact that the contest benefited the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

You do this one for me, what’s more important?