Corrupt Journalist

by Steed Dropout
April, 2, 2013


Criticisms of me as a person are picking up steam, online. Our marketing department here at Berkeley Reporter loves it.

I’ve been called, online, “a wannabe reporter,” by a former editor, who also said I was a second rate Matier and Ross, (Chronicle political gossip writers), the “world’s worst reporter,” more than once, and the worst slur of all in Berkeley, “a conservative writer.”

“We wonder about you,” one radical leader told me.

I’ve confessed in Berkeley Reporter (here) about manipulating stories, spinning them, preconceiving, but not inventing them.

My last editor suspected I had invented stories. “Did you even interview Running Wolf,” she screeched.

I can’t make these stories up. They’d sound made up.

Photo credit: Ted Friedman.

But I believe in progress. I’m on to my next transgression. I’m corrupt. I was first corrupted when I believed that my Google Creds were real, or worthwhile. Soon I was writing stories and headlines for marketing purposes.

I was willing to write news and news analysis and especially features at the Berkeley Daily Planet, but my most recent headlines were always researched for where they would land on Google. I was lucky that I was allowed to compose my own headlines.

I took a course in headline writing in journ school in 1959. I was always careful to have my headline reflect my lead, no matter how wacky the headline.

My headlines half a century after J-school would have then seemed from Mars.

I was at my wildest when I tried to draw attention to myself at the Berkeley Daily Planet, three years ago, and succeeded.


Berkeley Daily Planet, 2010: In the Dyspeptic Belly of the People’s Park Beast; What If They Called a Riot And No One Came?; “PALOOZA!” at People’s Park More of a Bombalooza; Closed Dustin Hoffman Haunt on Teley Was a “Hippy Jewlery Store.”

2010: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Ends Fourteen Year Progressive Reign
in District 7; A Tree Sitter’s Bird’s Eye View of a Bear Conclave in (Where Else?) People’s Park; People’s Park TreeSitter: Crazy, Enlightened, or Just Cold?

2011: In Berkeley’s People’s Park: A Slow Week in Lake Woebegone, Except for Rats, as Park Activists Eschew Violence, Focus on 42nd Anniversary; Cafe Med Licking Its Wounds After Spate of Recent Violence; “BabyCot” Sputters.

2012: On Berkeley’s Telegraph, Few Creatures Stirred X-Mas Eve — Or Did They?
2013: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates Brainstorms Telegraph.

I ‘m still writing crazy heads for this site, except that I am more aware of Google search results pages.


This just in: the staff of the San Quentin Times has an accumulated one-hundred years of journalism experience.

Journalists have been called psychopaths, opportunists, megalomaniacs, and downright crooks. The San Quentin stat nails this concept, journalist-convicts.

As I go on this way, I recall Danny Pearl, a dedicated journalist who gave his life for journalism. Woodward and Bernstein, John Peter Zenger, Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman — Nellie Bly. All the journalism greats.

But these greats vie with the likes of Hearst, Winchell, Ed Sullivan, a trove of blowhard editorialists and columnists and now Steed Dropout.

I’m in the blowhard tradition. I don’t serve; I’m too busy promoting. And I would never knowingly risk my life.

My latest feature seems to heart-throb over a dead Safeway employee. Although the story makes me want to cry, I jumped right in with promotions.

I stumbled on a grave marker in Safeway’s parking lot and learned that it was not a grave, but a memorial to a Safeway employee who died of a blood clot in her throat in 1998.

Now Berkeleyside is about (I hope) to put some pressure on Safeway to save the memorial to a popular employee or bulldoze it during renovation. This could be community journalism in action.

Photo credit: Ted Friedman.

But I see it as great personal promotion, too.

I apologize to my journalism profs and my mentors at the Illinois State Journal in the the late 1950’s. I was sweet eighteen.

Yep, the ride ends here!

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