Saturday, November 05, 2005

Waterloo Courier Gives Strong Coverage to Shooting Spree in Cedar Falls--D.M. Register Ignores It. 'Heads Would've Rolled In the Old Days'

Jack Hovelson, the retiree who was a talented and tireless one-man news bureau in Waterloo and Cedar Falls for the Des Moines Register, has some issues with his former employer.

Hovelson sent this e-mail to me today:


"Tuesday evening this week, a guy tried to kidnap a 17-year-old girl at the entrance to the College Square shopping center in Cedar Falls. He drove his car up on the sidewalk of the mall, waved a 9-mm gun around, grabbed the girl, fired shots, she was hit by bullet in foot, she fought and bit him, finally getting free.

"All this happened in front of 22 witnesses, including the girl's two brothers. They were on their way into a restaurant to join their family for dinner. The girl is the daughter of Dan Deery, a prominent Cedar Falls auto dealership owner, big UNI sports backer, etc.

"The shooter drove off and was found the next morning dead in his vehicle in a Waterloo park, a suicide. Obviously, Cedar Falls and Waterloo police departments were heavily involved in the investigation. The Waterloo Courier has been all over this with follow-up stories every day since.

"I tell you all this because this is Saturday and not one word of this has appeared in the Des Moines Register, the newspaper 'All Iowa Once Depended On.' Can you imagine how heads would have rolled if this had transpired in the old days?"

[COMMENTS: I'm not surprised the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier has had outstanding coverage of the story to which Hovelson referred. The Courier is blessed with strong newsroom management. This is what I hear after talking to various people. They tell me that the Register's coverage of out-state Iowa is now "pathetic." They say they can't believe the Associated Press didn't move something on the shooting story, so they have to think the Register at least knew about it. A problem in the Register's news operation now that will grow bigger and bigger is that many people there don't know the state. "The guy who has the title 'state editor' is the husband of the woman who is editor of the editorial page," I'm told. "They came here from Wisconsin. Today's Register ran three AP stories with Cedar Rapids datelines. All were worthless. Also two AP pictures, one from Burlington and one from Davenport. That and a full page of obituaries, three of which were repeats from Friday, and I didn't have much to read in this morning's Register.]"



More about the Des Moines Register.

Bud Appleby sent an e-mail that might indicate columnist David Yepsen [pictured at the upper right in this column] is wondering what's going on at the place he does his heavy lifting.

The e-mail:


"I have not seen the newspaper today, so I don't know what the print version of David Yepsen's column looks like, but the online version is good for a laugh.

"It is marked NOT DONE. I thought that probably was a signal to someone not to publish it because he was not finished writing it yet. Sure enough, the last line reads:

"'Here are some examples:' 0316/1035/OPINION

"Also, the Register's account of the Drake women's basketball game on Saturday says that Barb Voegele scored 12 points for the Bulldogs. Actually, she did not score a single point. She never even attempted a shot. 511060353/1003/SPORTS"

[COMMENTS: Tough weekend at 8th and Locust. Obviously, Kirk Ferentz isn't the only person who lost a big one. By the way, the Register's mistake made the national website this morning. Here's how it was written: "Rough draft: The Des Moines Register appears to have published a rough draft of a column on its website. The headline begins, "NOT DONE," and the last line of the piece is: "So what should the candidates address? Here are some examples:" And that's where it ends." I'm sure all this crap will be explained in Randy Brubaker's blog. I assume he's still working there].