New Dog Blog Record

One-hundred and twenty-five posts this August. A new monthly record, demolishing March's mark of 108 posts. Not bad! That brings us to 791 since we launched this thing last year. Also not bad. Keep it up, dog bloggers--the literally hundreds of people who visit this site appreciate your hard work.

Killjoys Close Pool on Labour Day

Just received an email tip that for unknown reasons Wascana Pool will be ending its season a day early on September 6. (Confirmed via the city's announcement page. And sure enough, on old the pool schedule the last day was supposed to be Sept 7, Labour Day. It's too late at night to phone city hall and ask what's up.)

Seems a strange decision. The weather is finally decent enough so that outdoor swimming almost seems an attractive idea. You'd think maybe the city would want to end off the summer with a loved-by-many, outdoor facility open right through the holiday weekend.

Inside Edition II

Hey Alex, if you and the rest of the Super Mario gang (official website) are looking to engage the Bomber faithful prior to the Labour Day Classic at Mosaic Stadium, you might want to head down to the Distrikt Sept. 4. Apparently, Troy Westwood (DayLife) is hosting a Blue Bomber fan party there.

Inside Edition

Shaquille O'Neal must have visited our office last week when I was out, because the mini-basketball hoop and sponge basketball that we got a couple of years ago as part of a cute promotion for the Billy Bob Thornton movie Mr. Woodcock where he played a sadistic gym teacher, and that used to hang on the side of my desk, is now busted. (YouTube)

News Flash

Speaking of magazines with compromised editorial content, I know who's going to be on the cover of the next issue of Fine Lifestyles Regina (CBC). Just kidding, it's actually this guy. (Nexus Blog)

Prairie Dog Does Not Trade Articles For Advertiser Dollars

"Prairie dog's editorial content is independent and is not for sale under any circumstances. We write what we like, and our readers like it that way."

—From prairie dog's masthead

The organizer of an upcoming event contacted recently to lobby for an article on it. The event—I’m not going to say what it is — sounded sort of interesting and I was fairly keen to cover it, depending on available print space and having an interested writer. Then I got an e-mail from this individual telling me they were buying an ad in our paper — but it was conditional on us writing about their event.

Here's an excerpt: "In exchange for the article, [our organization] would like to purchase a 1/4 page ad. Please have the writer contact me ASAP so that I can meet with him or her [for an interview]."

I sent the organization an e-mail explaining that we don’t trade editorial coverage for advertising. But in a subsequent e-mail to our publisher, this person repeated their demand: "We will be pleased to submit an ad for the issue if there is going to be an article about [our organization].” In other words, this person won’t advertise in prairie dog unless we write about his/her event. Which one might be inclined to call “extortion.”

Long story short, I’m not commissioning an article because we don’t publish a “you grease my back, I’ll rub yours” magazine and I resent the suggestion that we do.

And I assume there won’t be an ad either. But hey, maybe I’ll be surprised.

Advertising is one thing. Stealth advertorials are another. Stealth advertorials are bad business because readers can tell the difference between advertising and editorial content and if they feel you’re trying to fool them with an ad disguised as an article, well, you’ve probably lost a reader.

Hey businesses, want an advertorial? No problem! Buy a decent-size ad from a friendly p-dog sales rep and put a bunch of words in it about your product/event. It will have to be labeled "advertisement" so our readers don’t confuse it with actual content, and it’ll have to use a different design template than our articles — but aside from that, pretty much anything goes.

Editorial and advertising need to remain separate. If you’re mixing them you’re not publishing a newspaper, you’re publishing a catalogue.

This Week at City Hall

Tuesday, September 1
Finance and Administration Committee (12:15 pm): To help facilitate public access to six new, multi-use arenas on the Evraz Place property, Finance Committee is being asked for $288,635 to support street improvements. The money represents the amount the city received from Evraz from a land purchase and was earmarked for this purpose. Meanwhile, the communications department is asking for approval to seek out an advertising "agency of record" so that it can better coordinate marketing efforts for the city. The committee is also looking at an adjustment to the accounting of fleet revenues and expenditures, and a report on changes to the Administration Bylaw.

Wednesday, September 2
Board of Police Commissioners (9 am): At present, it would seem they still have the July 21 report on the Regina Police Service website. I'll try to keep an eye out to see if it gets updated. I suspect that this week they'll be looking at year-to-year crime stats for June and July so it'll be interesting to see if the "property crime down, people crime up" trend continues. Here's hoping that's a no.
Paratransit Advisory Board (5:30 pm): Reviewing service improvement initiatives, service hours for July through September, and the May - June 2009 ridership statistics.

Thursday, September 3
Mayor's Task Force on Access (5:30 pm): Looking at a report from the provincial government covering items in the budget that impact people with disabilities.

Full reports and agendas can be downloaded, this week and every week, from the city's website.

Six In The Morning

1 MICKEY BUYS SPIDEY Thwiiipp! Disney is paying 4$ billion in cash and stock for Marvel Comics, the publishing company behind The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men, Captain America, Iron-Man and piles more leotraded heroes. (New York Times)

2 THIS GOOD NEWS IS REALLY BAD NEWS Canada's economy is growing again. Why is it growing? Because of oil drilling and real estate. (Globe And Mail) Real estate sales growth isn't inherently a bad thing, I'm thinking, but it's very, very worrying that our economy's success hinges on extracting resources that are wrecking the planet's climate.This is what's called "mortgaging your future."

3 DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON'T Making hybrid cars requires rare elements that our planet doesn't have a limitless supply of. Uh oh. (Reuters/Toronto Star)

4 PIGS: OKAY TO EAT, NOT OKAY FOR SURGERY PRACTICE The University of Saskatchewan is the target of a complaint by a doctor organization concerned about the ethical treatment of animals. (StarPhoenix)

5 AFGHAN STUDENT TO ATTEND REGINA SCHOOL AFTER ALL Here's a nice story. Kudos to everyone who made this happen. Does anyone have any doubt this girl will enrich her classroom at least as much as she is enriched? (CBC)

6 UNDERWEAR: IT KNOWS ALL What men's underwear tells us about economic recovery. (Washington Post)