5 things I think I think about today's St. Pete Times

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Yeah, yeah, the Times has a blistering editorial about Gov. Rick Scott signing into law on Thursday the pernicious election changes designed to benefit Republicans and suppress voting by minorities, college students and low-wage workers. According to the editorial, it is a blatant partisan effort to make it harder to register to vote and cast ballots, and it is up to the U.S. Department of Justice and the courts to stand up to this assault on democracy.

The futility of the Times raging agains the Republican machine is best captured in a post by blogger Ben Kirby:

What’s going to get to me are the indignant —indignant, I say! — columnists andVery Serious media types in Florida who will dedicate a column, maybe two to it, and then forget it. What do you bet Troxler says “good grief” at some point? (Too late!) Daniel Ruth will call Rick Scott “Governor Skeletor (R-Some-Quasi-Funny-Run-on-Thing-That-Describes-Scott-as-Evil-or-Whatever)”. The Editorial Board of theTimes will pen a very heavy pieceTaking the Governorto Task.

Carl Hiaasen will lament the sorry state of affairs.

Leonard Pitts will write a must-read on how we continue to oppress minorities (whichthisbill does).

We bloggers will get angry, write some posts.

Then what?

You know what? I don’t know. I really don’t. My guess is it will fade into the recesses of recent history until election day next year, when thousands and thousands of people go to vote and realize they can’t. By then it’ll be too late.

It’s not that I disagree with Ben, nor do I think that Rick Scott will escape the wrath of the voters for supporting, not just this legislation, but so much of the arch-Republican (these laws are not conservative, they are just Republican) agenda.

I just don’t think most of the changes in this election law are that unreasonable.

Eight days is more than enough time for early voting. In fact, it shouldn’t even be that long since the eight days actually begin eleven days before Election Day. Campaigns have risen and fallen in less time. Opening early voting so damn, um, early, we’re needlessly accelerating the election calendar. I don’t think early voting should not be available the weekend before Election Day, though.

Why should someone be able to change their address at the polls on Election Day? That should have been done already at a different government office. Election Day is for voting, not for me to wait in line while you get your paperwork straight.

Of course, I don’t think organizations should be disincentivized from registering voters, as this legislation does, but I am OVER registering people to vote. Democrats have registration advantages throughout the state and look how much good that has done them. I think its a blessing in disguise that Democrats and progressives won’t be wasting their time anymore with registering people to vote. They need to focus on turning out their voters.

So, yeah, I disagree with the hyperbole of today’s editorial.

Before I go too much further into the meat of today’s newspaper, there are a couple of interesting 3rd party posts about the St. Petersburg Times which I believe are worth reading. Former Times employee Andy Boyle busts chops for the newspaper’s frequent use of ? funny thing happened (insert whatever your story is about)?ledes.

So that made me wonder. How often does the St. Petersburg Times, my former employer and a great paper that lets its writers shine, let its people get away with using this phrase? I didn? think that often. I was wrong.

I did a search using their ?ite search?tool with the phrase ? funny thing happened on?and ? funny thing happened?and I got back 24 stories and blog posts since 2000. That?, well, more than a handful. In a couple, the phrase appeared in the headline (one was just the headline).

So I thought I? post them all here, because I? snarky like that sometimes.

I wish Andy was snarky like that more often.

The other post to read is from the American Copy Editors Society blog, which discusses how the Times scored that ‘viral’ shuttle picture.

Managing editor for presentationPatty Cox tells the ACES theTimes paid Stefanie $100 for the picture.

I first saw Gordon? photos onmnsbc.com about 4:30 yesterday afternoon. We had several images of our own and the wires to choose from for the front page, but this was the only one I had seen all day that made me say, ?ow! Cool.?That was a view we hadn? seen before.

I started following the photographer,Stefanie Gordon onTwitter, but then realized I couldn? send her a direct message unless she followed me. About that time. Channel 10 in South Florida tweeted that they were going to interview her.

As I was pursuing contact routes through tweeters Gordon and I have in common, picture editorPatty Yablonski called the station and asked a producer if he? have Gordon call us. Gordon called about 7:40 p.m., but was reluctant to give us permission because she was considering copyrighting the photo. She agreed to think about our $100 offer said she would call us back. She called Patty about 9:40 and then e-mailed the photo and an invoice.

DesignerTom Bassigner substituted our original photo choice, andRon Brackett, senior editor/nights, wrote a short story about it, which we published on an inside page.

Once again, it was great late-night work by a terrific team.

That is some great inside baseball right there.

I realize that’s not five things I think I think, but it’s three extended thoughts, so I’ll go easy on the newspaper today.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.