Wednesday, November 08, 2006

20 YOs Banned from News-Leader?

While I applaud the Springfield News-Leader for publishing a story on Question 1 banning those under 21 from Springfield bars, effective immediately, I wonder why reporter Amos Bridges didn't interview anyone affected by the ban.

Connie Zimmerman, 52, supported the ban.

"If you are 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 years old — I don't care if you are at university — you don't need to be in an alcohol environment."

Rebecca Tidlund, a secretary at Wanda Gray Elementary, supported the ban, as well.

"I would like to keep everyone out of bars, but it is (legal for those 21 and older)," said Tidlund, 53, adding that young people need to be taught that alcohol is not necessary for entertainment. "There's a lot of ways to have fun without alcohol. You don't have to drink."

But opponents of the ban voting Tuesday worried it could have negative consequences for neighborhoods while punishing minors who patronize bars responsibly.

"I have a niece who goes into some bars with the intention of listening to bands and is happy to have her hand stamped," said Denise Schorp, a 55-year-old Springfield nurse. "I think it's a whole lot better to have them there than on a street corner."

Phelps Grove neighborhood resident Terry Rowland said he fears the ban will push students to unsupervised house parties in neighborhoods such as his own.

"I don't think the city has holistically looked at the issue of where do college students go if they don't go to bars — house parties," said Rowland, 46. "Trust me, I've lived in the neighborhood 25 years. If you can't monitor them in the bars, how do you possibly think you're going to monitor them anywhere else?"

Was it just impossible to find a 20-year-old to provide her or his reaction to this ban? Or has the News-Leader decided those under 21 will no longer be quoted in the paper?

Additionally, why is the News-Leader web site still using its "Latest Election Alerts" crawl to tell voters to expect long lines at the polls? Seems those "alerts" haven't been updated for quite some time.

Which leads me to a complaint about using this crawl at all. Cable news outlets have used the crawl since 9/11 despite research showing them to be a distraction. Some local TV news outlets use them during newscasts (which contain about 20 minutes worth of "news") even though they provide no real information. The News-Leader may be jumping on this "look at our pretty bells and whistles" fad as part of its effort to make its web site more difficult to navigate, but I hope not. A user's connection speed, processor speed, and available bandwidth will play havoc with such crawls, irritating many.