More alternative facts

By Marc Katz

Are we still talking about fake news, alternative news, personal opinions, and lies?

Yes, we are.

I’m going to tell you something that was told to me 48 years ago—actually typed on a piece of scrap paper that has since turned to dust on a typewriter that I’m assuming was remolded into a trash pile that was shipped over to China and reconditioned into a steel beam used to build one of those towers the president is putting up all over the place.

This fake news, alternative news, and the like are actually fairly easy to espouse.

Anyway, Tom Johnson, the youngish city editor of the Sandusky Register where I started my journalistic career in 1969, told me I should strive for at least one of five elements in every story I wrote (one of them is a bit X-rated), and here they are:

1. Make ’em smile; 2. Make ’em cry; 3. Make ’em mad; 4. Give ’em a hard-on (this is the X-rated one) or 5. Scare the hell out of ’em.

The ’em stands for “them,” which is you, the reader.

Let’s bundle the list and use it for a presidential press conference

Johnson didn’t say anything about the original tenants of journalism—accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.

Actually, that part of the equation was knocked a bit off line when I joined the Dayton Daily News sports staff in 1970. Legendary Sports Editor Si Burick asked me what I thought the most important part of sports writing was, and I repeated the “accuracy, accuracy, accuracy” line.

He dismissed it with a wave of the hand. That was important, he said, but being fair was also important. In other words, don’t make reporting of events too one-sided.

Accuracy was and always is important. However, accidents do happen.

There was a story I did on another legend, University of Dayton basketball coach Don Donoher, of whom I hope to write about more in a few weeks.

Anyway, he was one of Bob Knight’s assistants for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, and while on a trip to Europe to scout and play some exhibition games, Knight and Donoher stopped by a World War II battlefield in Caen, in the area of Normandy of the famed 1944 Allied invasion of Europe.

When Donoher returned, he gave me a story about the trip, and when he mentioned Caen, I nodded my head as if I knew what he was talking about.

Well, I did know something about the Normandy invasion, but nothing about Caen, which, when Donoher said it, sounded to me like Cannes, which is the famous film colony.

So I wrote the story like Donoher had visited Cannes.

Donoher gently chastised me when he saw the story, but, of course, that wasn’t my only dip into a flawed news story, or fake news as we now call it.

One of Donoher’s assistants—who went on to become a head coach himself and currently is the associate head coach for the Oakland Golden Grizzlies—was Dan Hipsher.

While doing a story on him one day, he mentioned being at the famed Five-Star Basketball Camp.

I knew about the camp, even though I had never visited. But when I wrote the story, I remembered some friends of mine who had attended a place called Blue Star Camp, which was what was going through my mind when I wrote the story.

Yeah, I said Hipsher went to Blue Star Camp. He complained that other coaches would read that and wonder who and where Hipsher was recruiting

And then there was the story I never wrote because it wasn’t really a story, but it sure carried most of those emotions Johnson typed out for me those many years ago.

Wayne Krivsky, then the general manager of the Reds, was visiting the Dayton Dragons and was in then-Manager Donnie Scott’s office before a game.

Scott, who could be the playful sort, saw me coming, but I didn’t see Krivsky immediately, since he was sitting in a corner away from the door.

As soon as we said hello, Scott egged me on: “You could be the general manager of the Reds,” Scott bellowed. “That’s what you tell me every night. Go ahead, tell him what you’d do.”

Well, Scott and I did discuss the Reds a lot, and both of us had opinions about what could be done about the last place team then. I certainly never suggested I could be a general manager of the club.

I mean, not out loud.

Scott, though, would not give up.

“Tell him you could be the general manager,” Scott said.

“No, I really couldn’t, and I know it,” I stammered.

I thought that might end it, but now Krivsky piped up, “No, you couldn’t be general manager of the Reds.”

I’ve regretted what I said next ever since, and once called Krivsky to apologize, which he graciously accepted.

“Well,” I told him, “if I were general manager of the Reds, I wouldn’t be in last place.”

I promise not to use that line again this summer on Dick Williams, either.

The views and opinions expressed in On Your Marc are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

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Marc Katz
Columbus-born Marc Katz had a 44-year newspaper career, 41 of those years covering sports, 40 of them at the Dayton Daily News. He now blogs at Reach Dayton City Paper sports writer Marc Katz at

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