Editors, and how bad ones are ruining the newspaper business
Good read Jim.We've been setting up and managing quite a few Favebook pages for our clients lately. Their biggest concerns are about someone posting negative comments. But that rarely happens. Why? Because you are not anonymous on Facebook.That's what makes most of the discussions at online newspapers useless. Since they allow anonymous posting people feel free to say things that they would never say if someone knew their name.
Thanks Michael. If you are going to allow anonymous comments, as I do, you need to filter them before they are published.From the beginning I reserved the right to refuse comments based on tone and language, but not on opinion.Newspapers could do that, but it would require an investment of personnel to keep watch, something they are loathe to do.Congratulations on your business your website is outstanding and you have some great employees.
Speaking of civility, longtime Flint deejay and local cable access personality Ted Johnson passed away, according to an FJ article. Never met him but I saw him on TV now and then. Seemed like a very nice man.
I never met him and can't say I say his show, but I heard from other staffers who did appear on his show that he was a very nice and classy guy.
Hearing some rumblings of more Advance Newspapers layoffs - primarily Grand Rapids Press supposedly next month (March, 2011) ... anyone else ? ?
Hey, more updates here. I miss this blog!
Weird. I have written to you before but now am not seeing how to send you a post. Have you seen this. Thought you might find it interesting.http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/02/city_of_kalamazoo_to_file_laws.htmlAnonymous
Kzoo Gazette getting sued by the city!!http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/02/city_of_kalamazoo_to_file_laws.html#comments
Jim,Thanks for keeping us informed as to what is happening at Advance Newspapers. I do not agree with how management handled the downsizing. I have however moved on. I worked for The Flint Journal for 27 years in Advertising and like many, spent many nights and weekends helping to build The Flint Journal image in the community. I still have an interest in what is happening at 200 E. First Street. I do still take The Flint Journal for two reasons. I still have friends there and want to see them continue to be employed. The 2nd is as an elected official, I see the need and value of trained journalists. Untrained citizen journalists (bloggers) and Craigslist advertising may be mostly free, but without trained journalists to ask the tough questions and dig for the truth, predators emerge.Vaughn SmithFormer Flint Journal Sales Manager
I agree with what Vaughn said but must disagree with what appears to be his assumption that current FJ reporters are trained journalists. Surely, some are, but I can think of one example right off that bat that calls that assumption into question. Recently, I commented here about a police/burbs reports who was seen on local cable access in Flint not only attending a partisan meeting of Dems (250 Club or something like that), but complimenting Genesee County Clerk Michael Carr about something. This happened during a Q&A. Most trained reports would use such a venue to ask questions for a news story, not stroke Carr's ego. So I must ask: what was he even doing there? If he belonged to this organization BEFORE joining the FJ, why would they let someone with such partisan baggage become a reporter? Why pick him among the hundreds of applicants? If he was assigned to cover the event, why take the time during a Q&A to stroke Carr? If he decided to join this policial organization after becoming a reporter, did he ask for and receive permission from management? If he was there for the FJ, did the paper send someone to the next GOP organizational meeting in Grand Blanc Township? I understand news reporters can have political beliefs and support whomever they want off the clock, but at least try to behave like you're being obective. Attending such groups is unnecessary and raises ethical questions. If the meeting was some sort of a news story, I didn't see the news and it didn't appear that the reporter was doing a story. To me, his actions were more akin to some blogger than someone trained and educated in journalism. Wonder if FJ management said one word to him about it. If not, tune in to the club's next televised meeting because he may be back to hand out more compliments to public officials in a very public way. How a greenhorn reporter can get away with this is very puzzling. Maybe he can blog on Mlive about being a delegate to the next Dem Convention. I mean, why stop at attending the local meetings? No one at the FJ seems to care.
I agree, Anonymous 09:19. But the larger question, which you touched on, is why the FJ even covers this purely partisan event (Dem club meetings)? It's one thing for local cable access to allow time for a partisan event. I suppose the rules have changed to allow this sort of thing without granting equal time to the GOP, or maybe the GOP has an open invitation for its own show and doesn't know it (sarcastic grin). No, let's face it, because at least a couple of FJ staffers are involved with this Dem club, they play a sort of wink-wink game whereby a "news tip" is somehow magically passed along to FJ editors or management that newsmakers will be speaking at the next club meeting. And the paper bites, sending veteran and rookie reporters alike, whomever is available from the rich stock of reporters scouring the city for scoops. This sleight of hand supposedly washes away the sins of partisanship and unethical journalism. The fact is, the FJ already gives acres of space to the Dems I've seen at these televised meetings -- the likes of County Clerk Carr and Sheriff Pickell. Pickell?!!? Hardly a day goes by when the man is not only not in the paper but not on the front page. He and the paper, by all accounts, enjoy a warm friendship. Hooray for Pickell but the question is: why the need for even more coverage at some after-hours Dem schmooze-fest? From what I've seen, these are no-news events with one or two softball questions lobbed underhandedly by FJ reporters (are other news outlets invited and/or allowed in?), or worse, a greenhorn FJ reporter who manages to further muddy the already murky ethical waters by handing verbal bouquets to the likes of Carr. In summary, the FJ's continued coverage of the Dem club meetings smacks of journalistic nepostism and favoritism, and the absentee landlords who pass for FJ editors and management should wake up from their winter hibernation and put a stop to this game. Now! Since FJ management is not likely to stop this little game, I call on all FJ reporters to refuse to attend these club meetings in the future. I doubt FJ maangement will force the issue since they're on the losing end of this argument, especially if the issue were aired by, say, the Poytner Institute.
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