Friday, May 15, 2009

At Least the Press Conferences Were Free

Ever the naysayer, the News-Press ran an editorial on Wednesday and an op-ed page column by Travis Armstrong on Thursday, criticizing local officials for failing to communicate the extent of the threat that the Jesusita Fire posed and claiming that the news conferences regarding the fire were often "jokes."

The Armstrong column went on to accuse "some in the local media" of failing to demand improvement and of being unwilling to ask tough questions.

Of course that raises the question of what stopped the News-Press reporters from asking those tough questions? (If indeed they weren't asked.) And a locked down website like that only makes its fire news available to subscribers, is of limited utility when it comes to communicating the extent of any threat.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

And for what it's worth, the cognoscenti don't seem to agree with the low marks the News-Press' gave to local officials. Since Monday, Edhat has been running two companion threads for discussion of things that were positive and negative about the fire and surrounding events. As of Thursday evening, the positive comments are running ahead of the negative comments by about 2 to 1.

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Daily Sound editor and publisher wrote a first person account of having to evacuate his San Roque home because of the fire. Dude! Get some fire insurance!

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Another News-Press reporter has pulled a "salsipuedes." Bill McMorris has quit the paper to move to Chicago to be with his fiance. His last two by-lined stories appeared on Friday May 8.

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From time-to-time, the News-Press prints guidelines for material submitted to its opinion page. Running under the headline, "Have Your Say," the rules include this caveat:

We do not print submissions that lack a civil tone, allege illegal wrongdoing or involve consumer complaints.

I'm sure that will come as a surprise to Marty Blum, Helene Schneider and KEYT.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and