Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Day Late And A Fistful of Dollars Short

Perhaps News-Press owner Wendy McCaw ought to rethink her policy that denies the paper's reporters and others that work in the newsroom access to blogs and websites of competing publications. If her writers and editors could see what's being said on local blogs and news sites perhaps they could avoid embarrassing mistakes like the one that appeared in Tuesday's front page above-the-fold story reporting on the campaign finance disclosure statements filed by the various candidates in the upcoming elections.

The News-Press reported that Santa Barbara City Council candidate John Thyne, "filed no fundraising and spending activity (disclosure form) for the reporting period."

They couldn't have gotten it any more wrong. Thyne not only filed a report, he raised more money than any other candidate in the race. While the News-Press article and accompanying headline claimed that Harwood "Bendy" White, with $22,709.00, had the most money in the bank following expenditures, the fact is Thyne had more than twice that amount, $46,058.57 to be exact, after deducting campaign expenses.

If News-Press "correspondent" Morgan Hoover, under whose by-line the story ran, had looked elsewhere around the web or read the competition perhaps she/he wouldn't have overlooked Thyne's disclosure statement when gathering information from the website where the disclosure forms are posted.

After all, a week and change before yesterday's article appeared, the Daily Sound had run a front page story reporting that Thyne was the leading fundraiser in the council race. Over this past weekend the Independent carried a story on its website about campaign donations to the council candidates as well, and yes, even I reported about it here on my blog.

Most newspapers strive to maintain a wall between news and opinion. At the News-Press, Wendy has succeeded in erecting a wall between the newsroom and the outside world.

By the way, if you think Thyne has a large campaign war chest now, think how much money he'll have to spend after he returns his empties.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and