"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Eli Stone Reporting

Newspapers are slowly dying, so many of these cash-strapped businesses are turning to their websites to get the news to the readers long before the presses can crank out the printed version and get delivered by the neighborhood kid. My local newspaper has begun doing the same, but with a twist. The reporters are psychic -they write the story before it even happens.

Here's the latest: I attended a city planning commission meeting Thursday evening. There was lengthy discussion regarding the subject at hand, with one commissioner who seemed suddenly well-versed, highly opinionated and quite vocal on the subject. This was in vast contrast to a previous meeting in which he fumbled with facts and groped for words. It was almost as if he had been given a script. Hmmm... Other public officials and myself were representing an opposing position.

Today I perused the local websites to read the media's report of the meeting. The local paper's website had an article filled with quotes from the vocal commissioner and a City Council member. Then I noticed the posting date and time: 9:27 am on Wednesday - 1 1/2 days prior to the meeting. It appeared to me that there had been a discussion the day before the meeting with quotes carefully scripted to be repeated at the meeting. Since the newspaper had just featured an editorial supporting these two men's positions, had there been collusion among all of them?

When I emailed the editor and pointed out the discrepancy of the time stamp, with the date and time of the meeting, and then questioned the accuracy and reliability of reporting the news before it happened, I got no personal response. However, I did notice that within two hours of my email, the article had been edited and a quote from the meeting by me was added. Perhaps they thought my quote would give their article legitimacy and appear less suspect - to somehow prove the article was originally written after the meeting.

I know better. Perhaps now that they have been caught, the newspaper will return to reporting news properly instead of manipulating it. It is unfortunate that financial desperation drives newspapers to stoop to such levels.

6 comments:

Crockhead said...

They're just paying you back for mooning in their lobby 20 years ago.

GoingLikeSixty.com said...

LOL at Crockhead!

Don't let the paper off the hook. Demand an explanation. If the editor is uncooperative go to the publisher.

Did you happen to grab a screen shot of the "before?" You might want to look through Google for a cached page for it.

Keep their feet to the fire. If they don't come around, hit the newspaper critics blogs - or even next biggest newspaper.

This should never happen. Never.

This isn't desperation, it's 1. laziness or 2. corruption/collusion.

Stinks.

Misfit in Paradise said...

Amazing.

Catch Her in the Wry said...

crock: That incident was at the big city news office; this is the local rag, but now owned by the big city one.

sixty: I saved the original version for my "just in case I need it someday" file.

misfit: Thanks for stopping by and yeah, it stinks.

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