Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 25, 2009

Deal or no deal

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 7:04 am

According to the SF Chronicle, the SF Chronicle is going to need to find a buyer right away or close the paper altogether if there aren’t some serious cuts made.   Perhaps this is all to play hard ball with the local unions, but it’s a rather sobering realization about the state of our regional newspaper.    While, the SF Chronicle (and other non-Alameda based publications) have not done the best job lately (cougheastbayexpresscoughalltvnewsstationscough) of appropriately covering Alameda issues that are either (1) relevant, (2) a large marjority of people care about, or (3) factual… the demise of a local paper like the Chronicle is something to lament.

Journalism has gotten to a place where it has been redefined into what it will be for the next few decades.   Whereas journalism used to be about doing due diligence, talking to all sides, and then presenting the “truth” as best as one trained individual could present that truth.   Now journalism has turned into this bastion of requiring “unbiased” and unfiltered information to be presented out to the masses in order to please as many people as possible, but with the result that no one is really informed.

Journalism is now about presenting both sides of the story, even with one side of the story is teetering on tin foil hat territory.   To me, that is not journalism, that’s laziness on the part of the reporter.    Way back in the day when I was in school and doing my internships at local media outlets someone once told me, “Reporters are inherently lazy.”  And damned if that person wasn’t right.   With constrained deadlines and now consolidation and cutbacks, reporters are required to churn out information as quick as possible.   The best way to not run into problems is to glean on to some Press Release or keep going back to the same source for the same type of line that you know you are going to get from that person in order to not have to do any real work.

The notion that there can be no bias in a newsroom or a news report is naive.   The editorial decision to write a story in the first place is the first indication of bias.  And then it becomes a freefall from there.   Which is why defining journalism as the presentation of unbiased information is a fallacy from the start.    I can get “both sides” of any story by just standing on any corner.   I can’t get the truth doing that.

For good or for bad, I believe the onus will now be on audiences (you and I) to sort through the mess of the newspapers that will be left in the wake of all this.   We will, of course, bring our own biases to how we read each and every piece of media that floats our way, but in this new age of information, that’s the best we can hope for and at this point because of the lack of good solid journalism about Alameda from the mainstream media, we can only rely on non-traditional outlets (local newspaper, blogs, online news sources) to provide us with the information and then come to the conclusion on our own.

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20 Comments

  1. I’ve always called it the “SF Chronic Lie”

    Comment by dave — February 25, 2009 @ 7:07 am

  2. Hearst pulled this same move two weeks ago in Seattle with the Seattle PI

    Comment by John — February 25, 2009 @ 7:29 am

  3. “… the demise of a local paper like the Chronicle is something to lament.”

    When one reads the myriad reasons in your post acknowledging that the Chronicle is a biased piece of disinformation (as if we didn’t already know), pardon me for not lamenting and excuse me for saying good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 25, 2009 @ 8:47 am

  4. How interesting. How do you know 1) what’s relevant, and 2) what most people care about? What’s relevant to you is not relevant to me. Nobody really has access to “most people” to find out what they care about. “Fact” is a whole other hairy thing. “Council discussed a land swap in closed session” is a fact. “Land swap was one of the options recommended to council by staff” is a fact. “Last year, developer agreed to settle a law suit in exchange for a land swap. At the meeting, and despite public opposition, council voted to approve the land swap which they said would benefit the city the most” is a fact. (All examples hypothetical).

    You seem to be saying that when the East Bay Express quotes David Howard or Pat Bail they are giving too much weight to an irrelevant or marginal point of view. Are you the judge of that? If it’s up to you and a few other bloggers only, certain select points of view will be chased out of town in no time. The Daily “Snooze” keeps trying. But if that other point of view wasn’t important, there would be no need to try and shoot it down, correct?

    The mainstream media has never been too concerned with Alameda—there’a no need to lament that loss. It’s always been up to the locals to make our own news. Leave it to us to decide what’s “tin hat” and what’s not, without the help of the demonizations and caricatures. Live and let live.

    Comment by AD — February 25, 2009 @ 9:20 am

  5. Isn’t the point that more people are reading newspaper content (at least that’s what I saw on the news last night) but that fewer are paying for it? That’s a real problem. Imperfect as they are, newspapers seem to be the only organizations actually gathering news and we need them. (Opinions are cheap and easy to produce.) Sure the San Francisco Chronicle doesn’t look at Alameda that much, but Alameda’s little disputes are not that interesting to its broad readership. The economics of journalism in small towns like ours is tougher still.

    And as for quoting Howard and Bail…when I was a journalist at my college paper, I remember it was easy and fun to ask the campus loons for a quote. They were always willing to oblige with something outlandish. That was lazy journalism. The East Bay Express is being lazy.

    Comment by BC — February 25, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  6. BC, The way you insult people like this publicly is completely reckless. It’s become the hallmark of this blog, unfortunately.

    Comment by AD — February 25, 2009 @ 10:25 am

  7. Fair point. I apologize. Stuff like this infuriates me: http://actionalameda.org/actionalamedanewsblog/2009/02/23/pom-poms-for-eve-pearlman/. But I should be grown up and let it speak for itself.

    Comment by BC — February 25, 2009 @ 10:52 am

  8. Not holding my breath waiting to see if AD will use the same yardstick for her loony buddies!

    Comment by alameda — February 25, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  9. [Begin Lament]
    It’s sad to see such brash generalizations about a newspaper being made on the basis a perceived slight about one or two specific Alameda-centric issues. The Chronicle is a vast organism breathing energy into the dreary routine of daily life – where would we be without Josh Kosman’s scathing review of a warbling soprano in Tosca, or Tom Steinstra’s prosaic ode to summiting Mt Diablo, or Matier and Ross sticking it to City Hall, or Chip Johnson calling Ron Dellums to task, or Bruce Jenkins’ 3-dot lounge. My family back east is more up to date than I am about the BART shooting, courtesy Demian Bulwa’s ongoing thoughtful and diligent coverage of an extremely sensitive and volatile topic- which happened at Fruitvale BART station, the very same station most Alamedans who take BART utilize.

    Losing a newspaper is not unlike losing a language, in which an entire worldview is muted forever. But unlike the extinction of languages, which occur in isolated faraway places, this is a vibrant chorus of voices singing about us.

    [End Lament]

    Comment by Matt Reid — February 25, 2009 @ 11:50 am

  10. I’m interested in hearing what kinds of things people would like to see in the paper that they aren’t getting — I freelance for the Express and have the opportunity to pitch features on Alameda issues that allow for a reasonable amount of space and examination (though the economy has forced them to cut the length of features, unfortunately).

    I’m not fond of the Chronicle in its current state, but we need newspapers. Daily newspapers. I’m not ready for “good riddance” just yet.

    Comment by Rin Kelly — February 25, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  11. State of the News Media 2008
    http://tinylink.com/?Qem0hgN7JK

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — February 25, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  12. #6
    “BC, The way you insult people like this publicly is completely reckless. It’s become the hallmark of this blog, unfortunately.”

    Oh, boo hoo. Methinks thou dost protest too much, Ani. I think you described your own blogospearing rather nicely.

    Comment by Linda Hudson — February 25, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  13. #12 #5 #6 #4 To say that the “East Bay Express is being lazy” is to insult the writers there.

    To say that people quoted in The East Bay Express are “loons” is just plain uninformed.

    Check the Feb. 25 issue of the East Bay Express article by Rin Kelly. She went straight to the the source for information about foundations and the probable effects a big earthquake will have on Alameda.

    As in #4, “live and let live” without demonizations and caricatures.

    Comment by RM — February 25, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

  14. Alameda, I’m relieved you weren’t holding your breath—I had to step away from the computer for a while, the pressure would have killed you!

    I think David Howard should have left the pom-poms out. It’s personal, it doesn’t add anything to his article, which otherwise makes good points, and it only contributes to the split between “them” and “us”. I think most people would agree that Eve Pearlman’s columns are sweet, but they are not probing journalism by any stretch. There’s no need to drag her into the muddy middle just for the hell of it. This is true for Pat Bail’s picking on Eve too, and the whole “dweeb” thing. This was tasteless and ineffective.
    David Howard is better off doing what he does best—uncover and inform, and keep above the fray.

    If I have one wish for journalists and bloggers, it’s to write interesting stories without having to resort to personality issues for ratings. I call that being lazy.

    Now I’m waiting for someone from “the other camp” to denounce Alameda Daily Noose and the personal attacks that have come from that side. Not holding my breath for health reasons.

    Comment by AD — February 25, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

  15. 13. I didn’t imply the EBE were loons. (And I apologized for implying others were.) And I think Rin Kelly’s article is good. She wasn’t who I had in mind when I said the EBE were being lazy in their journalism.

    Comment by BC — February 25, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  16. Rin, thanks for asking. Whatever stories you decide to write, go for depth. Don’t just relate the obvious. Tell us why. Reveal the connections between events. Follow the money. Describe the interests involved (they are usually financial). Most people understand enough of how the world works, that if you hand them the ends of several key strings, they can pull the tent together. Coherent syntax and good spelling always appreciated. Best of luck.

    Comment by AD — February 25, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  17. David Howard is better off doing what he does best—uncover and inform, and keep above the fray.

    Is it April 1 already???? :)

    Comment by alameda — February 25, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  18. Interesting, a mashup is being proposed as a replacement …

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexis-madrigal-and-sarah-rich/the-wiki-thats-building-a_b_170327.html

    Comment by alameda — February 26, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

  19. all people are lazy

    Comment by gds — March 1, 2009 @ 12:27 am

  20. Perhaps the San Francisco Chronicle will end up like the Seattle relative as online version only:

    http://mashable.com/2009/03/06/seattle-p-i-might-try-online-only-version-of-newspaper/

    Comment by Mike McMahon — March 6, 2009 @ 11:02 am


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