Thursday, December 02, 2004

Nevada County Citizens for Responsible Journalism

The website is up, and very nicely done. Go explore it, lots of excellent stuff there on what The Union could be, vs. what it is now.

But here at NCFocus our glasses are habitually half empty (as is the cranium behind them), and we are not a team player, so a couple of critiques:

Not addressed(?): the structural bias produced when the editorial page features only two regular local columnists (publisher and editor), one of whom forcefully pushes a right-wing agenda, the other of whom reflexively avoids politics altogether. The problem has been pointed out; the apolitical editor has defended his stance, but without acknowledging that an imbalance exists which a fair newspaper would take action to rectify.

The NCCRJ website currently shows a single-minded focus on replacing The Union's publisher, and thus has a bit of a "publisher is spawn of satan" tone to it. While it's true that he's extreme, your correspondent believes the pro-development, anti-citizen-empowerment bias of the paper is structural, and thus would continue - more subtly, but still effectively - if he were replaced. Perhaps it's better to keep the devil you know...


Russ Steele said...

Why are the authors of the NCCRJ web site hiding? Who writes this stuff? Jeff Ackerman signs his columns, gives a phone numbe, and e-maill address. We know who he is. I can not say the same for the NCCJR web site. How can you be a responsible journalist, when you hide who you are?

Anna said...

Hello Russ and thanks for stopping by.

Short answer: isn't my website; while I do agree with its premise that The Union's publisher has acted egregiously, I am not advocating that he be ousted.

Longer answer: I'm not comfortable with there being no names on that website either, but I understand there was some concern about possible reprisals. I don't know if the nails-in-driveway, tire slashings, threatening phone calls etc still happen up here, or if the reprisals were more likely to be economic, or if it's a reasonable thing to worry about at all these days. But if they don't know either, given the past track record of political activists in this county, I can't say I blame them for wanting to fly under the radar. Hell, look at me... :-)

Amy said...

Following an early Dec. post by Russ re:NCCRJ: In today's Bee (Forum, back page), Jeff Kearns reports that, despite protestations about the Union publisher's "divisiveness" and urgent need to be removed, Eric Engles has never spoken to Jeff Ackerman.

Imagine my editor's reaction if I submitted a story without ever attempting to contact the principle subject of the report. The story wouldn't run. Of course, Mr. Engles isn't bound by any journalist ethics or standards, as he isn't one. One presumes, however, that as an informed citizen, he understands that credibility is damaged when fairness and balance are absent.

Anna said...

Hello Amy, and thanks for the heads-up on the Kearns piece ( here ), which I had not seen.

"Eric Engles has never spoken to Jeff Ackerman..."

I've sent an email to Eric asking if he'd characterize his and Ackerman's non-meeting the way A. did in the article; will report on his response. I'm a little skeptical: Mr. Ackerman doesn't answer my emails (which are civil), and Swift CEO Arne Hoel never did return my phone the "we're willing to talk, but the other guy isn't" talk doesn't match what I've experienced.

Anna said...

P.s. Amy, Blogger says your blog is, but when I went to visit, I couldn't find it. Is that the wrong URL?

Amy said...

Hi, Anna, thanks for responding. Re: my blog ... never intended to create one; went to register so I could post ... program demanded I create a name and url to do so. Anyway, I'm getting my computer upgraded within next two weeks, so I'll do something with it then. Hope that doesn't annoy anyone.

PS: I don't know Ackerman or Engles. Going by quotes given by both in Kearns' piece. E.E. stated he'd never met Ackerman. Thought that odd, given his efforts to oust J.A. Well, back to this rainy day ...

Anna said...

From the article:
> [EE:]"I think he's going to be so angry at me now, especially when the Web site goes up, that there's no chance of us having a civil discussion."
Not so, said Ackerman. "I sent him a card saying
'I'm not leaving, you're not leaving, let's get a cup
of coffee.'
He hasn't heard back.

Anna to EE: "Is this how you would characterize [the message]? if not, what did it say?"

EE: "That's an accurate characterization. However, I received the card after Jeff Kearns interviewed me. And, I accepted Jeff A's offer--we are going to meet sometime in mid to late January."

Anna said...

Read the Jan. 12 post on the Bee article error - which does change the picture painted.