Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Correction(s) to publisher's column from yesterday

updated Fri 3/31 - related link, observation, quote mangling.

Swift Newspapers certainly picks their publishers with an eye for quality.

It was on The Union's Opinion page, so maybe "the whole truth" is optional, but publisher Jeff Ackerman's "white flight" sequel column from yesterday appears to contain an inaccuracy.
He quotes and responds to a comment:
"They (I think he means people of color) don't move here because they are afraid of rednecks," offered another white redneck with Web access.

He probably has a good point. We had a black reporter working for us who left because she got tired of being stared at by white children who seemed to have never seen a black woman before. The little rednecks.
This is not the explanation given in the American Journalism Review; go to the 5th paragraph from the bottom (or search for "small paper in California") to read it.

Obviously, motivations are complex, and it's likely there were several factors at play; but presumably Jeff is aware that ascribing her departure to "getting tired of being stared at" is misleading.

And he's also molested the quotations - turning one person into 3, fusing others, grafting onto them his own exclamation-mark-laden emotional state.

The tone of this column however is somewhat improved over its predecessor, and Jeff does respond to some of his critics, both in the current column and in a comment in the previous column's comments. But I'm hard to impress; I want to see if he can match Bloggin' John Robinson for courage.
Not that it'd be easy; to my knowledge, no other editor or publisher has done so.

One last thing: in Jeff's aforementioned comment he said:
I do find it interesting that these comment threads do not include much in the way of solutions.
And he's right. Unfortunately, you don't get constructive conversation when the original column consists of scornful us-vs-them finger-pointing. The way to get constructive comments is to write a thoughtful, respectful article about the problem, ask your readers to share their insights, and, in general, work with other factions, not take pot shots at them. Warfare begets warfare, not teamwork.

(and if you want to tell me that we preach what we most need to've got a point.)


Bruce Levy said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anna said...

Bruce, you had me very confused and concerned for a moment there.

(fyi to others, the above text is exactly what was submitted)

Sorry about the previous delete Bruce, but the thing is, I don't want my blog's comments to turn into anything like Mr. Ackerman's. And when the frustration/anger level of one commenter is high, it makes the comments more adversarial, the signal-to-noise ratio plummets, and you end up with warfare not discourse.

The county does need a ritual combat facility, but I don't want NCFocus to be it.

Bruce Levy said...

I made no comment to the above post, so I don't understand the above. Please remove any reference to me right away.

Bruce Levy

Anonymous said...

I made no comment to the above post, so I don't understand the above. Please remove any reference to me right away.

Bruce Levy

Anna said...

Sorry, Bruce. It looks like we might have an a-hole here trying to gum up the works.

(as in, a coward, who is not Bruce, pretending to be Bruce)

I'll see what I can do.