Tuesday, June 19, 2007

You can't judge a paper by its website

...or at least you can't judge with confidence, since the picture you'll form from the online site - bereft of columns, AP stories, the headlines applied to said stories and their placement - may be misleading.
(note: I realize* that the online paper likely *can't* show this info; but its absence can - and today, does - result in an online paper that's a lot more reasonable than its wood-pulp counterpart.)

Today, The Union illustrates this issue:
  • On the front page - and on the website - you'll find an IMO excellent article by Dave Moller, taking our county Board of Supervisors to task for refusing to say who had applied for the county Clerk-Recorder position (vacated by the no longer moonlighting Kathleen Smith), or who screened the six applicants such that only Gregory Diaz emerged to be interviewed by the BOS, or how the screening process went.

    Halo of the day to reporter Dave Moller.

  • But inside the paper, global warming denialism still reigns: you'll find yet another reactionary column by Pittsburgh PA former sports writer (and current denialist) Bill Steigerwald.
    (If you're reading the paper online you won't see this - the column's not visible on the paper's website, and googling steigerwald site:theunion.com brings up nothing.)

So - today, the wood pulp Union informs with good reporting on the one hand, and disinforms with a beyond-questionable column on the other. But the online Union only shows the good reporting. Is this another reason to just get the paper online?

again though - Dave Moller done good.


I've sent an email to the paper's Readership Editor asking by what criteria they find it appropriate to run columns like Steigerwald's, and will report back the answer.
(or the stonewall, if past performance is any guarantee of future results)
(July 5 update: it was.)

For anyone who's curious: the global warming denialist Bill Steigerwald is not related to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center press officer Bill Steigerwald. (I'd asked both; only NASA Bill responded, saying no, they're very different people.)


Russ said...


If you have any questions about Anthony Watts program to survey the NOAA station, discussed in the Steigerwald article, please let me know, I am one of Anthony's volunteers and have done six of the surveys, most of which have been discussed on Climate Audit. You will find more details on my blog NC Media Watch.

Anna Haynes said...

Thanks Russ. If I didn't have other things that badly needed doing, I'd take this one on pro bono like the last one you were arguing. And as I mentioned previously, if you (or anyone else) wants to pay me for my work, I'll gladly look into it.

Or if you're willing to pay me for the previous debunking (aka wild goose chase you sent me on), I'll look into this one. That seems fair to me.

but otherwise, no time. Sorry.