Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel bans local blog from it's pages

That the customer is always right is oft cited as a principle of good business. It is, after all, in the interest of a business to keep people coming back for more and to keep them interested in the product.

Point out a deficiency in a product or service and most business will try hard to make sure the customer is happy.

That's true most everywhere except in the media.  The newspaper business is dying.  The publishers know it. The business managers know it.  Advertisers know it.  The declining numbers of readers know it.

The leaders of the industry have an interesting response to this contraction.  They are not interested in what you want.  They are trained professional journalists.  They will decided on what is news and what is not.

In the preceding post I pointed out the decided lack of coverage on the Gosnell case provided by the Sentinel.  Too be sure, the MSM was not covering the story either. From the Wall Street Journal-
incontrovertible proof that Kirsten Powers and Conor Friedersdorf are correct in arguing that the murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell has received insufficient media coverage: On Friday, Snopes was compelled to publish a page confirming that the story is real, not merely an urban legend.
I thought it appropriate to give them all a poke about it.

The Sentinel's response was interesting. As I pointed out, I received an email from Jay Seaton, publisher of the Sentinel.

Here is that email:
Gene,

Please see a story about Gosnell at the bottom of the attached page. It ran in The Sentinel on March 21. Of course, because you are not a subscriber, you missed it.

Jay
As I wrote before - one AP story printed three weeks ago does not seem to be even close to adequate coverage. And how did he know I missed it?  Psychic publishing?

Mr. Seaton took the time to investigate the subscriber list - he probably spent more time on that the Gosnell story.

Note his quick assumption that I am not a subscriber and therefore cannot have read his newspaper.. Perhaps he is unaware that married people sometimes have different names, that people subscribe through a business, or even that his newspaper is for sale in many public locations.

The rest of the Sentinel's response is also interesting.  The Sentinel has a blog page with links to various blogs.  My blog was first linked in January 2007.  Back then there were only two real blogs on the page and some posts by Sentinel writers.  I was happy to be a part of presenting a wide variety of perspective to Sentinel readers.  Since then Sentinel readers have had access to nearly 3000 posts on everything from politics to food and recipes.

The Sentinel has responded to my inquiry by unlinking the blog from their blog page. They write:

Hi Mr. Kinsey,

Web Editor Richie Ashcraft forwarded your email to me.

I unlinked your blog from GJSentinel.com.

You were incorrect about our coverage. As a newspaper, we encourage community discussion. Some of that comes back to us as criticism. We don't shy from informed criticism. Certainly the number of local columns, blogs, letters to the editor, op-ed pieces and You Said Its attest to that. But to be part of that informed discussion requires regularly reading The Daily Sentinel.

All the best,

Laurena Mayne Davis
Now how would she know that I do or do not regularly read the Sentinel? Psychic journalism? 

And all that so called "informed criticism",  note that the Sentinel picks and chooses and edits what it prints.  If they don't like it, they don't print it.

Looking back I see that my first two posts  in 2007 were strongly critical of the Sentinel.  I have always praised the Sentinel when appropriate, but I have never retreated from criticism.

When I started blogging, George Orbanek was the publisher and Cox owned the paper.  I was sorry to see George retire.  At that time I wrote in the post Good bye George:
My initial posts consisted of some scathing reviews of current Sentinel coverage. Managing editor, Denny Herzog, responded by asking to include a link to my blog on the GJSentinel.com blog page. When I told Denny that I would continue to take shots at the paper, Denny responded, "Go ahead, we'll probably take a few at you too." That openness to dialogue comes from the top down.
George and Denny are gone and so, too, is that openness.  While I get a few hits from the Sentinel, the blog is on an independent platform and will continue.

4 comments:

  1. I like your post Gene, I like your blog. I never much cared for our local newspaper.

    It is kinda funny to me that the media in general and especially the print media are all foaming at the mouth when in comes to criticism. One think I think that they forget is that under a tight socialist or communist regime there is usually only one news outlet. Or just maybe they are fighting now to see who will (if the USA becomes socialist) survive and be the only news outlet. Rest assured it will not be the GJ Sentinel.

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  2. I don't know what "need" newspapers fulfill (it may simply be an advertising forum) but clearly something has kept them thriving in this country for over 250 years.
    When people notice the need is not being filled, they will begin to search out another way to get what they want. Americans will not be stopped. They hate a lie and will turn from it.
    Newspapers are killing themselves and as your post shows, being defensive about it. They are not in error, they are simply plagued by an ignorant readership. They are too smart for us rubes.... They will be very lonely on that high horse.

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  3. Gene, before you give Denny Herzog your seal of approval, please note that he removed the link to Ralph D'Andrea's old blog, Junctiondailyblog, because Ralph criticized the Sentinel.

    It's still the paper's right to determine which blogs it wants to link to, just as you do on this site.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. Denny and I had some serious arguments from time to time, but it never affected the paper's link. I can't speak as to why the paper deleted Junction Daily Blog.

      I agree the Sentinel has every right to pick their own list. They could have just said LTGL didn't fit their bland blog page. I would have said thanks and good bye.

      It is clear to me that the Sentinel, along with the NY Times and others do not like being called on the lack of coverage on the Gosnell story or challenged on the ideological bias.

      Delete

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