Is this journalism?

For those of you who may have missed it, orangepolitics made page B1 in today's News & Observer

Intrepid reporter Anne Blythe draws generalizations from comments made here without any specific attribution and characterizes her anonymous source as "the town's political insiders."

Does Blythe know that A Voter, Winston Smith, or Coyote, to name a few, are political insiders? If so, how?

Surely there is a long tradition of anonymous attribution in the news business but I think it used to go like this: a reporter tries to find someone to go on the record on a story. She can't but she finds a potent statement from someone who wishes to remain anonymous and is called something like "an informed source" in the article. The readers then place as much confidence in that quote as they have in the writer's and editor's ability to find and vet a credible source.

Local Media and the "B" word

Bias is a loaded word that gets thrown around indiscriminately now to characterize the purveyors of news we don't like, and to express frustration with the news choices of editors and program directors whose jobs are little-understood by most, and who can't be voted out of office when they piss us off.

That is to say, I don't think much of the word "bias" as a term of media criticism, and I tend to think of people who use it as folks who, well-meaning enough, don't really understand how the news business works.

But, someone asked for a thread on local media -- ahem -- bias, and so let's pick that one apart. A few thoughts and questions:


From this week's Indy (the endorsement issue that was missing a whole page of Orange and Chatham!), the following correction on page 21:

An Oct. 22 article "Town vs. Gown," should have said that Chapel Hill Town Council candidate Dianne Bachman was a board member of the Community Action Network, not the chair. Also, as a university architect and project manager, Bachman did not present plans to the Town Council, but attended council meetings to assist senior adminstrators on technical issues.

Sounds like Dianne didn't like being asked the old "so when did you stop beating your wife" question, and insisted that the Independent let folks know that it was months ago. Really. How reassuring.

And the fox says: "I wasn't actually 'guarding' the hen house per se, I was just, um, watching it for a friend. He'll be right back, I promise."

Indy School Board Endorsement Misses a Good One

I was sorely disappointed with the Independent's failure to endorse School Board Vice-Chairperson Gloria Faley. I have to admit that I'm not the most consistent watcher of school board actions, but the Indy got this one all wrong. There has been no indication that Gloria ever stopped being a "refreshing, independent voice" on the Board. As a member of one of the other elected bodies Gloria addressed during the "School in a Park" debate, one who ultimately voted against her position, I saw Gloria as professional, articulate advocate -- even as some others who supported locating the school on the park land, were anything but. I hope voters in Chapel Hill and Carrboro remember that amidst the fiery rhetoric of both the School/Park issue and the recent merger fights, Gloria has been a calming voice…in large part because she approaches these issues with a reasoned mind (even if other reasoned minds sometimes disagree with her). Her leadership consistently reminds me of the value of representative government.

DTH Coverage

I missed this, maybe you didn't. Daily Tarheel story about this web site, " -- hip, no frills, and far from balanced?"



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