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Another piece of journalism excellence by the folks at Heartland Publications...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by justahacker, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. justahacker

    justahacker Guest

    Commissioners' candidate reports for paper

    Austin wrote an article on county board meeting for The Yadkin Ripple

    By Sherry Youngquist | Journal Reporter
    Winston-Salem Journal

    Published: August 24, 2008


    A candidate for Yadkin County commissioner who recently won a lawsuit against the county is working as a correspondent for a local newspaper and covered the board of commissioners' meeting last week.

    Kevin Austin said he wrote the article published Thursday in The Yadkin Ripple under a "staff report" byline after staff at the paper contacted him to gather information because they were short staffed.

    "I am just a citizen at this point," said Austin, whose company was a part of a lawsuit against the county.

    Austin and other residents are trying to block the county from building a $7 million jail on Hoots Road, where Austin's company is. A judge said in July that the county's rezoning of the property was not proper.

    Kim Clark Phillips, the chairwoman of the board of commissioners, criticized Austin for covering the commissioners' meeting.

    She said she questioned whether his coverage would be unbiased.

    "What kind of voice are you giving a candidate when they are allowed to write whatever they choose, unsigned?" Phillips said. "It's not illegal, I don't think, but it's certainly unethical."

    Austin said he wrote about the activities of Monday night's board of commissioners meeting as they occurred and as they would be perceived by someone who was there. The story he wrote, he said, ran without any edits or additions. He was not paid for the submission.

    "I wrote a summary," he said. "I wasn't sure if they would edit or add to it or what."

    Gary Lawrence, the publisher of the paper, said that Austin has been a correspondent before.

    The Yadkin Ripple staff does edit stories if they are found to be biased, he said.

    "My understanding from an operational standpoint is he was a correspondent," Lawrence said. "We'll treat it just like other submissions. We reserve the right to edit. It's not an issue with me."

    In May, Yadkin voters ousted incumbent commissioners Phillips and Joel Cornelius in the Republican primary. Both supported the jail on Hoots Road. Another Republican incumbent, Brady Wooten, won after a campaign that included telling residents that the county didn't have to build a new jail. The other two winners in the primary were Austin and David Moxley, a retired teacher.
  2. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    And again Heartland has to dig out the shovel to see how far it can lower the bar ...
  3. PeterGibbons

    PeterGibbons Member

    I really don't see a problem here, isn't "Citizen Journalism" the future of newspapers? That's what our editors have been telling us!
  4. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    As long as he didn't quote himself out of context, hey, it's all good. Couldn't they get one of the current commissioners to double-byline it?
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Sadly, I think "innovation" in newspapers has started at the bottom and worked themselves up the ladder.
  7. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    i used to get all fired up about this type of stuff, guys. i've come to realize, though, that the average reader in today's day and age just doesn't give a shit. your average reader wouldn't know why this isn't a good thing and would think we were assholes for even talking about it.

    hell, it'd be easier for them to read the fucking guy's blog anyway.
  8. jps

    jps Active Member

    bet he twitters.
  9. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    I tend to agree that readers don't care, TP. Sadder still, some are too ignorant to care. That's the really scary thought.
  10. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    you call it ignorance. i call it an attention span. bottom line, though, it's pretty much the same thing, and it's killing us.
  11. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Lawsuit aside, this is the equivalent of the softball coach handing the scorebook to her catcher and having her call the paper.
  12. justahacker

    justahacker Guest

    Exactly Football_bat. And this isn't the first instance. The paper is also using the police chief and the town manager to write 'staff reports.' Doesn't the public have a right to know this?
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