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Editor fired

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by UDScoop, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. UDScoop

    UDScoop New Member

    I just heard the editor of the Griffin (Ga.) Daily News was fired back in October for trying to report on its biggest advertiser for violating EPA violations. That the publisher told the editor to stop writing stories about it, the advertiser threatening the publisher with pulling its advertising until the editor was gone, and the publisher reassigning the reporter because the advertiser wasn't comfortable with her. WTF? The advertiser was running for a state house seat in Georgia and was the chairman of the board of health, which sets policy in regard to the issues in which he was being accused, dumping chemicals, etc., and raw sewage seeping into water supply. I know this is a Paxton paper, but geez!!! Does anyone know what happened to the editor, and what's going on there? I also heard the editorial assistant was promoted to city editor without a j degree or any experience in journalism whatsoever.
     
  2. Oscar Madison

    Oscar Madison Member

    Doesn't surprise me at all.

    That type of crap happens all the time in Podunk towns with tiny sub-10,000 circ papers. The advertisers run the darn place. The publisher live in fear that an advertiser will yank his ads. Forget for a minute that they are the only game in town and they have to advertise with that paper, publishers are so fixed on the bottom line. In a small town, one advertiser pulling ads is a big lose.

    I've been a sports editor at a small paper in a small town and did everything but stand on my head to prevent this from happening.

    Good journalist is no match for the almighty dollar.
     
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Want to see some real fun?Nothing better when the person who owns a car dealership in town gets a DWI.
    Good times when they threaten to pulltheir ads if a story on it runs...
     
  4. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Small-town papers don't practice journalism. Sadly, it's a simple as that.
     
  5. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    Now that's some bullshit right there. You can't lump all small newspapers into the same category and say something like that. There are plenty of small-town newspapers that do a tremendous job. That's like me saying all women are stupid when you post something as ridiculous as that. Not all women are stupid; just you.
     
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Preserving this one for posterity. Thanks, SCE.

    There are small-town papers that do a tremendous job in a lot of areas. But rarely is it in investigative journalism because 1) as stated, the publishers are afraid of the advertisers and 2) the publishers and editors are afraid of negative reaction by readers to a negative story.

    Readers of small-town papers don't want to read that the local hometown boy got busted for DWI/has shoddy business practices/didn't make it to church last Sunday. They want to see pictures of their grandchildren on slides at the park. And editors are happy to help them out with that.
     
  7. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    If you had said, some or a lot of small-town newspapers don't do journalism, I would have agreed. I worked at an 8K newspaper as an SE where I would have put the newsroom staff up against papers in the 50-7K circulation range.

    I think you can have a good mix of both -- the investigative stuff and the popular stuff. The last two dailies I worked at had rising circulations, because our paper managed to balance both. The paper before that has seen its circulation drop nearly 15 percent, because it wants to be a big boy and doesn't want to cover the "community." If you can balance both, that's fine.

    One thing I've noticed, from places even like the L.A. Times, are these photo galleries online of pictures submitted by readers. That's helping draw in more readers to the Web site. If you do that in print, more people will buy your paper. We had a saying at my last shop: "A person is more likely to buy a paper if there's a chance they're in it." It's not all about the major, the big-name football coach or the murderer. Working at a small newspaper is about serving the community, and sometimes running a photo of little Johnny on the slide on an inside page is a way to do that.
     
  8. Oscar Madison

    Oscar Madison Member

    While I certainly agree with you on the first point, Cadet, I have to disagree with you on the third. Readers of small-town papers do want to read investigative journalism. It's the vocal minority that don't.

    It makes sense if you think about it. The local businessmen are the ones that will have the publisher's ear because they advertise. It's also in the best interest of those businessmen to keep the news in the local paper positive.

    That leaves Joe Reader, who wants to know what is really going on in his town, in the dark.

    It's also why these papers are small-town and never expanded into a larger regional publication. They are run by small people with small minds.
     
  9. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    I do disagree with one other thing you posted. While some papers may not do investigative journalism because of fear of advertisers or fear of a negative response, I think the majority of small papers would fall in two other categories: 1.) They don't have qualified journalists to handle a true investigative story. If you can write those type of stories well, you're not going to be in Podunk very long. 2.) Time. Smaller papers have smaller staffs and writers generally do more than those at bigger papers. A writer at a 200K circulation may write 7 stories in a week. A writer at a 10K circulation may write 20. It's hard to write 20 and pound out an impressive investigative piece. Unless you live in the office, which the way newspapers are paying nowadays, I certainly don't advise.
     
  10. Lucas Wiseman

    Lucas Wiseman Active Member

    That might be one of the most ignorant things I've ever read on here. And that's saying a lot.
     
  11. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Of course they're going to buy the paper if they're in it. That's the premise of "community journalism" - to get as many names and faces in as possible.

    But when they're looking for that picture of Johnny on the slide, they get angry if they see an article about slimy Bob Businessman's EPA violations. "Well, he's my neighbor and his wife taught my Susie in the second grade, so there is no way he could have done any of this. He goes to church every Sunday and volunteers with the Boy Scouts. That newspaper, all they print is lies! I'm canceling my subscription! I'm starting a letter-writing campaign!"

    And then, because all small towns survive on the gossip grapevine, the reader immediately tells all of her closest friends that the article is a flat-out lie, because Bob is a Boy Scout leader. Which prompts the calls and letters, which gives the editor an ulcer, which makes him/her less likely to run a negative/controversial story in the future.
     
  12. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    Small-town readers definitely want investigative journalism. I saw that up close at the 8K shop. Our paper did a three-part series (Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday) on a local foundation that was essentially ripping off the community. The first part comes out and we sell out. The second part comes out and we sell out. We actually had people call and tell us they were postponing their vacations, because they didn't want to miss the third part of the series. At small-town dailies, you typically have two kinds of editors. One is the kind that's been in town for 50 years and they're not going to ruffle any feathers. The other is the person on the rise, somebody who wants to do a good job and move upward in their career. I've been blessed to work for two of the latter at small-town papers, and we had no trouble putting together investigative or enterprise pieces. The trouble wasn't advertisers or negative response; the biggest issue was time.
     
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