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The imminent demise of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer announced last week is sending shock waves through Seattle & King County, as this venerable paper has been in circulation since 1863 and if not sold in 60 days, will either continue only in electronic form or shutter altogether, leaving Seattle as a one daily print-newspaper town. That is truly sad.

As stated by Phil Talmadge, Committee For A Two-Newspaper Town co-chairman, former state senator and former Washington Supreme Court justice,
“If the P-I is lost, many of our government, business and other institutions will be monitored with less vigor. The harm to all of us will be immeasurable.”

[Ed. Note: This writer agrees whole-heartedly with Mr. Talmadge. I have arisen daily in the cities I have lived to great newspapers like the Louisville Courier-Journal, Miami Herald & Miami News, San Francisco Chronicle & S. F. Examiner, Houston Chronicle, New York Times, NY Daily News, NY Post and the San Diego Union-Tribune. To hear any newspaper’s demise is truly sad, for the public is best-served by a plethora of media choices. That most news sources are in the hands of a few conglomerates tells the story. Our locally, owned/operated newspapers, blogs and video media are our best sources in these days of the demise of the dailies.]

The Yelm-based Nisqually Valley News weekly newspaper Editor-Publisher Kevin Graves printed an editorial in the January 10th edition talking about the status of his newspaper in the current environment, saying the NVN has had challenges, yet is holding its own. He took aim at bloggers and attempted to differentiate them from journalists saying,
“Bloggers, for example, are big on lifting information from other sources, including from credible newspaper Web sites. The attribution given to the original source is often meager, and the bloggist’s personal agenda and angst are frequently woven into lifted articles in such a way that the original piece becomes less an objective news story and more a biased tirade.
Tada! Just add hot air and you have instant Rush Limbaugh.
Having studied journalism – things such as journalism ethics, reporting and news style – I take great care to keep this newspaper’s coverage fair and objective.
I believe it’s up to readers to interpret the facts of a story, not to have some egomaniac bloviate and twist information to serve his or her own ends.”

This blogger decided to take to the blogosphere in 2006 after being requested by so many to provide an alternate and/or supplemental view of issues facing our local community than just the Nisqually Valley News. This blogger thoroughly checks all sources and provides the link to a story for all to read the complete context for themselves, never having published anything skimping on details for a print deadline.
Now, this writer is contacted regularly by other South Sound media for information about stories of the Yelm area posted here.

Mr Graves touts his studies that instilled journalism ethics and the like, yet where is that practiced when he decides to purposefully withhold news from the public, as was the case in 2005 when he never told the public then-Yelm-Mayoral candidate Harding declined to participate in his newspaper’s sponsored Town Hall Forum and why? This writer wrote to a leading South Sound daily newspaper editor and asked if withholding facts from readers was a practice in the newspaper business. He replied his newspaper does not do that and he has not heard of that being done elsewhere, and in particular, on a local story as big as that.

Where is the style and ethics in running a story on the front page without due diligence in getting the facts from both sides before printing an accusation, as was the case in 2008 with developers Bloom & Chamberlain’s assertions about JZ Knight’s property, just to make a print deadline with some sensationalistic headline to sell newspapers, then having to print the full story 2 weeks later after they did more follow-up.

What about totally omitting to inform his readers of the major part of the ruling by Judge Wickham in a lawsuit against the City?

What about Mr. Graves “personal agenda and angst” woven into his editorials spanning almost three years about bloggers in general, and this writer in particular?

These are just a few examples of reporting and news styles Mr. Graves employs to “take great care to keep this newspaper’s coverage fair and objective,” as he calls it. HMMM!

Mr. Graves, I would like to propose an alliance. Most newspapers have several blogs. The Olympian has almost a dozen blogs alone. Wouldn’t you like to have the continually-growing Yelm Community Blog join together with the Nisqually Valley News to bring more readers to your website. After all, the numbers and participation on your forum show there is little activity there.
A blog would bring more traffic to your website and garner more advertising dollars.
Another view divergent from your own would give some depth to your newspaper’s coverage of the area.
I know working with someone that has differing views expands both immensely.
Put aside your dislikes about bloggers and anything personal you have about me as an individual for something greater. I think working together for the betterment of the community would be mutually beneficial for our area’s citizens.

As Phil Talmadge stated, “..many of our government, business and other institutions will be monitored with less vigor” with only one daily newspaper. I started the Yelm Community Blog to vigorously monitor and report on local government, business and other institutions.

It’s a new day, a new generation. Newspapers must think “out-of-the-box” to survive in this era, including a local weekly. Mr. Graves, if the economy continues this course and more retailers cut spending on advertising, where would your newspaper be if/when Fred Meyer & Rite-Aid decide to pull their NVN inserts?


Posted by Steve on January 12, 2009 at 5:25 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. Josh is absolutely correct – this blog author listed 3 “objections…about the NVN” which I have “a strong personal interest in.”

    Therefore, all that read these blog stories benefited, as I was well educated on the facts of each case and brought them forth to the public, adding and contrasting with the NVN’s coverage.

    I guess you could say I had a strong personal interest and therefore editorialism in the Yelm Timberland Library as a former Board member, Yelm’s Comprehensive Traffic Plan as one of only a handful of public commentators at the City & County Hearings, Yelm’s water plan as someone who has been in communication with Ecology and publicly gone on-record to the City Council about it, Thurston Highlands Draft EIS as 1 of only 50 that filed a public comment, etc., etc.

    Yes, I have a strong personal interest in the entries I pen.

    Agreed, we need community blogs AND newspapers – regardless of the NVN editor/publisher’s distaste for bloggers. My offer to combine the blog with the NVN is truly out of a desire to see our local newspaper weather the storms and survive as a strong outlet for our community. Discourse and disagreements are a healthy thing — and absolutely required in a Constitutional Republic.

    Orting lost its community paper (owned by NVN’s parent company); let’s hope the NVN survives the downturn. I have alot of other ideas — one in particular that would increase the NVN’s subscriber base by 500-1,000 guaranteed.

    Comment by Steve on January 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm

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