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Wazzup with local newspaper editor/publisher Keven Graves recently?
These are just of a few examples that make me go HMMM!

1. Graves prints a cryptic comment in his April 3rd op-ed titled “Actions speak louder than words” in which he was obviously criticized by someone for an error his newspaper printed, though one could not ascertain who made the criticism or why; there were no Letters to the Editor published explaining what prompted his defensive stand.

2. A week later on April 10th, Graves finally identifies the person that has drawn his ire and rath as Lynn Brewer, owner of Yelm’s The Office and he has several choice words for her in his op-ed titled “Attack on my integrity is only part of the story.”
He also decides to print her Letter to the Editor submitted a week earlier, though abridged because he says “her letter was edited for length and to omit inflammatory comments that I wouldnt publish about any business, under any circumstances.” HMMM!
Ms. Brewer published her letter in full in the comment section of the Yelm Community Blog on March 31st. CLICK HERE to read and then decide for yourself if her letter reaches the threshold of “inflammatory comments that I [Graves] wouldnt publish about any business, under any circumstances.”

3. Graves refuses to publish a story on Yelm’s new Nisqually Radio internet radio station saying they are a competitor and his newspaper will not cover their story. CLICK HERE for the [Pierce County] Dispatch’s nice coverage & the Yelm Community Blog’s story about Nisqually Radio.

4. Graves’ NVN launched a new website with an RSS feed (RSS is a format for sharing content on the Web. Four of the newspaper’s sections are now on an RSS feed.). Two days later, he writes me a letter saying he requires written permission directly from him for the Yelm Community Blog to “reprint or redistribute articles, photos and all other content from www.yelmonline.com,” which this blog has never done; only quoting, critiquing and listing links. When a website has an RSS feed, they want their links widely distributed. His newspaper’s RSS feed is actually linked on another Yelm-based blog, ProtectYelm.org. So, go figure with this guy? His RSS feed is on one local blog, he will not report about a new local blog and then sends me a letter about enforcing his newspaper’s copyright for dissemination of material on this blog! That sure is some mixed message!

I chose to have my Seattle attorney write Mr. Graves to remind him about the U. S. Constitution’s First Amendment Right of Free Speech and the fair use doctrine of copyrighted work.
CLICK HERE to read that letter.

Mr. Graves has already virtually endorsed Ron Harding for Mayor in 2009, not only encouraging him to run in an op-ed earlier this year, yet putting his newspaper’s weight behind such a candidacy, all without knowing who else might be interested in seeking this elective office, an office whose filing deadline is not until July.

This is on top of Mr. Graves’ defensive posturing in recent weeks.

Election year politics aside, heating-up at the forefront of local issues are the economy, severe water rate hikes, mounting traffic, looming service cutbacks, & the future of the Yelm Library among just a few items on the minds of our area residents. A free exchange of ideas, comments and understandings are vital to an informed public getting involved and educated on major issues of the day AND from various sources, not just the local, weekly newspaper, who has previously demonstrated will omit or attempt to limit full access about important local stories their readers will see.

We all know newspapers are in trouble. Graves reported to one reader his newspaper continues to see subscriptions and hits on their website increase, bucking grim industry trends. That is good news; for the public to have as many sources for local news and information is important in these challenging times.
If the NVN IS having difficulties, perhaps Mr. Graves should read this story “Yes, A Newspaper Can Survive If It Focuses On The Community” in TechDirt, which offers some great counsel to local newspaper publishers/editors. Selectively omitting stories & information does not bode well for local newspapers in the long term.

Posted by Steve on April 15, 2009 at 6:33 am | Permalink

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