Monday, November 06, 2006

Front Page Editorials

Journalism or advocacy, you be the judge. The JT had a front page article entitled "It's not just about gays." In the article, we heard from people like Jason Collum, a gay man who said "Gay people have no rights now, so even a no vote maintaining the status quo won't make a difference... The people who will really be affected are heterosexual couples." Affected how? Well, in Ohio, "courts are trying to decide whether women who are physically abused can file domestic battery charges against their live-in boyfriends." And then there is "the possibility that shareholders could file a suit ...demanding that a company end its unconstitutional domestic partnership benefits." And on and on. What was missing from this article was any viewpoint, counter arguments, or perspective from marriage amendment advocates. Fair and balanced? Not in the least. Just more evidence of the JT's slide from newspaper to political organization.

2 comments:

eric said...

I agree, this piece was very one sided. If it had been in the USA Today it would have been in the editorial section and a counter-piece would have been run. In the weekly news mags an attempt at balance within the article itself would have been made. The reporter, Dave Steinkraus, is a good guy but his leaning is definitely to the left. Ditto Randolph Brandt. But still, I find their editorials on average, moderate(you may find this hard to believe but I frequently agree DN and RJT). I know the publisher and he is a very good man. His family's views on politics vary within the family, to include his son patrolling Iraq's streets right now. Small town papers are challenged these days as they compete with large papers, cable news, and internet. Their niche is local news and stimulating local discusssion. Judging by the RJT blogs and LTTEs, they're suceeding in the latter regard. I get frustrated with JT print errors sometimes, but the other frustrations I experience are with "journalism" in general. Placating the broad audience by feeling compelled to make it entertaining, economizing by using the same people to report the news and write opinion pieces, and confronting the long standing challenge that younger 'reporters' convinced of enlightenment due to the nature of their job are in a hurry to see their opinions in print. Journalism has gone through some changes the last 15 years due to technology, and they weren't all good changes.

Denis Navratil said...

Thank you Eric for your perspective. I am probably guilty of excessive sniping at the JT, and I have no idea about the challenges of running a local newspaper. I too have met Dick Johnston and he seems to be a good guy. In fact, I find everyone I have met at the JT to be likeable enough. If I criticize their viewpoints or bias, it can certainly seem, I suppose, that I don't like them, but that is not the case. I simply disagree with them. Of course it can be quite difficult to disagree with someone respectfully, and I am sure I have failed in this regard on numerous occasions. Anyway, I often think we are poorly served by the JT, and my criticism is intended to help them improve their product. That said, I don't think they much care about my perspective.