It drives me crazy!
Did anyone even bother to read the Chronicle today? It took me all of 5 minutes to get through it and the highlights were Dear Abby and Garfield. Despite the fact that I could barely keep up with all the Tri-Cities stories when writing for Patch, they follow the Seinfeld school of journalism which means you write about nothing!
And what drives me even crazier is, at last night’s Geneva City Council meeting, Mayor Burns and Chronicle reporter Brenda Schory went into a long muted huddle. Of course, they were muttering about how I called both of them out in a couple of blog posts.
It wouldn’t be that bad if I hadn’t seen Schory sidling up to other public figures including leaving a press conference arm in arm with Geneva Alderman Sam Hill. So much for making any effort to appear impartial. Apparently Politics and print media make strange bedfellows.
All you need to know is, if Schory likes you, you get a pass.
“But Jeff, don’t you do the same thing?” No! I’ve defended Kevin Burns and excoriated him. I’ve supported Chris Lauzen and called him out for an inept Congressional campaign. I’ve praised Congressman Bill Foster and then exposed him for what he really is.
Yes! You tend to become somewhat friendly with the people you cover, but that doesn’t mean you forget your responsibilities, or worse, get lazy.
A few months ago, Schory actually did make an effort and the Chronicle FOIA’d the top salaries of Geneva employees. It would’ve been a great story because, with overtime, some of our police officers are doing surprisingly well without even delving into their benefits.
But did the Chronicle run the story? Nope! That might mean ruffling some feathers.
C’mon, we have a mayoral race between two candidates who should be thoroughly vetted. Considering his fascinating last four years, Mayor Burns should be answering the hard questions on a daily basis. But instead of acting like a journalist, he has Schory wrapped around his little finger.
The thing is, I know Schory can do better because I’ve seen her do better.
My former radio co-host, Tim Elenz, asked me an eminently reasonable reasonable question today, “What’s your sudden problem with newspapers, are you bitter?’
When you write for mainstream media outlets as I did, it’s considered bad form to call out your brethren. Editors won’t let you get away with it. But while folks in print media love to whine and curse their undeserved lot, they absolutely refuse to take that long look in the mirror and fricken’ change!
But now that I’m unencumbered, I can say what newspaper people have been saying to each other for the last five years. Instead of cutting back on staff, writing “happy news,” purposely ignoring the real stories, and cozying up to the people you’re supposed to cover, how about redoubling your efforts and showing the posers how it’s done?
The arrogance of some newspaper people is astounding. And the fact that they’re presiding over their own demise doesn’t seem to bother them in the least.
And only someone who really cares about print media will challenge them to improve and face their challenges head on.
It drives me crazy!