Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hey, That Columnist Has an Opinion

As I actually work for a living (at more than one job at that) I didn't make it to the NLRB hearing that kicked off yesterday in the latest struggle between real journalists and Ampersand Publishing, aka the SB News-Press. But reading the ever-trustworthy Matt Kettmann's write-up on the Independent website, a couple of things struck me as worthy of comment.

First, I simply love this quote from Scott Steepleton: “Sir, there were union people involved, but I don’t know if I thought this was part of a union campaign.”

Perhaps that should be the News-Press management's motto: We don't know if we thought.

Second, there's this passage:

As for the cancellation of Starshine Roshell’s column, which the union and government claims was done in retaliation for her union activities, [News-Press attorney Barry] Cappello explained that her column was just one of eight cancelled as part of a company-wide decision. That decision, Cappello implied, was just one way to root out bias in the paper.

It's simple--if you don't know what a column is, you shouldn't be allowed to own a newspaper. By its very definition a column is "biased." It's supposed to be someone's opinion, a place in the paper where readers can rub up against an actual voice (which can be in part a performance, but we're supposed to be smart enough to know that). That's why columns so often run with a little headshot of the author, while it doesn't really matter what the typical print reporter looks like (which is why TV journalism isn't always about getting the story right, or getting the story at all).

Not to mention if it's so bad to have columns as they add bias, where does bringing in Dr. (of Physiology) Laura put you on the bias continuum? I've never heard a strong opinion from that woman.



Anonymous Starshine said...

Big ole invective-free smiley face for you on an excellent point, George.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope someone brings this excellent point about columnists' "bias" to the attention of the arbitrator!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous kusala said...

Does anyone on the SBNP's side of the courtroom aisle really believe anything that's coming out of their own mouths?

I personally enjoyed the "I can't recall [if I wrote the 'staff report' of the NLRB hearing]" comment by Steepleton.

Such a trainwreck.

11:38 AM  

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