I just read this report in the Cleveland Jewish News about the keynote speech Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger gave at the CJN annual meeting last week. I’m really, really surprised, because, today, I was at the Press Club’s presentation of Susan Goldberg, the new editor, chosen by Egger and the PD. She sounded as though she gets it – for real (yes, of course, I asked a question and introduced myself later – I want to follow women on the oped and editorial pages – but believe it or not, the PD does a pretty good job with the women there, especially compared to other papers).
But this report about Egger’s speech doesn’t seem to indicate that Egger gets it. I’m very confused.
Some examples of what’s confusing to me re: what does Egger really think:
1. From the CJN: “Unlike “citizen journalists” armed with laptops, digital cameras and little journalistic integrity, the work of newspaper reporters is vetted to protect accuracy and credibility. The newspaper business will remain afloat as long as publishers keep this important tenet in mind, remarked Egger, former publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.”
Aw, Mr. Egger. Citizen journalists arm themselves with little journalistic integrity? That’s just not fair or representative. That is one enormously broad brushstroke. Especially for those folks who know Ohio blogs. Yes, believe me, I could help finger the ones you might be intending, but, I hate to put them on the spot, if you asked Denise Polverine or Jean Dubail, or even Connie Schultz, I know they know that there are at least a handful of Ohio political blogs that actually arm themselves WITH journalistic integrity.
Come on. That line is so yesterday, you know?
2. From the CJN: “Unlike many bloggers, print journalists “don’t have to create content at any cost to gain an audience,” said the PD publisher. Egger harkened back to the turn-of-the-century battle between newspaper pioneers Joe Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, when Pulitzer’s New York World became involved in a circulation war with Hearst’s New York Journal. Their use of promotional schemes and sensational stories became known as “yellow journalism.”
“In this era of thousands of blogs chronicling everything from Paris Hilton’s prison uniform to President Bush’s breakfast regimen, newspapers don’t need to sink to sensationalistic levels to keep readers.”
Now, Mr. Egger, you are just reading too much Joe Hallett and going only to the blog he mentioned once and then trashed a couple of weeks later, the most tabloid of tabloid media. But that blog is not only not the standard for Ohio, it’s the bane of our existence. In fact, if you go here, you can watch me discuss Ohio’s political blogs while debating the main blogger for that blog, without once disparaging him. How’s that for integrity (not to mention major restraint, but that’s another post).
Anyway – I’m guessing: Egger had an audience and what he wrote was geared to that audience. However, if you believe this stuff, then you believe it and should tout it everywhere. If you don’t believe it, but believe better, then you should tout that.
That’s all I’m saying.