I have come to the conclusion that concern for integrity is lacking in the local media. Part of this comes from the incident this last week involving the News Leader’s editorial page, the other from my own job experience.
I believe part of the problem is the obsession with amateur talent or outside participation. First of all, let’s clear the air on why this has suddenly become popular. It is not to give the common man a voice as much as it is to save money. Amateur talent in the newspaper editorial section or on
talk radio is cheaper than hiring a j-school grad or person with a media degree. Think for a minute how many byline reporters and columnist are no longer with the News Leader. Now the News Leader gives us garbage like the “Patriot’s Pen.”
I have trouble with this guy in the News Leader being called “a patriot.” I feel “patriot” is a title you have to earn after death. A true patriot would never consider him/herself a patriot. A person who dubs himself a patriot is usually a major douche bag.
The overall racist tone of the column was bad enough but the fact the News Leader defended this guy and his use of the term “colored” shows a lack of integrity by management. This is not the News Leader pandering to their redneck critics in the community rather than adhere to journalistic standards.
This leads me to a similar problem I faced in my job this week. A caller on one of the radio programs I produce began advocating violence toward Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. I cut the caller off. It turns out the caller was a friend of the host. It was a rigged call to make it look like people actually agreed with the opinion expressed by the host. I’ve told my
supervisor I didn’t want to be associated with this kind of stuff as a shows producer. I feel very strongly about what my name is attached to. I may find there are repercussions to this decision, but contrary to what one former talk radio show host and his sycophantic fans would have you believe, I have morals and standards.
I feel we need to work on our integrity when it comes to the amateur commentators. There needs to be more gatekeeping by the local media, if we are going to allow people without any formal media training to "take over" our air waves and editorial pages. They should have to adhere to the same rules as the real media people or we will end up looking like the hillbillies people in the major markets think we are.
Of course, opinions like these are why I’m considered the Super-Villain of the Ozarks!!! Mwu- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
BTW: If you haven’t read Rhetorica's Andy Cline’s comments on the News Leader “colored” scandal, I’ve included links to those articles.