Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Sparing the Curse Words

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sparing the Curse Words

I made the papers. This doesn't make me happy at all, though I'm told all press is good press. 

Regular readers of this blog know that they don't always get the full story from the people covering Topeka. Honestly, this is probably true of anything that's covered by the media. It's especially true today as I read about myself in the Lawrence Journal World, where a reporter and a journalism professor have come together to denounce The Sentinel, an endeavor that will attempt to hold the media and government accountable. (Full disclosure: I've signed on to work there, though the kick-off is still several weeks away.) 

The LJW story basically denouncing the Sentinel is another effort at delusion and misinformation. Normally, I'd let it slide, but since they barely brushed the surface and since my name is uncommon and that garbage now gets to be a permanent part of my Google background, I'll fill you in on the rest here:

A KU journalism professor quoted in the article says, "The great thing about America is that anybody can claim to be a journalist or try to do journalism."

The LJW says my journalism experience is limited to being an occasional opinion writer for the Star and running a blog. Had the reporter bothered to even check my LinkedIn profile, he would know that I was a newspaper editor of the Gardner News for more than 8 years. I guess according to the LJW, "real" journalists only work at dailies. Someone should tell the staff at the Shawnee Dispatch, a community newspaper owned by the LJW. Ironically, I was once recruited to work at one of the LJW's papers. I wouldn't have even bothered returning the recruiter's phone call had I known they don't believe community journalists are "real" journalists.

My notes, emails, and phone records have been subpoenaed and I plead journalistic privilege--with the help of a media lawyer--to avoid being deposed and turning over documents in a recent lawsuit. Most "real" journalists probably can't say that. 

It's also ironic that a journalism professor is making digs at people with journalism degrees, since I have one. 

And by the way, someone please explain how a former journalist working at the Sentinel is any different than any other reporter who moves on to work for say, the Kansas Association of School Boards, a left organization that works overtime to demand policy move left and money rains on school administrators. Ahem, former Lawrence Journal-World reporter, Scott Rothschild. Or Andy Marso, the fomer "real" Topeka Capitol Journal journalist who now shills for the Kansas Health Institute. Apparently, reporters can only be called "real" journalists if they advocate for leftist organizations.

"My concern is that the more people rely on sites that only represent their viewpoint, the more limited set of perspectives they're going to get," the professor says in the LJW story.

I agree. People shouldn't rely on sites that only represent their own viewpoint. The challenge is that when individuals rely solely on the traditional media for news, they miss half of the story. I don't actually blame reporters for that, but most newsrooms are filled to overflowing with leftists. Ask me about that time I judged a journalism competition for the Kansas Press Association. Every "journalist" at the table went on and on about their liberal leanings just assuming everyone else at the table shared the same view. It was so discouraging and inappropriate in my opinion. 

Even if every leftist in the newsroom is the fairest, most open-minded human on the planet, you still end up with a final news product that is decidedly left. I'll give you an example: Give a liberal reporter a story about the homeless and a conservative reporter the same story and I guarantee you, the story will have a decidedly different angle. The liberal reporter might interview a bunch of bureaucrats about how they need more funding to "fix" the problem, while the conservative reporter is much more likely to talk to churches, the Salvation Army, City Union Mission and other non-government sources about the solution. Good reporters will talk to both of those types--the bureaucrats and the private entities--but the final story will vary greatly, based an awful lot on the perspective of the reporter. When newsrooms are clogged with only one perspective, you end up with a biased end product. That's the reality.

My blog is opinion. I make no effort to pretend that it's anything but. My goal with this blog, which is different than the goal when I started it a few years ago, is to move public opinion and policy to the right. (I regularly get asked why I started this blog. The truth is this: 1. I had information that I couldn't put in a newspaper, but that I wanted to write about. 2. I wanted to practice writing opinion on a regular basis. I'd long written columns and opinion pieces but only on a weekly or monthly basis, and I wondered if I could do it more often. 3. I sometimes do things without thinking all that hard about it. I didn't sit around for days deliberating whether to start an anonymous blog. Blogger is free. I wanted to learn the platform and a little about website building, so I created one.)

There's a difference between news coverage and opinion, but a reporter's point of view will seep through any news coverage. I'm just honest about my own perspective. Even when I write news, I have no problem telling sources my own perspective up front. That way, they know where I'm coming from, and then I do my best to be fair to that side in news writing. I'm not perfect at it, but I don't lie and pretend I don't have an opinion. 

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