Thursday, March 13, 2008

Newspaper of Record to Blog: Nom Nom Nom

To borrow a term from "I Can Has Cheeseburger," The Star-Ledger ate up a blog post "nom nom nom" on Thursday by posting my story with the byline of its "Continuous News Desk."

Instead of waiting a decent interval to let their reporter catch up, as has happened in the past when Plaintalker gave breaking news, the article went up at 7:05 a.m. Thursday with a link to the blog. It could be viewed as a compliment in one way, but considering that I gather news for free and they have a paid reporter to cover Plainfield, whassup wid dat?

In response to my e-mail pointing out the discrepancy, the "Continuous News" editor took down the entry.

This was the second time the S-L mistaked me for something like the Associated Press.

Click here for the other example.

The point is, my uncompensated self sits around in long, boring meetings to decipher the news and then I have to spend more hours writing it up, while the print media may or may not assign a reporter to these meetings.

Many times they just check to see what us non-wage slaves turn up and then make a few phone calls to earn their salaries by filing stories.

In one recent instance, Plaintalker has reported several times on the important changes in the local school tax levy that has not changed in 15 years until now, but the print media has yet to tell you about it.

This is the value of a hyperlocal blog that people with computers can access, but for those who do not go online, the dereliction of the print media to cover major stories is what? Reprehensible? Impracticable? Tough luck for the reader?

A fellow blogger would remind you that you can go to the local public library and get access to online information about your own city. It's easy, you just have to get a library card. And now I believe the library has more public access computers. Do you want to take part in decisions affecting your neighborhood? Do you want to hold your elected officials accountable?

Soon the voters will be asked to pick three people to serve three years on the school board. And then soon voters will be asked to pick two people to serve four-year terms on the City Council and another to fill an unexpired term.

In future years, these are the people whose actions will be reported on the blog and perhaps in the print media as well. Will they come across as dedicated public servants or lackeys of the political system?

Today I received my copy of "The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption." by Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure. I look forward to gaining some additional perspective on why appointed and elected officials do what they do.

We all need to pay attention to the results of our political involvement, be it a letter to an official or a major protest such as that regarding the closing of Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center.

Read all you can and form your opinions. Then advocate your point of view. It is only with the informed opinions of the electorate that the city's future can be achieved.

--Bernice Paglia


Post a Comment

<< Home