By now, you've heard or read about how WNPR's Kim Grehn is no longer with our station. What that has meant is a crazy time of transition for all of us here. Although, it's fair to say we're not the newsroom facing the biggest problems in Connecticut right now.
Matt Kauffman of the Courant sent me this link to his story about the Shelly Sindland complaint against Fox 61. I'd made reference on air and online to the Courant "not covering" this story, because of the paper's ties to Fox, and the complaints made against the paper's publisher (and Sindland's boss) Rich Graziano. So, while it's clear that they have reported it as news, there seems to be a "no-fly zone" over the story for the rest of the staff. ***Late addition - Rick Green has blogged about the case, as seen here***
It seems clear that if this sort of scandal was playing out anywhere else, it would be front-page news in the Courant. Instead, we're turning to ctnewsjunkie.com, where Christine Stuart first brought this to our attention. We talked about the issue Monday with former TV reporters Duby McDowell and Janet Peckinpaugh, and Daniel Schwartz of the Connecticut Employment Law Blog gave us some legal insight. He answers more questions in a follow-up story. My buddy at the Courant, Rick Green periodically teases me for being a "newspaper basher" - but nothing could be further from the truth.
In actuality, I love newspapers, and want them to succeed. There are some things about this complaint - and the coverage of it - that point to the problems of a joint TV/newspaper newsroom, owned by a massive, troubled company with questionable taste and judgement. I can't go into the full list of complaints I've heard in this space, but check out this blog written by Hartford Courant alumni to get a taste. Meanwhile, a reminder of what the Courant's still able to do best for our community - Matt Kauffman's series on the seemingly out of control state marshal system. And readers seem to want them to do more...
Some other odds and ends:
- To my knowledge, we've never had anything close to the type of online response that our show on Lyme disease got. I asked for comments - with documentation - and listeners followed through. Not surprising that such a controversial issue would get big response - but we weren't quite ready for that.
- Finally, I'd like to thank "futurist" and "Philosopher Queen" Libby Conn for her work on our two-part series on punishment and forgiveness. The conversations were deep, and thoughtful, and a bit slower than what you usually hear on Where We Live - and that's due to a lot of research and the best possible guests to talk about the subjects. You can listen back to hear what we did talk about...but I'm a bit disappointed we didn't have time to break away from punishment and forgiveness as products of crime. I'd love to come back and talk more about the low-level punishments we use every day: "Time out" for the kids, "The Silent Treatment" for teens, our tendency to want to "report" minor infractions made by those we're not too fond of... And, there's so much to discuss about forgiveness that would seem minor compared to the story of our guest Katy Hutchison. Like, this from emailer James:
What I'm facing is an inability to forgive some people I thought were friends, who posed as friends as long as I could be of use to them, then revealed their true colors when I opposed their attempt to take money to which they were not entitled from someone doing good with that money. My belief is in forgiveness--theoretically; Jesus says to forgive even your enemies, without requiring their repentence. They say that true reconciliation causes the angels to rejoice. But without repentence, without their resolve to stop the offense, with a continuation of the hypocrisy, I don't get how forgiveness makes any sense. Sure, repentence and forgiveness; but forgiveness WITHOUT repentence? That I don't get, yet I can't help feeling that I'm missing something.
Wow, yeah...we're gonna need another show to get to that.
***Late Breaking Addition: Just got this comment on our show "Aging Out of TV News?":
"Should we be surprised when the often superficial world of tv news is only skin deep?" What the hell kind of question is that? What kind of judgement are you making to begin with? You should do your homework before launching a program like this and try to refrain from inserting your opinions. We're quite able to make our own judgements about television news and your news too. Just for the record, more people watch local television news than listen all day to WNPR, including Where We Live. Just sayin...
I'm just going to respond here quickly to Anonymous: You mean to tell me that TV news isn't "often superficial?" I'm very interested to see which broadcasts you're watching - and how I can see them myself. If you mean The News Hour or BBC News on PBS, or maybe Bob Schieffer's Face the Nation, then you're quite right. But we were talking about local TV news.
Now, it's not all superficial, to be sure. But it is often superficial...witness Fox 61's hard-hitting online series: Rachel's Outfit of the Day (left).
The fact that more people watch local TV news than listen to WNPR is both true and inevitable. Anyway, I have to stop here...I've got a show to do on the impact of gambling in the state. Tune into Fox 61 for updates on this story that we won't cover today: SUV Crashes Into Building.