Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I won't miss the Press

Opinion piece, not the opinion of the Eye or its other writers, written in response to Ed McKeon's piece :http://middletowneyenews.blogspot.com/2012/09/living-in-no-paper-town-part-one_14.html

    Ed's  great piece was not about the death of print newspaper, but reading it, those questions came to mind. So I hate to be a negative nancy, but I only feel sorry for those who may become unemployed if Middletown Press goes under, not the ending of the paper itself. In fact, I am a little ... relieved? From a perspective of someone who was involved in a variety of charitable activities in the past and trying to get coverage of those events by the Press, all I can say is that the poor response and lack of good communication skills with readers is one reason why I am not surprised this paper is not as widely read as it once was.
     Getting positive events published in print is not about getting self recognition, or feeling the need for the media to blow sunshine in my direction; for me it is a personal matter that the history of Middletown we all leave behind is somewhat all encompassing. If it isn't accurate, if that is not possible, at least all sides will be conveyed from which some semblance of truth can be derived.
    On more than one occasion, I tried to get some mention of a positive event in print only to be told that even though the paper is called The Middletown Press, they did not have adequate coverage of Middletown and were not interested. I used to fax, call and email, months in advance to no avail; and many times given the run around and told to follow up with this person or that instead.

    During the last election, a reporter interviewed several women candidates and myself for over three hours. Over three weeks later, the piece only ran after I hinted to the editor I was going to write a blog piece on the Eye about the paper wasting our time if it was not run. I was told there was no room for the piece in which they had solicited us to interview for! While the reporter asked great questions, there is no doubt in my mind that it is not his fault, but the meat of the article never made it to final copy. Don’t even get me started with political bias and this paper either.
    The press barely covers local meetings, only quotes a few of the same elected officials over and over, and in general, misses the point of those meetings. Am I bitter I am not quoted? Quite the opposite- I am glad I am not quoted in print because more likely than not it will be entirely misconstrued by the copy editor and regurgitated into something entirely false. The typos and misquotes are too numerous to be simple oversights. I am so glad the Courant, the Patch, the Eye, and the Middletown Insider have stepped up to cover the voids left by the Press. I joined the Eye as a way to sort of correct the record for the history books from what the Press is selling as news and truth. Supply & demand, and there is no demand for the Press because of it slowly bleeding quality. When I read the Press I know to research whatever I am reading. Case in point the incident that happened on New Year’s Eve at Titanium and that way it was portrayed in the Press was so far from the police report it was if the reporter had been transported to an alternative reality the night it happened.
    Yes, I am sad to see a piece of nostalgia go by the way-side being a print newspaper, but not necessarily the fact that it is the Press we are talking about. I don't think the ending of a local print newspaper is a result of technology and digital media being the new source of news- I think it is a result of 1.boring, barely researched content being sold as journalism, 2. no real investigating of known "open secrets" & community issues that have for years been gone undiscovered, yet begged to be uncovered for public scrutiny , and 3. lack of quality in writing - if anything the internet has provided alternative views to those expressed in the Press. The Eye & Patch helped to shed light in issues at Farm Hill long before the papers did. Readers can now do their own homework, and see the fallacies they once took for truths in reporting once and for all.
    If anything, forcing people to research their own daily news and compile it from a number of sources on the web will be a benefit of getting people to see more perspectives. I used to read the newspaper and believe everything I read as fact, now, I read the newspaper, all newspapers and digital news sources as opinion from which to develop my own from. This is a habit many readers have yet to break if they ever do, and I think news delivered in non print form forces people to.
     Remember having to bring in a newspaper article and do current events in school? We were all taught to some degree newspaper are accurate sources. Example- last P&Z meeting the director innocently brought in a news article to enter into official record- I tried hard to get my point across that this was an essay on opinion and truth is relative, and eventually won, but had a hard time doing so.The ending of a reputable newspaper and the engrained perception it is the one and only accurate source- because it is printed & delivered after all, I think is a good thing. The Press and all news should be read as opinion only, and in my book- gets the same weight as a blog or other source- its people reporting what they see from their perspective -the human element is the same. Having different views can only move us forward.
     I canceled my subscription a long time ago, but received free copies on my door step for months, which made me even more bitter that the Press couldn't even do a cancellation correctly. What will a world where people have all facts be like? Just think of where Middletown can go!


Anonymous said...

It was the middletown press when it was a afternoon paper & local once they sold it it was a lost cause....

Sebastian Giuliano said...

The "beginning of the end" for the Press came when it went from an afternoon paper to a morning paper. People subscribed to it because it had the BEST coverage of city and town evening meetings and was strongly oriented to local matters throughout Middlesex County. The Courant could never match the Press in this field.

When the Press became a morning paper - to better sell advertising went the rationale - it attempted to play on the Courant's field, where the Courant had the clear advantage. At that point, the handwriting was on the wall.
What the "new" owners (those who took over from the D'Oench family) never understood was that the Press depended upon a loyal readership far more than advertising to support itself. Once that declined, advertising was not going to save it; after all, who's going to buy advertising in a newspaper with declining circulation?

Anonymous said...

Comments get posted but because you dont like that they are critical to the Middletown Insider you erase them.

Madam Nirvana (Molly Salafia) said...

On the contrary, I have no control of comments on the Eye. and am not an admin I erased my own blog entry because I seconded guessed myself if I was making sense and felt up to criticism today I'll admit, but then thought hey why not post- and then chose to re-post, unfortunately all the first round of comments went with it- good, bad, or ugly. No clue if the admins could bring them back.

Anonymous said...

Molly, you have more ballz than most of the men running the show in Middletown today. The press sucked, plain and simple, and sunlight on politics is the best antiseptic.

Anonymous said...

"Seconded" guessed?

Should have used spell/grammar check before putting up this post!

Sheesh and they wonder why people don't like to refer to them as "citizen journalists"