Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Pick On The Post-Gazette?

Recent jabs at the Post-Gazette -- the swipe at substandard coverage of North Shore Uglitheater developments, the she-likes-pancakes snideness, the recurring and snarky Google-compatible Intertubes apparatus angle, the exasperation concerning disregard of the obvious hack-a-thon issues -- might cause a reader to conclude that (or, at least, wonder whether) I hold the P-G in especially low esteem, or that I find less fault with the Tribune-Review.

I like the Post-Gazette. I believe it often tries to find and report worthwhile news, including difficult stories. (For example, word wafting from Grant Street is that city officials -- in conjunction, for reasons not readily apparent, with county officials --have been fretting for weeks about a formal records request concerning the financial issues associated with Iron City Brewing, the water authority and squandered public subsidies, and most versions identify the P-G as the requestor).

The P-G often fights for access to public documents and proceedings, vindicates open meeting laws, and challenges the powerful. (Not always, however. It appears to have a few blind spots.)

The P-G has invested and participated in stories it covers. It periodically veers into bizarre territory, for reasons only the publisher (or a brave insider) might explain.

But, in a declining region and a challenging financial environment for journalism, the Post-Gazette provides Pittsburgh with a genuine newspaper. I note the P-G's faults because I believe the P-G might try to improve and might succeed.

Why not devote similar scrutiny to the Tribune-Review? Why do parents respond one way when their straight-A, never-arrested, hard-working, charity-volunteering child brings home an uncharacteristically low grade, and differently when the neighbors' paroled, addicted dropout gets arrested again, this time for a felony? Differing expectations, differing levels of concern.


Lady Elaine said...

We all know the Trib is biased. So why fight it?

With news stations never telling the whole story and relying on 30-second sound bites; and other newspapers just copying press releases word for word and not doing the investigative journalism of the 70's, we should demand a higher quality of reporting like Murrow and Cronkite did.

Editors who have grown up and taught in classrooms with less emphasis on grammar, let grammatical errors and misspellings slip by, geographical errors go, slanted leads, and sometimes worst of all, the forever "three sources" rule of thumb go undocumented, sometimes allowing an e-mail or chat room source become an unconfirmed source.

So, your bitching shouldn't have to be an apology or an explanation.

With more cuts coming to the industry, my worry is these kinds of checks and balances are going to become less and less as editors and reporters become consultants or Internet-bound.


Anonymous said...

The Post-Gazette would be even better if they had 5 Rich Lords covering the Rich Lord beat. Imagine what kind of City Hall shenanigans could be brought out into the open!