Tuesday, August 16, 2005

From Editor Sill's blog

This afternoon I responded to a comment on a thread at N&O exec. editor for news Melanie Sill's blog.

That prompted Sill to respond. I then responded to her.

Below are the three comments.

As you'll see if you read on, I told Sill I hope we hear more from her. She needs to respond to important questions and comments some of you and others have addressed to her.

BTW - The thread, which now has more then 50 comments, is very interesting.

(My comment that lead to Sill's response.)

08/15/05 at 14:43

I read your comment with interest.

If you see this one, I hope you will respond to the following:

The Air America loan scandal involves the loss of significant community social service to about 20,000 poor children and elderly.

Two government investigative agencies are involved.

A nationally know public figure and best-selling author who has been widely discussed as a U. S. Senate candidate in '08 is involved.

This public figure, Al Franken, calls himself "a victim" of the loan scandal and his former employer "a crook."

The former employer can't be located.

The former employer was simultaneously an exec at Air America and the community agency when a series of loans totaling almost $900,000.00 were made by the community agency to Air America.

Air America is considered the liberal voice of talk-radio and has been supported in many ways by some of the country's best known liberals and MSM organizations.

In an unrelated matter, there was a dustup between Robert Novak and James Carville on CNN which led to Novak's walking off the set and subsequently being suspended by CNN.

The day following the Novak-Carville dustup, the N&O covered it with a pg. 2A, three-column story with photo.

For almost 2 weeks the N&O ran nothing on the Air America scandal.

During that time, the N&O exec. editor for news gave readers self-contradictory explanations as to why the N&O was not reporting on Air America.

There's more I could say but I'll end here.

Again, I hope you respond.

(Now Sill's comment)

Comment from: Melanie [Member] · http://www.newsobserver.com
08/15/05 at 15:14
John: I can see that you haven't understood my responses, so let me clarify again. My first post said accurately that I did not find the story in a search of our news service queues -- these were the stories available for our use at that time through our news services.

There is a difference between what one can find on the Internet and what is available to a newspaper for publication on a given day. My follow up post aimed to clarify. On Tuesday, the day of my first post, I could and did find the links mentioned by you and others on the Internet -- the NY Post and Sun stories and numerous commentaries. However, in checking our many news services I did not find a story available to The N&O for publication. On Friday, both AP and the NY Times moved stories, and we published the Times version on Saturday.

You're certainly welcome to criticize our decisions, but I hope this clears up any confusion you have about my first post and the followup. Perhaps I assumed too much knowledge about the difference between the Internet and national distribution of news content through news services. It's possible that I'll use a post later on to explain a little more about how news services work and how we make decisions at The N&O on what stories to pick up for our national and international news report.
(Now my reply to Sill's comment)

08/16/05 at 00:19

Thank you for your reply.

It deserves a thoughtful answer.

That will probably be sometime tomorrow. Sorry for the delay, but the hour is late.

Meanwhile, I'm going to post your reply at www.johnincarolina.com I’ll title it: From Editor Sill’s blog.

My posting your reply is a proper thing to do since I’ve criticized you here at your blog, at JinC, and in an e-mail for your failure to respond to the many important questions and comments readers sent you here, at JinC, in e-mails they sent you and copied to me, and, readers tell me, in e-mails and phone calls to you.

I’ll post first my comment that preceded yours; then, your comment; and finally, this initial response to your comment. For future reference, I’ll identify your response tonight by date: 8-15-05.

While your comment tonight is well short of what readers are due, I appreciate its civility.


I'll respond to Sill here and at her blog late Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, any information or suggestions or reactions you have will be most welcome.

I've said a number of times this past week that JinC readers and others have been informative and encouraging in matters relating to a major daily here in Carolina that can be a much better newspaper than it is now.