Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Fall River Herald "News"

I have long held the belief that the Fall River Herald News is being put to best use when lining the cage of a puppy. I hesitate to kick them when they are down (Gatehouse media stock went from a $19.00 per share 52 week high to .99 cents as of the time of this post) but they are doing a disservice to their readers and it needs to be addressed.

Wednesday's Herald News reported in a lengthy and detailed article that the Tuesday night city council meeting held a wind turbine project presentation. I understand that there are deadlines but if the reporter had not left the meeting at 9:00 (2 1/2 hours before it ended) he would have noted that, although the issue was on the agenda, the presentation never occurred. After a commenter on the Herald News website called them out for reporting a story that never happened, they updated the article on their website. The update didn't do much good for the people that actually pay for the hard copy of the paper.

Now we have today's errant Herald News report that Governor Patrick signed the Home Rule petition based solely on Bob Correia's word.

Commenter "Adv" in the Herald News comment section online, said it best (i would offer a link to it but it isn't very flattering to the Herald and they will certainly flex their censorship muscle and remove it from their site):

"Good job, The Herald News. Way to source your information. Did you even bother calling the Governor's office for confirmation, or did you just take it from the collective horses' mouths (e.g. Menard & Correia)?

Just one more example that this paper is a joke when it comes to real journalism. Usually one could expect a sentence, 'as confirmed by a representative of the Governor,' or in this case above, maybe an asterix...'due to our collective laziness, The Herald News could not have been bothered to verify the alleged facts stated in this article. In fact, our heads are so far up Mayor Correia & Senator Menard's butts, that we're not even sure when it's daytime.'

I believe that this paper gets its journalistic ideals from the film Tommy Boy: 'You can take a good look at a T-bone by sticking your head up a bull's ass, but wouldn't you rather take the butcher's word for it?'

Yes we would, says the Herald News. Why dig?..."

13 comments:

FRC said...

I can't blame the Herald News too much on this one.

They received the (erroneous) information about the Governor signing the bill after 5pm. How were they supposed to confirm that if no one was left at the Governor's office?

Had the Governor signed it on Wednesday, and the Herald News confirmed it on Thursday, then it would only be in the paper on Friday.

Part of having daily newspapers and 24/7 cable news is that information will sometimes be inaccurate. It's a balance between quick and accurate information.

The Contract Chief Home Rule Petition has been a major story this year, and if I was a writer or editor of the Herald News, I would have gone with the story too.

The odds that the Herald News would call the Governor the next day and learn that the Governor had not signed it were pretty slim. That being said, I'm glad that it was an error and that the Governor has some additional time to review the bill.

General said...

Great Blog!! You would think that after 6 months being lied to by Correia that the H.N. would realize that they cannot trust him at all.

By the way, I have been told that Ed Lambert has endorsed Dave Sullivan for Rep.

Good - especially when Bob Correia is personnally going with Linda (I screwed the fire dept) Perreira to every event. He and her are stuck to the hip!

Anonymous said...

To FRC:

With all due respect, if this were an isolated instance of erroneous reporting by the Herald News it might be excusable that the paper didn't confirm the breaking news of the petition veto. After all, a reporter should be able to trust the words of Joan Menard and Bob Correia, shouldn't they? But sloppy reporting is a hallmark of this newspaper. Getting the story into print by deadline is only good journalism if the story is accurate. As one HN commenter suggested, the writer could have mentioned that he hadn't had time to confirm the veto with the governor's office before going to press.

Furthermore, as Shamrock pointed out, the article about the wind turbine presentation to the City Council was written in such a way as to make it seem as though the turbine information was actually offered at the council meeting when it surely was not.

HN is not a well-respected newspaper and these two examples of misinformation only serve to further damage their reputation and credibility.

adv said...

Sorry frc, I'm not going to agree with you in this one, seeing as this (citing your sources) was covered in my journalism 101 class many years ago (and yes, this is a class I really took at college, before you ask).

And seeing as The Herald is the only daily in the City of Fall River, who exactly was gonna beat them to the punch?

If the Herald had only received verbal confirmation from Menard's or Correia's office, then the article should have been sourced as such.

The real travesty being pointed out is that this paper routinely neglects to do routine check-work, and they don't want advertise that fact, so they simply decline to disclose where they got their info.

This is not Valerie Plame or Deepthroat stuff we're talking about here. All we're asking for is something along the lines of

"...said a spokesperson/representative/ muppet/etc. for Mayor Correia," followed by "this information has not yet been confirmed by the Governor's office."

We're not asking them to hold back on loosely sourced information, just to disclose where it came from like 99% of other newspapers would do, so that the rest of us can decide for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

If Boastful Bob hadn't been so proud as to trumpet his "victory" on WSAR maybe he wouldn't be eating crow right now. Pride can be a good quality but it's also one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Hey, Bob, check out the Book of Proverbs..."Pride goeth before a fall"!

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Herald News video of the mayor in the article "Mayor Muffs: Gov. didn't sign firechief petition"? You know what he calls 7,561 Fall River citizens? The "OPPOSITION"!!!!! That's funny, 'cuz I thought I was one of the people of Fall River that he is sworn to serve. Silly me. http://www.heraldnews.com/breaking/x544088521/Mayor-blunders-on-Home-Rule-vote-Guv-has-NOT-signed

FRC said...

Needless to say that I agree with the above comments. Whether its Journalism 101 or previous examples of erroneous information,such as the Housing Authority pilot reported as not being paid.... the problem is that if you add the sentence that it could not be confirmed by the Governor's office, then it ruins the point of the headline....

As a previous commenter said, "After all, a reporter should be able to trust the words of Joan Menard and Bob Correia, shouldn't they?" Could the Herald News have been more diligent? No doubt about it.

But they took a calculated risk, and ended up getting caught. By the way, I'd use the same analysis for Mayor Correia on this. He relied on information from Senator Menard's office, and shared the information with the media.

Could Mayor Correia have called the Governor's office to verify? Sure, but not trusting Senator Menard, a close friend, would also demonstrate a high level of paranoia, in my opinion.

People screwed up - lesson learned - verify sources!

adv said...

It happened, a badge of distinction.

I was banned from posting on the Herald News website after criticizing the paper.

The horrible bastards finally got to me. The joke's on them. I haven't bought one of their papers in years, because it's so bad. Lisa Strattan could possibly be the worst editor of a daily newspaper in this whole nation, nay, the whole free world.

Gatehouse down - that's not good news. The next thing we know, they'll be bankrupt, and the Karams will purchase the paper. Then we'll really be screwed...

shamrock said...

If it is any consolation, I am on my 3rd screen name with them because I keep getting the boot.

My favorite HN comment incident happened when a friend of mine posted critical comments about one of their articles on the site. The HN staff took his comments down, used his screen name, and put up flattering comments in place.

If only they spent as much time editing themselves.

Anonymous said...

The horrible bastards finally got to me. The joke's on them. I haven't bought one of their papers in years, because it's so bad. Lisa Strattan could possibly be the worst editor of a daily newspaper in this whole nation, nay, the whole free world.


There ya go

General said...

I saw this posted on the H.N. site:

Interesting little tid bit in the latest O'Jornal. You should pick it up. Here is a sample:

'Wow you better bow!'

'Okay, so it is not that bad, but more than a few department heads and others doing business with the city have remarked about a new policy or practice taking place at Government Center. It seems, that when the mayor walks into a room, those in attendance are expected to rise. Yes, rise from their seats in respect for the mayor!'

'No one can doubt that the mayor has a tremendous respect for the office and wants to restore 'pride citywide' but the action lends to his growing image as king of the seven hills.'

There is more but you get the picture. All I can say when you are king of the hill, the fall really, really, hurts.

johnybfallriver said...

Cool another place to vent about the arm pit of MA, good old fall river, the healrd news plays there cards, they are not about bringing truth to the poeple, you will not find Clark Kent working there, so that it for what it is.

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