Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dear Michael

Michael Coleman of the Albuquerque Journal, usually pretty factual, was miffed this morning because Senator Martin Heinrich did not return his calls.  He wanted to talk to him about the CIA's kerfuffle with the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Heinrich had shown some real courage on taking on the spy agency.  See my last post.

So, Michael, I am sorry you were  stiffed on the story.  But you must understand that any politician who isn't a fossil fuel loving, fundamentalist christian crazy, and rightwing war monger just can't trust the Albuquerque Journal Editor who will twist the facts that the otherwise decent reporters gather.  Yes, it is getting that bad and everyone knows it.  Any communication with that publication turns into a right wing rant on the editorial page.

I feel sorry for these few remaining journalists who rattle around the largely empty newsroom.  They take the brunt of the outrage.

Having said that, the Journal has been doing some interesting and informative journalism lately.  But they didn't involve politics.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Journal is being sued now for not being fair and accurate in their reporting.

Anonymous said...

Jim:
The Albuquerque Journal is not the only media outlet that plays games with news stories. Following is a very revealing posting on the "Eye on Albuquerque" after it ran a posting on Chris Ramirez who is with Channel 4:

"Darren White was a Channel 13 "reporter" after he left the Sheriffs Office and White developed a very close personnel friendship with Channel 13 News Director and Assignment Editor Paul Burt. White was also known to leak stories to the media when he was Sherriff and developed reporter contacts and friendships with the news agencies. Paul Burt has said to more than one person he would "walk on fire" or "take a bullet for Darren White". Rob Perry was introduced to Paul Burt and they also got to be close friends. During Berry's first term, it was Darren White who would call the news media to get stories suppressed until White's wife's DWI forced White to resign. The DWI was the one story they could not suppress, even with Rob Perry's intimidation at a press conference. Rob Perry is known to call news reporters for damage control on bad stories and threatens them that unless they report stories that show Berry in a favorable light, they will be denied access to Berry and City Hall. Chris Ramirez was Berry's Communications Director for awhile until he had a falling out with TJ Wilham and then TJ leaked information to the press on Ramirez's cell phone contact in a police officer involved shooting. Ramirez was forced out by Berry when the Legacy Church Minister demanded Ramirez be removed which is another untold story. While at city hall, Ramirez developed a warped sense of loyalty to Berry and Perry and he developed news sources that he uses to this day. Ramirez will never report anything in an objective manner when it comes to City Hall, knowing full well Perry will deny him access to his news sources at City Hall. Berry is also known to be on the phone with Journal Editor Kent Waltz on a regular basis getting his input on issues so he can get the Journal's approval."

Berry is tied to the hip with the Journal as is Martinez because they carry out the extreme right wing agenda.

Anonymous said...

Jim:
You said "I feel sorry for these few remaining journalists who rattle around the largely empty newsroom." Really? What makes you think that there are any rally objective reporters left at the Journal? The reporters at the Journal have gotten just as bad as the Editors, otherwise they would have left long ago. Notice how most of the Journal stories are now AP Press Wire stories, which was the case with the Tribune before it folded. Lets hope the Journal folds soon. The Journal's readership has gone from about 130,000 to about 80,000 and still slipping. The only people who read the Journal now for news are your age group (60 plus)and right wing Republicans.

Anonymous said...

And reading 60+ aged people is a bad thing? How asinine.

Jim Baca said...

I know for a fact that there are still some good reporters at the Journal fighting the good fight. They just persevere under a draconian power structure.

Anonymous said...

Jim:

Just ask Dan McKay, and for that matter Mike Gallagher, how many times they have been ordered by the Journal City Editors to write news stories driven by leaks from the Republican Party and its operatives against Democrats. Dan McKay in particular is known to write news stories and the City Editors keep sending them back to him repeatedly until they are satisfied that enough damage will be done by the story against known Democrats. No doubt McKay and Gallagher will stand by their stories saying they need to protect their sources and they will never admit the extent of pressure they are under by the Journal Editors. The only time the Journal seems to be objective is with the obituaries, but those are written by grieving families. The sooner the Journal folds, the better.

Anonymous said...

This is sad. But even worse, very true.

Anonymous said...

Former long time Albuquerque Journal reporter Jeff Proctor left the Journal a few months ago and is now working for Channel 13 and Larry Barker. Proctor got tired of the Journal Editors pressure and games, left the Journal, but only after his own reputation as a journalist was destroyed.

Anonymous said...

I, too, believe that the Journal has good reporters. I also believe that they are kept on such a tight leash that they are not effective on issues that matter. Where have all the bulldogs gone? Jim Belshaw was very good but they have yet to replace him with another solid columnist. Tom Cole is okay but he can be a bit snippy.

Bottom line is that, unless we the readers demand more, we aren't going to get it. Supply and demand has held the Journal in place for years: they are the only game in town on that large a scale. Until we get another newspaper in here to compete, the Journal will hold its place in line.

I have heard rumors of reporters who have written solid stories only to have them pulled for various political reasons. I have also heard rumors or reporters whose work has been edited so much that it is no longer their product but the product of others who have rearranged their stories to the point where they are no longer recognizable even to the author.

KOAT and the Journal have some kind of agreement where they share resources and information. So that means that what you see on KOAT has been vetted by the Journal editors. Not very comforting.

Now I read that Chris Ramirez of KOB is very cozy with the City administration and, again, I am not comforted in knowing that.

Finally, I read here that the infamous Mr. White is very close with Mr. Burt over at KRQE.

So, we must be in a very bad spot in Albuquerque until we demand better. No wonder the main problem among us Albuquerqueans is apathy -- how can we win?

If I were the subject of a story by the Journal, I would not speak with a reporter either. I would be concerned that my words would be twisted to the point where I would not remember having said them. What are you going to then? Sue? Sure, you can always sue but the Journal will waste no time and spend all its resources to fight such a lawsuit and it always comes across as sour grapes for a high level political like Mr. Heinrich to sue anyway.

Anonymous said...

I ended my Journal subscription a few years ago. I get the truthful news elsewhere, and I don't care a lick about the Journal or its editors.

Bubba Muntzer said...

I've said this before but will repeat it because it pertains directly. I have seen it happen where people get together and start another newspaper and run the existing paper out of business. I was living in Berkeley County, SC, in the 1980s and a group of guys with a little money got together, hired a guy to be editor, and started up a paper, the Berkeley Independent, and within a year the existing paper folded. The paper is based in the county seat, Moncks Corner, which is probably around 15,000 people, but it serves almost the entire county, which is largely rural.

I see about 40 businesses who have listed themselves in the Democratic Party's new business directory. There's a good start on a base of advertisers.

The large and growing Spanish speaking community is completely ignored by the Journal. There's a boost you could have, readers and advertisers.

You could soon leave the Journal flat footed in the area of new technologies, social media, etc., which they have barely begun to look into.

And there's a large number of progressives in the area who could be energized by something that spoke to and listened to them.

I may not be qualified to speak on this aspect, but it seems to me the Journal doesn't really do justice to the traditional Hispanic population here.

But mostly, it seems to me, if you could somehow make it be a community effort, where your potential readership had a stake in it somehow, then they would help make sure it succeeded.

Going by the circulation figures given above, which are for not just Albuquerque but for everywhere the Journal circulates, the majority of the adult population in Albuquerque surely doesn't read the Journal, so you have a potential readership of those and whatever number you could peel away from the Journal.