Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ray Clark is a bad reporter

June 23, 2006 Ray Clark wrote
Council says no to Proudian reappointment, says it nears Town Manager decision

There is a lot to discuss in Ray Clark’s reporting in the June 23 issue.

1. First, Ray Clark was not at the meeting on which he is reporting. Remote control journalism is lazy and is fraught with potential errors. Mr. Clark might miss comments uttered by council or citizens who do not speak directly into the mic. He loses the opportunity to ask for clarification of councilors after the meeting. Also, how do we know he was even watching it? The report is already second-hand, purportedly watching it from another location on tv. Mr. Clark could be passing it off as a report but have gotten the information from someone else without even having watched it al all. We just don’t know.

2. “Things got so heated at one point that Foster gaveled the meeting into recess.”

A report should inform. It should be concise, with who-what-where-when-why. This sentence is too general. And why is it general? Because it was Mr. Clark’s friend John Welch who caused the meeting to be recessed. A report that deliberately omits specifics in order to protect his friends is bias of omission.

3. “The Council again refused to clear up the matter of former Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz's departure.”

That’s because it is settled. And at practically every meeting since April, the council has explained why it is settled. Mr. Berkowitz resigned in March. He received his exit money. He got another job. He has been working at this other job for months. But Mr. Clark refuses to believe that it is settled. When a reporter perpetuates an issue that is not newsworthy, is concluded, and has been publicly explained as settled, it’s a bias of personal agenda.

4. “Later, former Councilor John Welch responded to a proposal to establish a new Council rule that an absolute minimum of three bids would be required for any expenditure of more than $10,000 by asking what would happen if only two bids were received, and the answer he got was the same as his wife's: no answer.”

Oh, so wrong. First, there was not a proposal. The chair explained that the night’s business was to reaffirm existing policies. One of those existing policies is the bid policy. It is not "new" and if Mr. Clark had been paying attention, or going to meetings, or reading town source documents, he would know that the council has been following this rule for years.

Second, the council did answer. Maybe Mr. Clark was in the bathroom both times the council answered. Or maybe Mr. Clark was not really watching the meeting on tv at all. Or maybe Mr. Clark did not like the answers that were given. Or maybe Mr. Clark is just lying.

Whatever the reason, the council answered that in the case of the post office bids, they were not sent to commercial brokers as instructed. So the bid was reissued. In the second answer, the council explained that in the case of a truck bid, the bid ended up being too company-specific. In these cases, the bids are reissued.

There is probably plenty more to talk about but just this snippet of one report in one newspaper is enough to demonstrate The Gray News’s failure in reporting, lack of ethics, and bias.

6 Comments:

  • So, biasbuster, you were attended this meeting too :-) LOL

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:55 PM  

  • I tape it.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 2:58 PM  

  • The Monument Newspaper is the most positive addition to the town of Gray, Maine since the Gray News, now discredited, was founded by the late Patricia Mundy et al with altruistic intentions. The introduction of Gray News editor Ray Clark a decade ago created a void for people seeking the truth. The failure of the Gray News is a classic 101 business school case of disrespect of the customer. How stupid!

    Let us pray that The Monument Newspaper doesn't repeat this failure.

    By Anonymous Louie B., at 9:14 PM  

  • Ray Clark and his board of directors are hiding in their bunkers as the allies approach to liberate Gray citizens from the long standing stink of unsavory politics. It's time to go for the Gray News.

    By Anonymous Henry Pointer, at 9:23 PM  

  • Thanks Louie B. When I started the paper I talked a lot with Pat. She was one of the people behind the paper. After I moved in to her apartment at the end of her life we also talked about how the paper was going- she was more and more happy with The Monument, considering it a successful experiment, and more and more heartbroken about the Gray News's decline.

    She was unhappy with what the Gray News had become and worried greatly for the people of Gray, for she knew full well what happens to a community that has no newspaper, and she didn’t consider the Gray News a newspaper anymore.

    I started The Monument with several missions: putting out the hard news (not hiding it); offering the people good journalism which included neutral presentation of that hard news; to demonstrate that people could speak up - through letters, press releases, or at the council meeting- without being made fun of; and to purposely seek out the community achievements and show we have many fine people doing many fine things.

    As long as I remember those missions, and as long as I remember the golden rule: I serve the people, then The Monument will be OK.

    By Blogger Elizabeth Prata, at 5:50 AM  

  • Ray Clark IS a bad reporter; and for the life of me, I can't understand how he 'baffles' the public as he does???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 AM  

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