Monday, February 23, 2009

Sacramento Bee editor says she "feels an obligation" to report on McClatchy's woes -- but doesn't follow through


Cosmo Garvin at the News & Review pointed me to Bee editor Melanie Sills' Sunday column, noting Sills admits she feels an obligation to report on McClatchy's financial problems.
Newspaper editors, including me, have felt obliged to report news of our companies' financial ups and downs, especially lately. We've done a poor job, I think, of recognizing and drawing readers into the bigger questions for all of us: What do communities need now from newspapers, and how do we ensure those needs are met in the future?
The Bee didn't cover the Bee Newspaper Guild's call for Gary Pruitt to take a pay cut. There has been minimal coverage in the Bee about impending layoffs/furloughs across the McClatchy chain. McClatchy's delisting status with the New York Stock Exchange? Barely a mention.

The Bee isn't covering the developments, but this blog and others across the Internet are putting the information out there.

Sill's proposal? She wants to "invite Bee readers into a conversation" about how the media delivers news during a recession. The forum board involves a clumsy registration process. As of late Sunday night just 32 people have posted comments.

(Would you want to "participate in a conversation" with Melanie Sill? Me neither.)

The Bee would be miles ahead in the credibility department if they simply put the information out there and trusted readers with it. Give readers news and info -- don't invite them "to participate in a conversation."
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37 comments:

Anonymous said...

So,the Silly Bee wants a contrived conversation? That Miss Melly, would be right up there with waterboarding in the torture department.

Anonymous said...

What good is a conversation with someone that doesn't have the guts to report the truth?

Anonymous said...

The blogosphere has forced the old media to report the news as it is, not as they want it to be.

A little late to the gate Mel, you just made it in ahead of The famous car driver
‘Wheelie’ Lokeman, and she had a distinct handicap.

Anonymous said...

The Honest Bee finally writes a reports on Gary Pru-

The sun glints off the head of our fair haired boy, the sails billow, his sure hand is on the tiller. The good ship MNI is sailing into the wind, full speed ahead.

Swabby says, “Look Captain! Look Captain!”
Pru says, “Don’t bother me now, there is a little iceberg I must sail around.”
Swabby says, “Captain, you said it was a little iceberg.”
Pru says, “Get out of the way, it’s every man for himself”

Pru says, “Howard, get your ass out of my lifeboat!”
Howard says, “Get out your F**king self, I bailed first”

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Sacbee even admits they report the news,
'Their way'!

Ain't that a kick in the head?

Anonymous said...

Interesting. This must be SOP around the chain. During a news meeting almost two weeks ago when the bad news (more job cuts, salary cuts and furloughs ahead) was given to the staff N&O exed John Drescher was asked when we were going to report to our readers just how bad things are and why the paper is getting so thin. He said he thought "we were letting people know" and he was also going to write a Saturday column about it. Well, for one thing we haven't really admitted to the public we might go belly up. We have skirted the issue. There has been no in-depth story like there would be if a local television station or other high profile business was in this much trouble. And there is yet to be a column from Drescher...in fact his last column about the paper was on Jan.24 entitled "Things looking up for the N&O". I would hate to see what it takes for things to be looking grim if he things things are looking up. But what do you expect he and Melly were peas in a pod.

Anonymous said...

The above authors all make great and properly humorous points.

As you look at her phony smile and her official MNI phony rhetoric, I ask, "Why would anyone buy a single newspaper from this phony?"

Calling Les!

McClatchy Watch said...

Here is John Drescher's absurd column: Positive signals for N&O. This is another illustration why you can't trust McClatchy to report on itself.

Newsance said...

Sill still believes that conservative readers are pedantic idiots who are only upset with the editorial page! In fact, the news pages are so anti-Republican that we have given up on any chance of fair or objective treatment of anything to the right of liberal perspective.

I don't write to Sill or the editors anymore. They will never learn!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:45 Amen Brudder!!

Anonymous said...

The Melly Sill conversation torture treatment-

Duration hour 1:
Stop, stop, I’ll talk, I’ll talk. What do you want to hear?

Duration hour 2:
You’re a looker, you’re honest, you’re Lois Lane, you’ve got big boobs…

Duration hour 3:
Just shoot me!

Anonymous said...

What difference does it make whether the papers report their problems? Newspapers are dead, remember? No one reads them anymore, remember? Everyone gets their news from blogs now, remember?

I know a lot of blogs about newspapers. I don't know any newspapers about blogs.

Anonymous said...

A picture of Mel Sill on this blog? Eeewww! There are limits to my loyalty you know. That dweeb from the N & O was bad enough. Do you think they clone these people in a Petri dish?

Anonymous said...

If only we were all as pleasing to the eye as Kevin Gregory.

Anonymous said...

“I know a lot of blogs about newspapers. I don't know any newspapers about blogs.”

In the new media, bloggers and freelance writers are becoming the same person. How old are you? Start yelling for a lifeline - SOS

Anonymous said...

I witnessed the union protest against the SacBee for publishing the state workers salary database. There were a lot of state workers in the area that day. Maybe because the capitol is close at hand? What a goofball Sill is. She nearly killed the N & O in NC, and she goes on to wound the SacBee. What do you have to do to fire these failed newspaper people?

Anonymous said...

"As of late Sunday night just 32 people have posted comments."

That would be the remaining staff following orders.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 8:27 AM

Don’t come here and insult our host. Go find a blog that cares about you, REALLY cares about you. You have been welcomed here to share your news, and help each other through this stressful time. For liberals that just isn’t enough, is it? Go find the McClatchy blog giving you the skinny on your means of livelihood.
See ya in a nanosecond!

Anonymous said...

I told Ms. Sill in real letters, several times, why I was disappointed in the Bee. She replied to one letter, telling me where to find the Business section (!), and inviting me to engage in a "constructive dialogue." I declined, having already canceled my Bee because I was tired of reading AP and NYT in the Bee. For the first time in my life, I'm without a regional daily newspaper. I miss that, but I don't miss the Bee.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:36

Insult? His picture on the site clearly shows Kevin to be an extremely debonair man.

Anonymous said...

I wrote to Howard Weaver once after I witnessed the hostility downtown about the database. He didn’t reply, probably because I asked whose dumbass idea it was? The person I was with, was not a state employee, but her father was. I know she joined the boycott of the Bee. I wonder if Ms. Schlemeil Sill ever thought about the extended family of the people she offended?

Anonymous said...

Re: "John Drescher's absurd column“

I was going to file that under 'John Drescher's absurd column' but the file is full.

Anonymous said...

The really bad part about the Sacbee/state worker salary database is that it named names. It might have been semi-useful if you could look up jobs by title, for comparison purposes. Instead, you could type in the name of a friend and find out their salary. What constructive purpose does that serve?

Anonymous said...

What's dreadfully funny about newspapers "outing" other businesses salaries (government is a business) is that if you're an employeeand share your salary with anyone at the paper...it is a firing offense. I think it has always bothered me that the old phrase "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" is completely disregarded by newspaper management, part of the reason we're headed to the botom of the pool.

Anonymous said...

State worker salaries are a matter of public record - they work for the public. The state worker data base idea has been done at other papers across the country - even before the Bee's listings. Get over yourselves state workers. The Bee's troubles have NOTHING to do with state workers dropping subs. It's like the Tooth Fairy fable.

Anonymous said...

The Bee's troubles have NOTHING to do with state workers dropping subs. It's like the Tooth Fairy fable.
---
You folks keep telling everyone that none of your problems come from alienating subscribers, but in your ignorance you never take even a second to do the math and add up all the non contributing subscriber losses and how it affects your advertisers.
You dumb asses think you don't need eyeballs beyond what your phony ABC surveys claim, but advertisers know they are rigged.

You folks are so short sighted it is laughable. Keep up the good work. If your creditors don't bury you first, your smug little attitudes certainly will.

Anonymous said...

Sure, state workers' salaries are a matter of public record. But how many people were going to take the time to dig into it out of idle curiousity? The database on sacbee.com made it easy. And I repeat...for what, other than to drive page hits?

Anonymous said...

The State Salary database was not necessary community information.
It caused a friction in the community, and I personally know a couple dozen people that cancelled their subs. When a paper is going down hill, why alienate any segment of your readers? Oh wait, they also alienated all their conservative readers. Not a good business model as time will soon tell. Didn’t Miss Melly tell you about the couple of hundred people who wrote how detestable she was? Maybe she deleted the comments, did she?

Anonymous said...

The Sacbee is a sorry paper. That it is getting so thin you can see through it is fine with me. I’ve seen through it for a long time. It is just much easier now.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! remove the smiling photo of the newspaper anti-christ from this thread. I get cold chills everytime I see her vampire eyes.....look at the expression closely..she's deciding which part of your body she's going to eat...and I'm going to tell you she wants to eat your heart. She is a lifeless, cold, bitch. She revels in destroying anyone she thinks is more "talented" than her...and guess what? THAT'S every friggin journalist on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Well, y'know, except for that Pulitzer she won.

Hacks don't like her. Lots of hacks here, I think.

Anonymous said...

Sill won a Pulitzer! Well, hasn’t everyone? Howard Weaver handed them out, too funny!. What does that tell you about their worth? These trumped up awards passes around among so-called journalists, for writing phony news is about as impressive as Jimmy Carter winning the Nobel Peace Prize! Little secret , most people know how worthless a Pulitzer is.

Someone tell the nutcase that wrote, “Well, y'know, except for that Pulitzer she won.”

Anonymous said...

Sill left NC with a very tarnished reputation. She should have been fired, but then the whole news staff should have been fired for their biased, and erroneous reporting. I think management incompetence should be considered a factor of this failure at all levels, not just the Pru!

Anonymous said...

@ 6:39

This, from pulitzer.org, is what public service looks like:


Imagine a city as big as New York suddenly grafted onto North Carolina's Coastal Plain. Double it.

Now imagine that this city has no sewage treatment plants. All the wastes from 15 million inhabitants are simply flushed into open pits and sprayed onto fields.

Turn those humans into hogs, and you don't have to imagine at all. It's already here.

A vast city of swine has risen practically overnight in the counties east of Interstate 95. It's a megalopolis of 7 million animals that live in metal confinement barns and produce two to four times as much waste, per hog, as the average human.

All that manure -- about 9.5 million tons a year -- is stored in thousands of earthen pits called lagoons, where it is decomposed and sprayed or spread on crop lands. The lagoon system is the source of most hog farm odor, but industry officials say it's a proven and effective way to keep harmful chemicals and bacteria out of water supplies.

New evidence says otherwise:

-- The News & Observer has obtained new scientific studies showing that contaminants from hog lagoons are getting into groundwater. One N.C. State University report estimates that as many as half of existing lagoons -- perhaps hundreds -- are leaking badly enough to contaminate groundwater.

-- The industry also is running out of places to spread or spray the waste from lagoons. On paper, the state's biggest swine counties already are producing more phosphorous-rich manure than available land can absorb, state Agriculture Department records show.

-- Scientists are discovering that hog farms emit large amounts of ammonia gas, which returns to earth in rain. The ammonia is believed to be contributing to an explosion of algae growth that's choking many of the state's rivers and estuaries.

Anonymous said...

...and Mel's dirty little secret about that big prize? There was some seriously pissed off people (the one's who actually produced the work) when melanie ADDED her name to the project for the Pulitzer entry. Yeah, she didn't really do anything except edit a tiny portion of it. She had little or nothing to do with the Boss Hog series. But that was typical Melanie taking credit for the good stuff but not admitting her horrendous mistakes...in fact the paper is still dealing with some of her disastrous hires...I am so glad I got out of there when I did. After reading this blog I see that the Peter Principal is still at work. After fucking up the N&O she gets a chance to fuck up another paper. No wonder McClatchy is circling the bowl.

Anonymous said...

Pulitzers seem so incredibly useless in this age of newspapers. Who freaking cares about Pulitzers and all these other bullsh(a)t contests that mean virtually nothing in the grand scheme of life? It's an ego trip that is fading fast as journalists face reality.

Anonymous said...

I find it fascinating that everyone thinks the Guild's letter to Gary Pruitt should be news, it was a letter from an organization with almost zero power especially in Sacramento. In the past 20 years what have they legitimately accomplished, I know for the time in which I was a covered member I lost one raise thanks to them for healthcare concessions that were backed off of the next year.

I have heard the number of dues paying current members at Sacramento may be less than 50 total, now with all these recent issues maybe that has changed but if it has I would be shocked.

In addition I believe that much of the perception problem advertisers have with newspapers as a medium come from the fact that the industry for the past 2 years has done possibly too good a job of letting people know that it is suffering. At a time when newspaper reach is still better than any other mass medium in each market advertisers have zero faith in the papers ability to deliver their message.

So I think a little lack of reporting here and there might not hurt as bad as you think.