Sunday, March 22, 2009

McClatchy editor slams TV station for not reporting on its own financial problems

John Drescher, executive editor of the News & Observer, published a column Saturday slamming an executive from a local TV station for not reporting on the station's financial problems.

Drescher claims his own newspaper gets high marks for transparency, and says WRAL, the N&O's main competitor in the news business, is trying to keep its own woes a secret -- even though the station has reported on the N&O's problems.

Drescher may have a point about WRAL's hypocrisy, but the public doesn't care. TV stations don't have as high a profile as newspapers, so the public expects more transparency from newspapers than TV stations. So Drescher, quit worrying about what other media aren't doing; just do your job.

By the way, WRAL has an excellent web site -- click here to see it.

Extra Credit Quiz
: Guess which news outlet -- the N&O or WRAL -- covered the John Edwards love child scandal first. (I actually don't know the answer, but if any readers find the answer, email me or leave it in comments.)

Hat tip: John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

Pot calls kettle black for feigned relevancy and transparency purposes

Anonymous said...

I must say I have to agree. This is just another stupid column in a long line of ill-thought-out pieces Drescher has written since becoming ex-ed at the N&O. Sure it's hypocritical for Goodmon to not offer any comment but as far as touting the upfront reporting the N&O has done on it's own problems and McClatchy is in itself nothing short of fantasy. The cutthroat tactics, cronyism and pure lack of any kind of real plan in the current N&O cutbacks make Drescher's column even more laughable. And I seem to remember most of Quayles (publisher) and Drescher's comments to other media about our problems were more often than not "No comment". That was until newsroom employees started rebelling and pointed out we would crucify any other company for not being forthwith. What a load of h#@sesh*t.

Anonymous said...

11:32 Agreed. If the focus is moved to another business, maybe no one will report on the wrongs at McClatchy at the top management levels.

Anonymous said...

Someone from the paper should call the station and apologize for their boss and point out that we have to get our information on the paper from McClatchy Watch.

Anonymous said...

I back Drescher all the way. Screw 'em.

Anonymous said...

If the N&O is so concerned, why doesen't it assign a reporter to this "big" story? I'm sure rival TV stations would love to followup on this "breaking news."

Anonymous said...

Man, is there some sort of half-price sale on quotation marks?

Anonymous said...

Got your head up your ass on this one...probably a good idea to stick to California when you don't know the players. Drescher is squared away, and in this case, as usual, he was calling bullshit when he saw a steaming pile of it.
WRAL has thrived on the N&O's work for decades, stealing it wholesale, and yet they still have the balls to call themselves journalists?
You mention their web site. Where do you think that web site gets much of its news?

Anonymous said...

N&O wrote about the Edwards story first. He ran away from their reporter. That's when people knew he was guilty. See

Anonymous said...

JIC writes, "John Drescher, executive news editor at the McClatchy Co's. liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer lashed out at one of the N&O’s competitors."
"liberal/leftist" - John is too kind. The N & O is garbage. Being biased is the least of its problems.

Kevin Gregory said...

Drescher doesn't exactly have a sterling history of reporting news that should be covered. John Edwards telephoned John Dresher in October 2007 -- after the love child story broke in the Enquirer -- and begged Drescher not not run the story. Dresher followed Edwards's plea. Truth to Power, anybody? (Read Drescher's embarassing admission here.) It wasn't until months later (July, 2008) , after getting pummeled by blogs and alternative media, that the N&O finally ran the story.

Anonymous said...

Like most quality newspapers, The N&O has a high bar for reporting on sex and adultery stories. That's one thing that sets newspapers apart from the Internet and tabloids.

It is irresponsible to publish stories about people's private lives without thoroughly investigating them first, and weighing the importance of the private sin versus the public life.

So, yes, often other, less-trustworthy and ethical news outlets get there first. (You are welcome to get your political news from TMZ and the National Enquirer if you like.)

It's not a matter for polite discussion until it turns up in the newspaper. And after it's in the newspaper, things happen.

Anonymous said...

Further, if you actually read Drescher's column, it says that the paper decided against publishing the story *before* Edwards even called.

No one "followed Edwards' plea."

All in all, I think Drescher and the paper come out smelling like a rose.

Anonymous said...

Editors often are a thin-skinned breed.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:24 PM,

The Edwards scandal was a story that played out for more than a year smack in the middle of the N&O's circulation area.

It should have owned the story.

Instead, the Charlotte Observer picked up on the NE story and wound up eating the N&O's lunch.

As for a N&O reporter chasing down Edwards when he spoke in DC, that's not the case.

The N&O didn't even have a reporter in DC to cover the event.

The reporter who chased Edwards was the CO's Lisa Zagaroli.

The last part of the N&O story you cite follows. You'll see even the N&O ID's the reporter as from the CO.

On Wednesday, Edwards apparently ducked out a side area used by the kitchen staff in the fourth-floor ballroom of Washington's historic Hotel Monaco.

Edwards emerged from a lower-level handicap ramp near the rear of the hotel with two men.

When approached by a Charlotte Observer reporter, Edwards said, "Can't do it now, I'm sorry" and quickly walked past.

Asked what he was doing at the Beverly Hilton last week, Edwards said "sorry" and got into a waiting car with the other men.

No photographs or video of the alleged California hotel incident have been released by the Enquirer, which described in its online story its reporters' attempts to chase down Edwards. The tabloid reported he hid in a restroom to elude them.

The story has prompted some buzzing in the blogosphere but little public response from Edwards.

At a July 23 speech in Houston, Edwards responded to a reporter's question about the Enquirer story by referring to it as "tabloid trash."

John in Carolina

Anonymous said...

Um, it's all the same now, John. The Observer and The N&O share all their political reporting and much else besides.

Stick to Churchill.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:03,

It wasn't all the same.

The Charlotte Observer was a leader among MSM print on the Edwards story as the American Journalism Review noted in an article that praised the CO and explained how it did what it did.

The N&O came late and lame to the story.

After Poynter's Jim Romanesko linked to columns noting the CO's leading while the N&O was first silent and then stumbling, Drescher knocked out two column trying to justify the N&O's failures.

In one of them he called the N&O's coverage of the Edwards story "aggressive."

That column ran just days after the N&O's public editor had praised his papers "restrained" coverage of the Edwards story.

Drescher's columns were rowbacks that gave many people a laugh.

Now a few questions for Anon 9:03 and other N&O faithfuls:

Why hasn't the N&O produced "the police report" it says it used when deciding what parts of Crystal Mangum's interview to publish in its 3/25/06 Duke lacrosse story it said was about a night ending in "sexual violence?"

In NC police reports are public records.

So why can't the N&O publish a copy of it or at least cite for readers where they can locate "the police report?"

Or was there never actually such "a police report?"

John in Carolina

John in Carolina

Anonymous said...


Any chance you could post a sound file so that we can hear the dramatic basso soundtrack flourish for lines such as "Or was there never actually such 'a police report?' "

That would help keep the readers awake.

Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between the N&O sending Jonathon Cox to ambush Goodman in the parking lot and WRAL asking to interview Drescher and getting his and the N&O's permission. In this matter, WRAL behaved like a journalistic organization and the N&O acted like a tabloid. Drescher lost this a lot of credibility.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:37's pathetic comment means he can't disprove the facts John in Carolina cites.

Anonymous said...

Left fielder says, “Drescher is squared away”

Unless he got squared away today, I can’t even guess what you call square. Drescher is a fool. A no-class, unadulterated fool. You must think people here don’t know the truth about the N & O top to bottom. Geez, you can probably still smell the Drescher bullshit in CA.

Anonymous said...

Wow if only Drescher had this kind of passion about stuff that mattered...

Anonymous said...

Let's see. All you idiots care about is who got details on John Edwards' love child before someone else and the wronged (temporarily) lacrosse players.

So you think the N&O should have assigned a reporter -- or maybe a team of reporters-- to chase this stupid edwards story for a year?

You're right, you won't miss the N&O, you've still got the National Enquirer.

You might also ask the lacrosse players' defense attorneys which media got it right.

And whoever wrote this ignorant crap:
"""Left fielder says, “Drescher is squared away”

Unless he got squared away today, I can’t even guess what you call square. Drescher is a fool. A no-class, unadulterated fool. You must think people here don’t know the truth about the N & O top to bottom. ........"

Who are you, really? Meaning, I got to ask you, how successful are you in real life, like, away from the fantasy of all-knowing guru you see yourself as when you bravely sit behind the keyboard. Oh, you're a temp worker, but it's because all those people in management all those times were out to get you?
Yeah, that's what I thought. You don't know anything about the N&O, and you're really not smart enough to be posting your "thoughts" for other people to read. Just be happy to sit there and listen to Savage and Hannity, don't bother to try and parrot it, you're not very good at it.

Anonymous said...

I believe 6:48 could be Linda Williams herself. "as when you bravely sit behind the keyboard" sounds an awful lot like what she wrote Gearino a few months ago.

Kevin Gregory said...

8:26 Good point... I just re-read Gearino's post and this does sound like Linda Williams.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Kevin, how was church Sunday? Reading your Bible a lot? How goes your walk with God?

Anonymous said...

ANOM826..I beleive you are right...better watch for the flying water bottle....she's winding up....