Shortly after I started the O’Zone last year, I wrote a piece addressing my opinions on how economic factors shaped the way in which local news was reported.
Among my observations in that article were the following:
… I am going to argue that what has happened to our local press is a function of the process of “co-optation” that has resulted from the economic necessities imposed on traditional newspapers….
… local traditional media has had no option but to reduce employment, cut staff and demand more from those who are still employed….
In both cases the demand for output from the reporters has, as a result of staff cutbacks, been increased.
Like any other human beings seeking to make a living they have sought to provide what was demanded by their employers – articles….
In order to do so they have gone to the easiest source of information. In this particular case it has been the Town Manager – whether it was Clayton Carlilse, John Healy or Christopher Clark.
The Town Manager was happy to provide access to the press. It helped him to further his agenda.
In the time since I wrote that article I believe that facts have borne out my opinions
Allow me to interject that I make no pretense to being an objective journalist. I report the news that I am able to ferret out, but I make no secret of my biases and opinions. I believe that is entirely different than a media outlet that purports to restrict its biases to an opinion page.
Having said that, the view I previously expressed about the local press is especially bolstered by developments in the reporting by the Southbridge Evening News that are leading up to local elections this year.
As the late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Massachusetts native Tip O’Neill famously observed, “All politics are local”. And nothing is more local than the choice of reporting about personalities as they relate to local politics.
With that in mind I will reproduce these condensed views of several front pages published by the Southbridge Evening News over the month of February and allow you to draw your own conclusions about how they choose to feature certain personalities on the front page while relegating the less favored to a not-quite-so-prominent place.
In case you can't make out the little box on the left, I'll enlarge it for you.
In closing I have to wonder about that tagline "Serving Our Readers Since 1923".
Is that really who they are serving?