Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Local Lamestream Media

Ken O’Brien
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?


  1. The Southbridge News is nothing more than a whore to Clark and his fan base on the TC.

  2. Zotos here, i dont read it, i dont know many people that do
    But i believe they should take away its shield because
    They do not report the news and do not deserve to be protected by our constitution
    When was the last time they won an investigative award???

  3. Ms. Ellison announces she’s not running and that gets front page treatment while Shaun Moriarty announcing his candidacy for Southbridge town council (not even his name is mentioned in the little box on the front page) is relegated to page 2. Give me a break.

  4. In February two former News staffers were in the paper. One announced he is running for Town Council -- the top elected post in town government. His announcement is buried in the paper.

    The other former staffer "lands" an interim, part-time job as director of a defunct recreation department. That story is prominently placed on the front page with a happy little photo.

    The news judgment here is baffling. Either it no longer exists there, or they knew exactly what they were doing.


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