Media Train Fire on Local Rivals?
As a media buff, I was drawn to B.J. Roches review in the current issue of Commonwealth Magazine of a book titled First Job: A Memoir of Growing Up at Work by Rinker Buck, which tells the story of his early years working at the Pittsfields Berkshire Eagle, a paper I worked at on my rookie newspaper job. [My own experience has remained fondly embedded in my mind and heart.] Sadly, Roche, who teaches journalism at UMass and writes a column in the Sunday Boston Globe, concludes her review thusly: For young people entering the field today, its a different world, and their first job in journalism is often their last. Thats a loss for us all.
Meanwhile, I got a kick out of a piece by Tom Vannah, editor of the Valley Advocate, titled Inside the Union-News about the failures, deficiencies, and conflicts of interest of Springfields daily newspaper. Vannahs harsh critique was based on an interview with a former Union News reporter who recently wrote a critical article about the Springfield paper for the Columbia Journalism Review.
Of course, Vannahs comments would carry more weight if his own weekly paper was doing a more credible job. Measured against what the Advocate could be accomplishing, the of its past quality, and what it is content to publish these days - I mean how demanding or courageous is it to run a list of the best sushi bars, therapists or stereo stores in the valley - Vannahs paper comes closer to being the alternative Union News.
One Advocate reporter told me a lack of resources prevents the paper from providing more in-depth coverage.
Hold on: The Advocate is part of the Tribune media conglomerate of Chicago, which earned $187 million in the last quarter, on revenue of $1.43 billion. That qualifies as resources. Its a question of how you elect to spend them.