| G. Michael Dobbs
Got a lot on my mind about my industry this week, so let’s go.
Inside baseball: I went to Holyoke Community College last week to cover the appearance of Attorney General Maura Healey, an elected official who doesn’t come to Western Massachusetts very often.
Two things happened which I could have predicted: first she was late, throwing the start of her talk off and second a TV crew, instead of actually listening to what she had to say to her standing room only audience, literally stood at the door waiting to snag her for an interview before the event.
This action pushed back the time of the commencement of the program even more. She was supposed to speak from 2 to 3 p.m. but didn’t actually start until about 2:20 p.m.
Once they got their interview, they took some B-roll of the room and went on their way.
I absolutely hate the fact that TV reporters get this privilege. It’s unfair to the people waiting for an event to start. It’s bad journalism because the reporter doesn’t actually experience the event for his or her story.
Let me be clear and a bit redundant: they didn’t cover the event. That’s the whole point of them being there.
I would take out the first elected official to a three-martini lunch who has the backbone to say to a TV reporter, “Ah, no, I can meet with you after the program.”
Now not all TV reporters do this practice, but enough of them do to form an increasingly alarming trend.
It’s bad enough TV crews can park in no-parking zones while those of us who work in print – and radio as well – actually have to find a legal parking space.
Again, I’d offer a really nice lunch to the first police officer or parking meter attendant who actually tickets them.
Yes, there are some very good reporters who work in local TV, but it is these kinds of behaviors that drive us ink-stained wretches bonkers.
Almost once a week I get a spam email from some sort of website that has ranked communities for being the most dangerous or safest, happiest or depressed, the best place to party or the worst place to party, etc.
These are click bait sites hoping to gin up some controversy or civic pride by coming up with bogus lists.
Recently one such site listed Holyoke as the most dangerous city in the Commonwealth. Naturally, one local media outlet latched onto the story as it fit their format of “revealing” information to its viewers.
I saw Mayor Alex Morse the other day and he was not happy about it. I don’t blame him.
Apparently this designation did not come about by looking at current crime stats. The mayor was quick to note that incidence of crime in the city has decreased significantly.
The basis of this “story” was shaky at best, but again, in the pursuit of eyeballs on the web, one outlet decided to run it. They shouldn’t have.
And for my final “inside baseball” observation: if you tell me you’re giving me an exclusive, then don’t give it to someone else.
This has happened several times to me lately. I don’t mind receiving a press release at the same time as other outlets. I don’t mind getting an exclusive.
What I do mind is someone’s attempt to schmooze me by telling me when they are ready for a story I will get it first and then a few days later I see they have given it to someone else.
This is why I self-medicate.
Okay, I’m done complaining – for this week.