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13 December 2007


Mikey McD

Transparency and objective behavior (proof you are not a journalist), thanks for blogging with an honest "pen." Dinosaurs, dodo birds, print newspapers...

Teine Rebane Kenney

Dear Daddy (who is not even trying to be a journalist), That is one of your best and most comprehensive (about you) posts yet.
You need a website! Teine

Jeff Pelline

Thanks for your write up George:

No, you're not a journalist. But when you challenge the professionalism of journalists, such as questioning "the quality of the talent" or taking them to task for "grammar" you ought to be aware of you own shortcomings as a blogger and your fellow bloggers. It still impacts your credibility with readers. We both have that in common. (My father was an engineer, so I'm familiar with the concerns of engineers — most of them stereotypes from the '50s to '70s. You ought to set foot in a journalism school at Northwestern, UC Berkeley or Stanford and see what's going on nowadays).
Witness some recent bloopers from our locals:
1. Claiming a link for a local newspaper site didn't exist because you misspelled the name, so you couldn't find it in the database. You corrected the spelling but not the inference of unprofessionalism. That was the bigger error. You didn't link to the article, either, a "cardinal sin" of blogging.
2. Calling journalists "math challenged" when a fellow engineer and blogger showed himself to be math challenged — in calculating a simple percentage no less! Thanks Russ for your apology after that post. But I thought you guys where the "numeration and critical thinking" experts. That's what your blogs advertise.
3. Not stating conflicts of interest. Any commentator should disclose his conflicts, such as campaign contributions. It adds to the credibility. The reader deserves to know. Still not much detail about this yet. You make fun of them, but codes of ethics among journalists provide such protections. Thank goodness for that!

I do not "patrol" your sites looking for bloopers. I read many blog sites daily, including yours. I comment on many of them. You do not need to patrol some blogs to find errors — they stare you right in the face. After a while you just shake your head and stop reading. That kind of defeats the purpose of any needed "alternative voices." (which I agree are always needed. They were needed long before blogs. They were called "alternative" newspapers. On another front, FOX is doing well because the flavor of news it provides has a following).

The truth is that newspapers aren't "dying"; newspaper readership is greater than ever before. Web readership is more than offsetting the decline in print in most cases — for a total *increase* in readership. Papers from the London Times to the Los Angeles are reaching more readers than ever before with their Web site.

I also would encourage you to take a look at how blogging is going nowadays. Blogging has many challenges.

I urge anybody to read "An Important Lesson about Grassroots Media" by Steve Outing, an online expert and a former colleage of mine at the S.F Chronicle:


I like blogs and am an avid blog reader. I hope they continue to thrive. Most journalists do. But they will only thrive if they continue to provide credible commentary. On a more human level, the premise is even more simple: "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

Jeff Pelline

"Ladies and gentleman: We interrupt this programming for a news bulletin"!

Anyway, it seemed appropriate to the topic at hand (bloggers vs. journalists) during my morning reading (not patrolling) of myriad blogs. Glad not to feel singled out.



Speaking of errors...have you seen the Police Blotter the last couple days? Looks like the proof reader was on holiday. The paragraphs don't even follow...?????????

Jeff Pelline

I stand corrected if I'm wrong, but I didn't think the paragraphs are supposed to "follow" in a police blotter. A police blotter is not a story with transitions between paragraphs; it's a series of unrelated events, listed in chronological order by the time they were reported. — Happy holidays, "Mr. Pee-line"


In the fifth column the last sentence reads "enforcement officers were

in the 6th column it goes on to say "chicken with a broken leg

i don't work for a newspaper but that doesn't make sense. Shouldn't a sentence be complete?

Martin Light

An excellent article. I enjoy the sincerity and warmth of your writings as well as the depth of your knowledge on the topics. I had "LOL's" reading gladtohavemademyexodus'comments. Ouch! Appears to me that someone has put a laser sight on "the pulpit".

Jeff Pelline


Now that you provided some specifics and elaborated, I was able to investigate. The online version for today's police blotter reads fine, but you're right about the print version. Some text is missing in the print version because of a coding error in laying out the page, according to the copyeditor. We heartily apologize to you and other print readers for the missing words! (I'm not sure about any other days, but it was on the desk's radar).
Martin, I know it's tough to be scrutinized for the unsubstantiated claims about The Union or its staff that you make on your blog or errors of omission in your reporting, but it goes with the territory in journalism. You're held accountable daily. In addition, your mistakes in print cannot be "erased" like on the Web. I'm also glad that you subscribe/read the print version of The Union too; I thought you just read the Web site. Have a great weekend!



Very focused commentary, and thanks for the self-expository insight on your origins of purpose.

Mr. P wants to give everyone a lesson in "journalism" in an attempt to bring the playing field to a level upon which he can compete. NCLB

The disarmed jailer of civil discourse pleads "wait" as thinking men turn away.



Jeff Pelline

With all due respect, BB, "No, they don't." Thinking men step up, such as Steve Frish of the Sierra Business Council, and write objective commentary such as this (on Russ Steele's blog), and they also have the courage to sign their names without resorting to name calling and labels (decidedly uncivil). I guess now you're going to "circle the wagon" and stick a banana in Steve's tailpipe, call him a non-NCL, and label him an "outsider" too. Happy Holidays!

From Russ Steele's blog, where he responds in "part one" to a column. (I would cut and paste the URL but I don't have another browser on this laptop). Read on:

Dear Russ, Jeff, George et al:

Well I am not sure if I am a newcomer or an old timer, or even considered part of Nevada County, since I live in Truckee. My organization does have more than 750 business members in the Sierra Nevada and dozens in Nevada County, on both sides of the great divide. I think if we are going to make progress we need to leave all preconceived notions of past hurts and grievances behind and chart a new course.

I really liked Jeff's column. I also agree with many of Russ's ideas about encouraging business development.

Locals are wise to the stalled progress. I hear it on a regular basis from members and interested parties. I have a few observations about the issue I would like to share.

Economic development is really about community development, and it needs to be looked at as part of building a strong resilient, healthy community that creates meaningful employment, safe clean housing, appropriate infrastructure and empowered collective leadership. Economic development has traditionally been looked at as a single issue, with interests collected around it that saw a direct benefit to increase profits. The reality is that everyone benefits from a strong economy, so everyone should be a stake holder.

If everyone is a stakeholder we need to strip discussions of economic development of past partisan preconceptions and really work to build community capacity to effect change. Information about community needs and problems should be balanced with information about how we can improve community assets. We should build on the strengths of multiple community organizations/individuals and not demonize them with name calling and other nonsense. We should be targeting the whole community, rising as many boats as possible. We should be identifying and developing leadership and provide them with opportunities to lead to hone their skills.

We should also be making a point of being as inclusive as possible, That means the partnerships should cross boundaries;, the ecumenical community should be at the table, as should social welfare advocates, environmental organizations, sustainability advocates, the latino community, etc. Diversity is a strength. We should be creating an environment where everyone is welcome.

We should also be creating an environment of collective leadership. One of the greatest impediments to progress is the idea that certain people have that they know best for the community. Sometimes they might have the best ideas, but if they protect their "turf" like street gangs, no new ideas are going to be allowed to rise to the top. Innovation needs a little chaos. We should also be looking for wholistic solutions as much as possible, Ideas that synergistically connect together multiple peoples work, to achieve a greater goal have tremendous impact.

There is new leadership on these issues, it is emerging all over the place. One problem in western Nevada County is that there really is a rather empowered group of "leaders" who are somewhat reticent to let any one else in. I believe it is a fear of loosing control, of not having ownership of the outcome. They really need to loosen up a bit, get out of their position of empowerment and open their minds to some new ideas. There are a lot of people that really want economic development to work, and many of them are just average citizens who have a strong set of values about creating a great community. They are not outsiders, they are the real insiders.

Jeff is providing a valuable service.

Steve Frisch

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