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04 January 2009


Russ Steele

Jeff Pelline posted this on NC Media Watch, claiming that he as unable to post it here. I am checking out his claim there is no way to link to his post on Ruminations.

Russ and George, Here's a good example of a constructive, civil discussion (a blog by me on The Union's web site) on the matter you have raised: "Why the death of newspapers is greatly exaggerated.

Union Link to Jeff Union Blog Post

(I tried to post it on George's blog but his "preview" and "post" button do not link correctly, so you can't post a comment on his blog at this time. I've raised it repeatedly. Kind of ironic, given his supposed penchant for a two-way dialog, not to mention self-proclaimed technical expertise ;)

Hummm, seem to work for me!

George Rebane

Thanks for the heads up about Jeff’s inability to post a comment here. TypePad may still be having intermittent problems with their new blog server engine, but this is the first in several months that I’ve heard of a problem posting comments. No one else has complained while the reader comments speak for themselves.

Was happy to read Jeff’s blog on the health of the newspaper industry. He does not acknowledge that the commentary is strictly over the print editions, but I like the tone and content of his coverage. My takeaway is that, financially healthy or not, The Union is in no danger of being shut down by Swift. That is good.

Now if Jeff would only work on eliminating snide personal attacks …, but that may be like asking Ford to not put its shiny blue oval with the classic script name on each of its cars. Brand recognition is an important aspect of reliable communication.

George Rebane

And this email came to me from Jeff Pelline this morning. I suppose he would like to have it posted.
Hey george,
Your web site won't allow me to post comments < again. The "post" and
"preview" button are not working
But here's the response I crafted to you for your 1/4 item. It is a personal
email. I "cc'ed" george foster, because I'm hoping that in the new year he
can pull you aside and help enlighten you a bit (if not a lot). You're
really off base and not being constructive in the community:

no, that's not correct. russ strafed first with personal insults ("pulp"
newspaper and an editor "fussing"), and i responded, because i wont' stand
for personal insults to me and my hard-working staff. the attacks are
tiresome, really, and never constructive. the problem with george and russ
is that they don't want to listen to the facts, which have been laid out
repeatedly. and they really don't understand the nuances of what is going on
in the newspaper business. i would contrast this to other local bloggers and
bloggers in general. to repeat:
1. as stated previously, the union is showing growing readership (in print
and circulation). the union's newspaper penetration is far greater than any
of its local competitors, reaching a majority of community members. the
penetration also is far greater than the average newspaper anywhere. many
newspaper executives would love to have this degree of penetration.
as we also have explained, the economic downturn is affecting all
businesses, not just newspapers. yet the union is managing to print a daily
newspaper with original content, reader content despite it. it's web site is
vastly improved from the past, despite it as well.
2. huh? who ever said the union was unprofitable? this is a great example of
the misinformation/disinformation provided by russ and george with no
substantiation. for the record, this lack of intellectual rigor would not be
tolerated in a mainstream media newsroom.
3. newspapers are going through a transition but not dying. the mainstream
media will survive the transition, too, because of their branding. very few,
if any, media startups survive. other media, radio and news magazines, for
example, face even greater obstacles in the "new media world."
the union's web site is the most robust in the community (by far), providing
original news, commentary, real-time chat, blogs, the ability to upload
photos and on and on. i would encourage anyone to compare the features to a
paper this size in any community.
all these points get made repeatedly in columns by myself and jeff ackerman
and conversations around town. george and russ choose to make it personal
for whatever reason. i figure they just like to stir things up as
self-appointed bloggers and media pundits.
i'd be happy to respond to any reasonable request about the union or the
newspaper business, presented in a civil, constructive tone. my email is
publicized at jeffp@theunion.com. oddly, except for russ and george, this
doesn't seem to be as much of a burning issue. responding here again seems
fruitless, however. because no matter what you say it keeps coming up again
and again. with personal insults and attacks to boot. i would encourage the
community to ask what is the value of this type of blogging, really.
so go ahead, george, take it or leave it. but don't keep bringing up the
same issue again and again. you sound like a broken record. and please don't
insult me or our hard-working staff. like anybody, we don't appreciate it.

Russ Steele

As Anna Haynes has pointed out many times in critiquing my blog posts, making personal attacks says more about the attacker than the person being attacked.


I am re-posting Jeff Pelline's comment on NC Media Watch to Ruminations. I cannot understand why Jeff has a problems posting to Ruminations, when others can post just fine. It could be the time of day, as Typepad makes sever updates in the middle of the night, I often see 4 am posts from Jeff on my blog.

i still can't post a comment on your site. if i could, i'd point out that you posted an email labeled " personal" on your blog. i'm astounded you'd do that.

I am not sure that a blog dialog, and a personal e-mail dialog, are good for the discussion of community issues, especially when the personal and public content are not in sync. It is like a person saying one thing and doing another. It maybe time for a BTA policy review on public/private communications on community issues.

George Rebane

Agreed Russ.

Jeff, I continue to find your communications byzantine. The above email that you couldn't post is Exhibit A. In there you state two opposing things - 1) it is a "response (you) crafted to (me) for (my) 1/4 item", and 2) it is "personal communication" that nonetheless was cc'd to someone else. Henceforth let's keep our minimal communications public; there is nothing that I want to say to you that I would not say publicly, and there is nothing that I want to hear from you that you wouldn't want the public to hear. As an ongoing stream of your baseless accusations, you need only go to the above entry in which you cite as a "great example of misinformation/disinformation" that I have said the Union is unprofitable. I don't have that information and have never said it. You did get a reasonable request to explicate the Union's position which you did in the Union's print or pulp edition, and which I acknowledged in my above comment. Finally, you are the only person who I have heard consider the colloqualisms 'pulp' and 'fuss' to be "personal insults". Pulp has been used in all contexts to describe printed matter since paper comes from wood pulp. And to fuss over something is common/folksy usage for expending extraordinary energy in the pursuit or accomplishment of something - from the dictionary: "an excessive display of anxious attention or activity; needless or useless bustle: They made a fuss over the new baby." If those words are a personal insult to you, perhaps another profession might be more suitable.

In sum Jeff, let's keep these tiresome communications as few and far in between as possible, and let's keep them civil and where all can see them.

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