508 #86: More Worcester Journalism

posted by Mike on October 2nd, 2009

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk about Worcester Magazine News Editor Scott Zoback leaving, what it would take to beef up accountability journalism in Worcester (inspired by a Clay Shirky lecture), and legalizing medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

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Video: Downloads and other formats

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In the coming weeks we will be interviewing Bill McCarthy and Rob Diaz. Feel free to suggest questions in the comments below.

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4 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On October 3, 2009 at 11:32 Brian Goslow said:

    Great discussion on how bloggers could take on more important roles in covering the news of the city. There’s two important things needed for this to happen: first, the people being covered and questioned have to engage in the process (which is seems Phil Palmieri didn’t want to do in the instance of Gabe Rollins’ very valuable 2009 city council candidates’ questionaire) and more importantly, in assuming a more “official” role, they need to include the views and reasoning behind those who are thought to disagree with the issue they’re covering or advocating for; a number of times at the Worcester Phoenix we tried to bring local advocates on-board for a one-time article we hoped would include all of their passion but almost always, the piece would fall apart after they were taken aback at the suggestion they interview those they felt were responsible for whatever they wanted to see happen or convey (i.e., a story on how wonderful the ’60s and early ’70s were in Worcester without including how much fun it was for neighbors to find discarded needles all over the place). InCity Times could be amazing if they actually found out why something is the way it is beyond their own interpretation – in some instances, there might be a real explanation; in others, they would reveal there truly is a problem that needs to be addressed by a greater amount of people than a few (thankfully) rabblerousers. It takes a lot of discipline to wait to have phone calls and email returned from city officials; you might have to track them down at a council meeting or campaign stop and ask them, did you get my email asking you what you think about … Their response will tell you a lot. They might pull you aside and acknowledge having read it and apologize for not having gotten back to you because they had been so busy or they might blow you off and say, “If I had to read every email …” and that would tell you a lot about them and their support staff as well (many elected officials and corporate folk have support staff who read and screen their email and only pass on what they think is important – and what they think is unimportant might actually be important to the person you’re trying to contact). Before you nail someone with indifference, you’ve got to do everything possible to get them to at least acknowledge you … even if that acknowledgement is a brushoff. Hopefully, this helps you avoid having a seminar but if you want to hold one, I’m there.

  2. On October 13, 2009 at 18:06 Noah R. Bombard said:

    To piggy back off Brian’s comment, I think the only thing standing in the way of a local blogger filling the role of a legitimate news source is the blogger himself/herself. Good reporting stands on it’s own — weather it’s in a blog or on the front page of the T&G.

    In fact, it agitates me when fellow journos lump “bloggers” together in these discussions about journalists versus bloggers. Blogging is essentially a platform. Sometimes it’s a style. It’s as varied as the types of publications that are printed on paper. The same paper that the Wall Street Journal is printed on is used in MAD Magazine (well, a close proximity). A few months ago I was speaking to a group of old-school print types about some news blogs we were creating. “Wait, I don’t understand,” one person said, “I thought blogs were opinions.” “They’re whatever we put on them,” was my response.

    An interested citizen with time on their hands who can gather information accurately and report it in an insightful way, I believe, can be as legitimate a news source as any press pass carrying reporter. Will officials respond to their questions and inquiries? If the blog become successful enough, they’ll have to.

  3. On October 14, 2009 at 07:52 Jim Dempsey said:

    You’re making some great points here, Noah. The “old-school print types” and their denial of the obvious (technology) is part of what killed the Daily Rag (dead trees indeed). I’m teaching a course on journalism at WPI in a couple of weeks and I wondered if you’d care to drop by and discuss your work?

  4. On October 15, 2009 at 17:21 Noah R. Bombard said:

    Jim, absolutely. Shoot me an e-mail at moxieboy@gmail.com.

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