So a mid-level editor (with whom I am friendly) at the Times called and e-mailed me yesterday to “warn” me that my criticism of assistant metro editor Sandra Gadsden did not go unnoticed. Add this criticism to my recent “outing” of Times food critic Laura Reiley’s decision to take a leave of absence and, he said, I may be tempting fate again. Meaning the Times may want to write something about me just to take me down a notch. The newspaper does this from time to time just to remind its enemies who is the boss. Oh, well, the Times needs a dose of outside criticism. Not paid-for-by-Scientology criticism, but someone or some institution needs to watchdog the Times the way the Weekly Planet once did. In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing this column.
Apparently the Times doesn’t like this blog or any other blog for that matter. Why else would the newspaper institute a new copyright policy that not only charges for full re-use, but even for embedding text from an article. I’m sorry, but I will never pay for the “privilege” of embedding text from an article that links back to the original article. Aggregation sites, from Drudge Report on down, are one of the few reasons online news sites succeed. Attempting to charge for the right to embed a few paragraphs is a move in the wrong direction. I plan on writing more on this issue soon.
Yesterday’s news that Tampa will host the 2012 Republican National Convention is Christmas in May for Florida’s political afficianados, including the hometown newspaper. Make no mistake, Tampa landing the convention will be an economic shot in the arm for almost every local industry, including this blog and the St. Petersburg Times, whose publisher, Paul Tash, is on the Host Committee for the GOP convention. Is that a conflict of interest? The newspaper will say it’s not, but don’t look for many articles critical of the community’s effort to organize for the convention. And just for the record, because of an on-the-ground source, Saint Petersblog was able to report (via Twitter) that Tampa would host the convention 10 minutes before any reporter from the mainstream media.
Now that the hometown guy has been eliminated from American Idol, can Eric Deggans and Co. get back to writing about important stories, like the season finale of ‘V’? If I were in charge of the Times (scary), I’d give Deggans control of page 2A and let him turn it into a daily version of his must-read blog.
Sometimes it’s the road not taken that should be further examined. What do I mean in this case? Those of us who read the Times religiously often don’t realize what we are missing from their coverage of local events. Truthfully, I just have not been impressed with their lackluster coverage of the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine what an editor like Howell Raines, with his approach to “flood the zone,” would be doing with a story like this?