What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A long time coming

I've been trying to get The Danville Register & Bee to address my concerns for more than eight months. I've been bullied, ridiculed and told my concerns were frivolous. I have heard story after story from former R&B staffers who told me they were forced out the door for even joking about it being a hostile workplace. It is a hostile workplace and Media General is a hostile company motivated not by decency but by dollars.

Danville continues to sit by and let this newspaper publish what it will without any regard to the needs of the community, yet it is YOUR advertising dollars which allow them to do so. Without advertising the newspaper will go under. Revenues are down 9% (that's a public figure you can find anywhere on the internet) and layoffs are scheduled company wide across Media General.

The money you pay in ads goes to Lynchburg and will soon go to India as the company is outsourcing more of its operations there. The money you spend to get incomplete or error ridden ads is not benefiting the dozen employees who lost jobs so Media General could show a profit - Remember - NONE of them were asked if they'd be willing to relocate or commute to Lynchburg to keep their jobs.

Newspapers have no special powers.
Their reporters don't have any other rights than the average man on the street has. They don't have the right to call you up force you to talk to them. They may not trespass into your yard or onto your porch. If they call, you can hang up on them or decline to speak with them. They can't do a thing about it. Reporters are not police. They cannot force you to talk.

They can't take your photo if you are on private property and you tell them not to take your photo. They have ONLY the rights that you, an ordinary citizen have. They may have more training and knowledge, but you can get that too - and for free by going to the same websites they do...like www.poynter.org or www.IRE.org or joining any one of dozens of organizations on the internet that teaches citizens how to be journalists. All journalists do is document their community. When only a handful of people document history - whether it is about uranium or the town council meeting, then those who read it only hear their side of what happened.

When several people attend a board of supervisors meeting and they all write about it from their perspective, or show video clips of it - then truth emerges. That is what our founding fathers intended. That is why the VERY FIRST AMENDMENT in the Bill of Rights is about our freedom of speech.

That doesn't mean we're free to lie. As a matter of fact - lies about something or someone can be considered libel or slander - but if you write the truth - a verifiable truth, then you cannot be punished - although the attorneys would like to intimidate you and say you can. Everything I have written is truth and it is intended to inform, educate and alert the residents and readers of this blog to a clear and present danger - the policies at Media General that not only tolerate, but allow for the demeaning, the abuse and the objectification of women employed there.

For eight long months I met with Publisher Steve Kaylor and spent more time in Arnold Hendrix's office than it seemed to me that he did - being picked and picked at for my objecting to the nonprofessional way the newsroom was run and the incompetency, favoritism and bullying that went on. I'm not alone. Many others experienced it. But they have families and homes and felt like protecting those was more important. I respect that. I do not respect an organization that will treat its employees as poorly, rudely and callously as Media General - nor a publisher who seemed to care, but turned out to be the ruthless hand behind the layoffs and the man who turned a deaf ear to the pain, humiliation and anger of the women who went to him trusting him to "do the right thing."

To his wife - I'm sorry you're married to him...I hope he treats you better than he treats his employees. I hope, if a video of you ever appeared in a newsroom somewhere and a room of men gathered around it to stare at your nipples and make comments about your body or to laugh, that he would have the backbone to object. However...I doubt he would. For that I'm sorry for you... you married a jellyfish and a liar. Because he lied to the woman who came to him and asked him about the incident. Yes - because I have the emails I wrote to both Steve and to Media General's Human Resource department.

And if anyone out there thinks this was just some immature men having fun and acting juvenile, then email me. I'll videotape YOUR body in an unflattering light, or the body of your wife, or sister or mother...and we'll find some horny, ignorant, stupid, callous men to stand around and gawk. And then we'll see how YOU feel....It's NOT innocent. It's not "not a big deal." It IS a big deal. It's a big deal because it is indicative of how The Danville Register & Bee conducts business. It's indicative of the kind of people they hire, the attitude they have towards women and the disregard for the community they are supposed to serve.

I don't mind standing up for what is right or exposing what is wrong. While the community can whisper behind closed doors and hide a lot of things - the fact of the matter is - you are not being served as you deserve to be. The county is largely agriculturally based - yet there is no ag page and there won't be one because it doesn't generate advertising dollars. See? It's NOT about what's good for the community. It's about what's good for Media General and for The Danville Register & Bee's pocketbook. That's all. And if you are okay with that - then that's your choice. But I believe there are many Christians, many women and many people who are not okay with that.

The newspaper doesn't hesitate to rip any one of you for fraud or misdoings. Yet - they don't like it when someone holds them to task either. They had plenty of time to do the right thing and didn't. They thought that I would pack up my bags and go my own way like dozens before me....but that's not going to happen. I am going to stay here and keep hammering until someone does the right thing. It's up to Media General to clean house, to offer a front page apology to me and to all the women who are offended and to change their policies.

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