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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why this matters...

I haven't had much luck with newspapers. I've found the last three or four I've worked for to be pretty bad. So let me give you some background about why I think it's important to tell folks about why I'm tired of crap from media companies.

There are some good journalists - Tim Russert was one of my favorites (My essay about my father is in his last book - Wisdom of Our Fathers, Letters from sons and daughters - page 141). I really like the Poynter.org folks. They've been a wonderful resource over the years. If you want to read my comments about journalism in general go there and search on my name. I complained there about this stuff over the years too.

Anyway, after the world failed to self-destruct in 2000 with the 2K bug I moved from VA to Washington State to take a job as the editor of a small newspaper there - The Goldendale Sentinel. I loved the town, but soon learned why editors didn't last long there.

The publisher had an unusual sales technique. He blackmailed advertisers. If they didn't buy ads he threatened to write bad stories about them. Advertisers and a former editor were the first to tip me off to this fact. So I watched. Sure enough. Within months he was bragging about it and told me he even got expensive tickets to a local fundraising gala by telling the Maryhill Museum that he'd never write about them again if he wasn't given the tickets. The PR folks at the Museum had already told me about it so he merely confirmed it. (By the way, if you're ever in The Dalles, OR or Dallesport or Lyle, Washington - drive up and tour the museum and their replica of Stonehenge.

Fantastic place! If you can't tour - send them a donation - very incredible place. Good winery next door overlooking the Columbia River). Anyway - I lasted a year there before he capitulated to environmental terrorists who were green-mailing him to get rid of me because I had begun writing about their fraud. Their game? Threaten to sue corporations unless they paid them outrageous amounts to "help" the environment - most of that money I found was going into the tree-huggers pockets, not helping the environment at all.

We had a confrontation - and I started my own newspaper - The Klickitat County Monitor. You can see some of the old issues here. (www.ravenscreekphotography.smugmug.com in the Writing Clips gallery. Let me plug www.smugmug.com here. They gave me a lifetime membership this year after learning of my climb out of homelessness a couple of years ago. Smugmug is AWESOME!!)

I had no money - so the local townspeople - who had been following my stories and the enterprise pieces that exposed the fraud (like environmentalists who planted fur on a local mountain and claimed it was from endangered species until DNA testing showed it was from a dead animal from a local museum) held a yardsale. That's right. The townsfolk donated more than five pickup truck loads of clothes and items for a yard sale in a town of about 5,000 people. They raised $250, gave it to me and with that and a home computer I rented an office. I moved out of my apartment and into the office where I slept on a couch for the next few months and put out a weekly paper all by myself. I opened in time to cover Sept. 11, 2001. Within a few months I had the same circulation as the Sentinel and was selling the paper in 35 retail locations in two states. I was working 100 hour weeks but people loved the paper. The stress took its toll and after coming down with Pneumonia and almost dying - I sold it to investors who knew nothing about the newspaper business and tried to force their own agenda - not the news - on folks. It failed. Meanwhile...I had moved on - going back to work for a newspaper in Tennessee...The Knoxville Journal. THAT PAPER I LOVED...but let me tell you more about what came after...later.

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