August 19, 2008

US&J's Irresponsible Headline

Sometime over this past weekend, friends and family of a 21 year-old Lockport man suffered a tremendous tragedy when the young man fell to his death behind Urban Park Towers. I cannot begin to comprehend the magnitude of their loss and condolences go out to them.

From a media perspective, we are quite perplexed at the headline that the Union Sun & Journal chose to run after the tragedy was discovered. The US&J ran a headline of "Concert Goer Found Dead". Why? Was his death directly attributable to the concert? The answer is no. In fact, nowhere in the story does it say that he attended the concert. It says he was at Taboo. It says he was at Papa Leos. It says that he was at Gonzos. Someone I spoke to says he did not attend the concert. So what purpose is served by the paper to state the a concert goer was killed? Why not a headline of "Gonzo Goer Found Dead" or "Papa Leos Goer Found Dead?" Why is it necessary to repeatedly do everything within your power to tear down what is good?

The concert series has brought 10s of thousands of people to downtown Lockport, people who have never stepped into the city. Many in the community feel that this is the best thing that has happened to Lockport in decades. At the concerts and days after, people are still talking about the shows. REO Speedwagon drew 25,000 people. Simply fantastic.

What does the US&J do? They run a headline with the express intent of tearing down the concert series by attempting to connect this tragic death to the concert. There is no connection, and the actions of the newspaper are disgustingly irresponsible.

It's time that the people of the Lockport area start taking action. However, that doesn't mean you should call the newspaper - call their advertisers. Tell them that you will no longer patronize their stores because you are fed up with the irresponsible and destructive journalism practices at the Union Sun & Journal. That, I can assure you, will send a message to the malcontents running that rag of a paper.


Oliver said...

Is anyone really surprised that the US&J or the Tonawanda News are irresponsible and delight in tearing both events and people down? The editors of both papers delight in both ill informed and personal attacks on public officials. In addition, they make no effort to practice their craft- journalism.

Both Maron and Duvall would be better suited as editors at the National Enquirer.

Frank DeGeorge said...

You guys always see conspiracy. I see gross incompetence. You have bush league editors at these small papers who don't know anything about the community and hence write headlines that make zero sense.

This isn't about tearing down. This is about lack of experienced, talented people at the paper.

Frank DeGeorge said...

And congrats to Hobbes for apparently forcing people to register to post. I'd rather read three or four good comments that get involved in the nonsense of anonymous Francine DelMonte posts.

Pirate's Code said...

Agree with frank that it's not necessarily a conspiracy -- that would require more thought than these editors seem capable of.

Journalism is about many things, but key among them is decision making. No newspaper, for instance, can print everything one might considers "news." So, decisions must be made.

For some time I have seen what I believe is a major deterioration in the quality of the Niagara Newspaper products, and at least some of that comes in the judgments being made by the editors of the individual papers.

The Tonawanda News gives front page space each Sunday to a former staffer-turned insurance salesman-and part-time columnist -- Joe Genco -- who seems hell-bent on declaring the Lockport concerts a failure, despite all evidence to the contrary. Now, Mr. Genco is welcome to his opinions, to be sure, but why his opinion carries more weight than anyone else, on the front page no less, is beyond reason. And, it might help if the editors clearly marked his column as just that...opinion.

It's a shame, really. There is so much opportunity for a local paper to print the sort of material that the bigger papers don't have room for and broadcast doesn't have time be a service to the community.

lido said...

I just can't see what they gain by attempting to portray this tragedy as somehow being connected to the concert. If in fact he was there and there were 25,000 people there, 24,999 had a great time. It's just a pattern of repeatedly accentuating everything negative.

Sweaterman said...

What a bunch of crap. The paper gets away with everything. if i were the promoter, I would look into a lawsuit.

Speaking of horrible journalists...I was listening to Scott leffler and he was discussing why he went to Ohio to go to school " leave this sess pool of a state." Correct me if I am wrong...he lives in Lockport, NEW YORK....right??

Mr. Pink said...

While I appreciate the view of Frank and PC, I'm not so sure that isn't something more sinster behind this. This concert series, from the move from NT to Lockport, to the new promoter at NT, to the beer sale issue and now this, have actually given these papers something local and pertinent to write about.

Hence, any story that can somehow be connected to the concert series makes these stories even more compelling. And it's not uncommon for GNN to get on a story and ride it into the ground...any remember all the Power Coalition stuff?

Frank DeGeorge said...

Pink has a point about the need to make a mundane story part of something bigger in the community. It's a justification for existence.

I can see the US&J paperboy on the corner, "Extra, Extra, read all about it. Concert music forces man to plunger to death."

Pirate's Code said...

Pink -- Is it consciously riding a story to death (implying a willful decision) or simply not knowing any better (implying a lack of skill, talent and experience)?

A distinction without a difference, perhaps, especially for us suckers who continue to subscribe, because the outcome remains the same.

Oliver said...

Both of these papers suffer from declining readership. In order to compensate, they publish the scurrilious, scandalis and for a lack of another s word, tabloid.

The are the Niagara Falls Reporter without the ability to break a story all of their own.

Concerts=popular so they connect every event in the City to them. Look at NT; how many SLA stories are going to published?

rob clark said...

I agree with frank. I glad you can`t post as anonymous anymore. Good Job Hobbes.

Barney said...

weak post