Friday, March 17, 2006

Would the Auburn Citizen Please Report on This Race?

I've never been very impressed with the journalistic standards of the Auburn Citizen. For me, it started a few years ago when I attended an event where a professor from RIT - and the reporter covering the event said the professor was from a university in Rhode Island.

I still get a twinge every time I pick up a copy of the Auburn Citizen and see what they're writing - or, as it stands today, what they're not writing. I was eager to get a local perspective on today's announcement by Sherwood Boehlert when I read the headline this morning: Boehlert Expected to Retire.

Eagerness quickly turned to disappointment when I saw that the article was the same old Associated Press story that's been published over the last couple days in one form or another all over the country.

The Auburn Citizen is a local paper. Wouldn't it be nice if they could get a reporter to do some original coverage of important local stories?

It doesn't have to take a lot of work. Call or email the Democratic candidates for reactions. Get in touch with prospective Republican candidates for the same. Then reach out to the Republican and Democratic chairs of the county committees in the area. Presto! You've got a story.

It's no wonder voters are ill-informed and apathetic, and no surprise that local papers like the Auburn Citizen are doing so poorly, with lazy coverage like this. We deserve better from a local paper than a rehash of what the Associated Press has written.

Pardon my cranky mood, but I've got this crazy notion in my head that people like politicians and journalists are working hard for us, to keep our democracy healthy with good information and representation. On the other hand, my perspective may be a bit immature and passive. If we want our newspapers and our politicians to do a good job for us, then it's up to us to respond when they're not on the ball.

The slow and spare pace of journalism and politics in our district may be less of a bad reflection upon on the journalists and politicians than a bad reflection on us. The question we really need to grapple with is: Do the people of the 24th District really care very much about the quality of their newspapers and their representatives in government, or is it enough for us that our local cable company brings us the latest episode of Lost?

2 comments:

Simon St.Laurent said...

I've found lots of Congressional stories in the Auburn Citizen that didn't turn up in the Ithaca Journal. I'm not sure singling out the Auburn paper for criticism makes sense - you can find the same blindness in papers all over the district.

24 Independent said...

You know, I agree with you. But, that's hardly a redeeming statement for the Auburn Citizen. Rather, it's a condemnation for almost all our area newspapers.

I would say that the Utica paper usually has better reporting on this race than the others. Still, all could stand some serious improvement.