UPDATED (see below) Was a series of on-line readers’ comments on the morning of Saturday, 09 Feb, simply “too much” for the Whidbey News-Times (WNT)? The newspapers’ on-line editorial chastised citizens about exercising their 2nd Amendment Rights at this past Tuesday’s Oak Harbor, WA City Council meeting. The WNT posted the editorial Saturday morning, and it was attracting a series of readers’ comments that were not favorable towards the WNT’s stated views. Around noon, the newspaper “pulled” the editorial from the on-line edition. The newspaper’s original link to that editorial is now met only with a page which reads “Page Not Found”.
Did the WNT decide to “pull” it’s editorial permanently from being on-line? Or, are they simply temporarily avoiding the growing number of on-line comments which had been criticizing the newspaper’s stated position? A readable copy of the WNT editorial appears below the “Read the rest of this entry »” link. The subject editorial was apparently printed in the locally distributed hard-copy edition, as evidenced by the Whidbey News-Times, February 09, 2013 (“Green Edition”) on page 6).
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Ken Bullseye Jenzen Lvmc has publicly challenged the Whidbey News-Times’ actions in having taken down this editorial, asking their new executive editor and publisher, Keven R. Graves, in comments posted to a Publisher’s Column titled “Ethics matter in community papers”, to put this WNT editorial BACK on line at the newspaper’s website. So far, Mr. Graves has indicated that “Jessie archived the editorial without checking with the editor”.
Mr. Graves also stated that their editor “went looking for it and ran into some problems” but he did not explain anything about those problems and he also he also blamed the WNT’s own newspaper-publishing technology for not having put the editorial back on line, claiming that “…not everything is a simple push of the button here.”
My initial take: Mr. Graves is likely not going to simply put that editorial back on line as he seems to want us to believe is the case. If he really he wanted to do so in a timely manner, he, or someone on his staff, simply could have had the editorial re-typed, thus re-creating Jessie Stensland’s editorial “from scratch” in almost no time at all.
Mr. Graves has been “on-the-job” for more than a couple of weeks now. Did he really think that he could publish such an editorial about journalistic ethics and NOT be asked about Jessie Stensland’s hatchet job on the 2nd Amendment? Of course, not. The reality is: a reposting of that editorial could have been done TODAY, or AT ANY TIME IN THE LAST THREE WEEKS IF the new PUBLISHER HAD WANTED THAT TO HAPPEN.
From reading between the lines, it presently appears that queries to the WNT editor on this editorial in the past couple of weeks have been going into a “black hole” over at the WNT, the editor has been making excuses, and the new publisher is now circling the wagons to protect his staff.
On this very same day, it took only about two hours for the WNT first to CREATE, PUBLISH and then, later, UPDATE an article about a lady who drove her car through the front of a local store, where no injuries were sustained. I suppose anyone who had been planning to get a late-lunch pizza at Little Caesar’s should be gastronomically thankful to the WNT for both their sleuthing and on-line publishing technical abilities before they headed out to lunch today.
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The Whidbey News-Times Editorial as it appears in their Saturday, 09 Feb edition:
Some online readers’ remarks were very critical of the above editorial in the WNT’s Facebook comments section. One person from Kent, WA even alluded to how Sound Publishing had apparently gotten rid of some “too-liberal” editorial staff down that way, because it was costing them revenue $$, and he suggested that Sound Publishing should look into doing the same thing in Oak Harbor. Here’s an example of one reader’s comments that was made in response to editorial before the WNT took it down:
Here’s another on-line reader comment about that editorial: