The Closing of the Silver City Daily Press & the End of Local Media

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In 2005, I found a lifeboat. At the time, I was the news director for KNFT. The radio station wasn’t in the best financial shape — in fact, a trustee had been appointed to manage the day-to-day operations. When I learned of an opening for a staff writer at the Daily Press, I arranged an interview with Publisher Tina Ely and Editor Dean Thompson. I began my two-year stint at the Press that July, and within months KNFT was bought out and fully automated. Continue reading…

Shorter Joe Monahan

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“Journalists who also blog shouldn’t criticize me because I’m right and they’re wrong. So go look at all the crazy stuff they’re trying to pull.” Or something like that (scroll down to the bottom).

Oh, and to his assertion that his is “the most respected, most quoted and most read political web site in New Mexico,” here’s this:

Sure, right now his site is on top (likely because all the other blogs in the state are linking to his whining about those scary “progressive bloggers” and “quasi-secret, out-of-state nonprofit ventures.” But back during the election, you can see it was Matt at NMFBIHOP who was pulling in the big numbers. Heck, if you toss in the SF Reporter and and the NM Independent (two more of his recent targets) you get this:

If you really want to get a sense of the man, check out his Twitter stream:

I’ve got two bloggers stalking me. One makes pancakes–NMFBIHOP–The other–Beltway Baca–makes crazy!

Leave it to Joe to respond to legitimate criticism with actual name-calling. It just doesn’t get any more juvenile than this. ((Not to mention the hypocrisy: this is somebody who calls sources — in New Mexico of all places — alligators.)) Monahan is the worst of bloggers: he doesn’t link to anybody else in the state, even when responding to direct criticism, robbing his readers of even more context. He also doesn’t allow direct comments, preventing readers from responding in the light of day. Instead, he filters criticism and praise alike, publishing only the bits and pieces that advance his own agenda.

His attacks on Heath Haussamen are even more ludicrous: Heath is a guy who has established not only a comments policy, but has an entire section on his own ethics responsibilities. Long before criticizing Monahan for his use of anonymous sources, Heath had a clear policy in place for when he would use un-named sources. Monahan, on the other hand, relies on them almost entirely, and there’s no rhyme or reason.

Oh, and one last thing Joe: it’s pretty easy to nail an “exclusive” if you’re willing to publish anything and everything that pops into your inbox.

For more on the whole affair, start where everybody else did at m-pyre, then check out Matt and Julia.

Journalist turnover in Silver City

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(Updated in comments – Please see below)
With the recent news that Levi Hill would be leaving the Silver City Sun News, and Mary Alice Murphy’s shift to a part-time, freelance schedule at the Silver City Daily Press, came a realization: in the past four years, there’s been a 100-percent turnover for full-time, daily reporters in Silver City.

When I returned from Washington D.C. ((where I had interned with Sen. Jeff Bingaman for the summer)) in August, 2004, I took a position as news director for KNFT radio. My predecessor, Larry Behrens, had just taken a job as KOAT’s local reporter for the Silver City/Southwest New Mexico area. At the Sun News, Levi was working with Tom Baird and sports reporter Matt Miller. The Daily Press was employing Melissa St. Aude, Mary Alice Murphy, and Steven Siegfried, with Vince Kong on sports duty.

The lay of the land has changed completely. Every name listed above has moved on (or is moving on) with the exception of Mary Alice, whose role at the Daily Press has been reduced significantly. KNFT’s news operation was basically scrapped in 2006.

I think the changes have been gradual enough that there’s been no serious loss of institutional knowledge, the statistic is staggering in my mind. What happens to follow through on long-term stories? How does a news organization maintain relationships with the community when its most visible ambassadors are constantly changing?

What do you think? Has the turnover in reporters been good, bad, or a mixed bag?