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Editorial: The value of community journalism

Original post made on Dec 29, 2017

When Investigation Discovery (ID) television network wanted to do a documentary-style program about the 2008 murder of Pleasanton couple Ernest Scherer Jr. and Charlene Abendroth, they contacted the local newspaper.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 28, 2017, 2:55 PM

Comments (9)

a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2017 at 10:56 am


Posted by Gina Channell, Pleasanton Weekly Publisher
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2017 at 11:32 am

Gina Channell, Pleasanton Weekly Publisher is a registered user.

Hi Earl,
We're doing OK and not going anywhere in the near future, but it gets more difficult every year.
You can help by patronizing our advertisers and telling them you saw their ad on or in the Pleasanton Weekly print edition.
You can also become a member, which gives you unlimited access to the website, free delivery of the paper if you live in Pleasanton, tickets to events and other perks.
Thank you for reading, commenting and, most of all, for caring.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 1, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I have been getting my news on line for several years, along with listening to the radio while I am on the road, and the radio when I am at my desk writing reports.

This past year, the online news is so interrupted with pop up adds and just junk stuff generally, I immediately navigate out. These past two holiday weeks, I set down in front of the television for evening news, and was blasted with infomercials.

Given the above experience, I would welcome back the morning newspaper with my coffee and donut each morning. I will provide the coffee and donut, someone provide the newspaper.

Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 3, 2018 at 8:17 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Right here in Tim's latest blog is a subject that is perfect for a small town news organization to investigate: Web Link

How is it that a local government can be SO incompetent, yet not have a paper investigate said incompetence?

Perhaps the reason newspapers are failing is that they have stopped doing investigative reporting, censuring descriptions of perpetrators, and basically been a reporting arm of a political party or politician?

The stories that can actually make a difference are right there in front of you and your profession. Yet instead of un-biased reportage, you've (and I don't necessarily mean you or PW) decided to take a side.

Go ahead and read the NYT or WAPO or any other large city/regional paper and see for yourself.


Posted by Gina Channell, Publisher
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 3, 2018 at 8:47 am

Gina Channell, Publisher is a registered user.

Hi DKHSK, we would love to do more investigative journalism and dig into issues like the one in Tim’s blog. Why don’t we? Limited resources.
This is the point of the editorial.... The Pleasanton Weekly is a small business and, in addition to paying rent and PG&E, we pay journalists like Tim. Our editorial staff consists of three full-time employees and a handful of freelancers. We cover 5 communities.

To give this a bit of perspective, I ran a division of the Chicago Sun-Times in Illinois and the division covered 12 communities with papers and websites very similar to the Pleasanton Weekly and its online sister publications. There were roughly 75 journalists dedicated to those papers at the time (late 1990s / early 2000s) and we could employ them because the business model kept a steady stream of revenue coming in.

Yes, we need the investigative journalism for exactly the reasons you pointed out. We also need to fund the journalism.

Posted by Gina Channell, Publisher
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 3, 2018 at 9:13 am

Gina Channell, Publisher is a registered user.

A bit more perspective: we had a publication in Dublin about the same time this issue began. The community did not support it financially and we had to cease publication. The same thing happened in Danville.

This might have had a different outcome if journalists been covering it and the public was well informed.

Posted by Community reporting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2018 at 12:56 pm

The East Bay Times and Independent are consistently reporting Pleasanton news that the Pleasanton Weekly seems to miss completely. For example, there has been absolutely nothing about the police officer that the burglary suspect hit by a car recently in the Pleasanton Weekly, i.e. Web Link

The article makes references that real journalists go to the Zoning Board and the courthouse. I would agree that with that in that most small town newspapers monitor the police radio band, go to the Regional Water Board and town and county Zoning Board of Adjustment meetings, and the courthouse.

The only time I've consistently seen the Pleasanton Weekly reporters are at Rotary club meetings, Chamber of Commerce gatherings and at the Economic Vitality commission meeting.

But I don't believe that the Pleasanton Weekly engages in this type of community reporting. I have never seen a Pleasanton Weekly reporter at the Regional Water Board meetings. I didn't even see them at the ones in 2013 that resulted in the Attorney General actions in reference to the James Tong criminal case. I've never seen any Pleasanton Weekly reporter at the East County Zoning Board, ever.

I seriously doubt that the Pleasanton Weekly monitors the police radio band. Perhaps they monitor the police Facebook or Nextdoor postings on social media, which most people can access easily. If they did monitor the police radio band, they would have immediately reported on the injured police officer.

My observation is that The Independent has less staff than the Pleasanton Weekly, but seems to be able to cover Dublin, Livermore, and Pleasanton in more depth than the Pleasanton Weekly, have much more detailed articles, and far more articles in each issue. Also, their reporters seems to be at the Regional Water Board meetings, the East County Zoning Board meetings, etc. and all of those meetings that the Pleasanton Weekly seems to pass over.

My observation is also that I have never seen an investigative reporting piece or any piece critical of a commercial business in the Pleasanton Weekly publication. Even when Direct Buy was located in Hacienda Business Park, scamming local residents by the hundreds, I never saw anything critical about what what was occurring in the newspaper.

Posted by Factchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2018 at 1:01 pm

The weekly has had a reporter at zone 7 meetings at least when water rate increases were being discussed.

Posted by Community reporting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Speaking of Zone 7, the East Bay Times and NBC News in early March covered the erosion of the arroyos causing the back yards of Pleasanton residents to fall into the arroyo days before the Pleasanton Weekly had any articles on it. The East Bay Times and NBC News covered that Breaking News story with much more speed than the Pleasanton Weekly.

The Regional Water Board is different from Zone 7, and I would be surprised if the Pleasanton Weekly has any idea what the Regional Water Board is. I do not know if any Pleasanton Weekly reporter or staff member or editor has any experience whatsoever in covering various actions of government entities within a city (state, local, Federal, special districts). I would be completely surprised if they get mailed any of the agendas. If they did or looked them up online, how could they have possibly miss this in 2013?

Web Link

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