Opinion » Letters

An ailing daily has killed good government



Will Bob Cuddy’s casting light on reasons for the rotten reportage of our daily alleged newspaper start a conversation on this subject (“A change is coming,” March 26)? Let’s hope so, for The Tribune’s failure to report what residents must know to become citizens is one reason SLO city government has become a corrupted cesspool serving the interests of developers and the Chamber of Commerce—while most voters remain blissfully ignorant of this fact.

Cuddy attributes bad public affairs reporting to a pusillanimous editor. That may be, but The Trib’s lack of journalistic ethics at its highest levels must also play a part. For example, its late publisher served on both the Chamber and the Economic Vitality Corporation boards, and as an underling on the Downtown Association board. When a publisher plays roles like that within a community’s most vigorous economic lobbying organizations, how can his newspaper be impartial? Thus readers get a daily Chamber newsletter instead of a newspaper.

It need not be this way. When the Telegram-Tribune assigned me to cover SLO City Hall, my editor told me to cover “everything.” Perplexed, I asked, “Everything?” “Everything,” he replied. “If they’re going to paint a curb red downtown, you report it.” I was also told to discover what would happen at meetings, and to write about it before hand so readers could participate. Participate they did! For years under that reportage philosophy, the newspaper helped underwrite good government in SLO.

Today, The Tribune leaves us in the dark. It has killed good government. If it is a dying institution itself, the reason is clear: They’ve abdicated a community newspaper’s basic function—reporting public affairs.

-- Richard Schmidt - San Luis Obispo

-- Richard Schmidt - San Luis Obispo

-- Richard Schmidt - San Luis Obispo

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