A Conundrum Of Sorts

| June 18, 2011 | 21 Comments

If you are reading this, you are signed up for our newsletter and received a link. Either that, or you are a really good guesser or URLs. You are likely one of our most loyal readers and are either checking us out frequently, subscribing to our feed, following us on twitter or reading our facebook page.  And now we need your opinion. Here is the backstory.

Ever since we appeared on the scene, we have never professed to be an online “newspaper”. We are a news source. We do not have the staff to sniff out stories, delve into fact checking each press release we receive–do we really need to verify that the proceeds from an event go to the Chesapeake Bay Trust? Or can we just take the release at its word?  We think the latter and as such, we do re-post and pass along information contained in various press releases.We also understand that these releases will be spun in favor of the whomever released it. We also assume you are intelligent enough to sort through the spin and act accordingly.

For the past two years, one County agency (will remain unnamed) has been (oh, there is no delicate way to say this) a thorn in our side. We can’t win. If we publish something that may be contrary to their opinion, we get chastised for being biased and publishing a “tabloid.”  We have received countless emails from the agency criticizing our pieces (which are often re-published press releases) and calling them irresponsible because we did not come to them for their position to be included. They are very aware that they are able to comment on the piece or offer a rebuttal which will be published in its entirety as well. They have typically declined to do that and prefer to “bully” their message through.

Most recently, they took exception to a release that we published that put them in a poor light. Rather than issue a rebuttal or comment, they sent us an email at 1030pm on a weekend night advising that we were irresponsible and included a “for the record” statement. Since the statement was 180 degrees from the original post (essentially calling the original post/release factually incorrect), we updated the post at 9am the following morning only to receive a critical email saying that we were biased and it took us 10 hours to post the update.  As our readers know, updates are posted up front and center. We thought the update was pretty timely. If this had been The Capital or any other print medium,  it would have appeared on page Z-113, 3 days later.

So what do you think? Can you decipher messages on your own and spot the spin? Or do you feel that we need to contact every mentioned organization mentioned in a release to get their opinion or statement. Please take out poll and leave a comment–and thanks for reading!

Category: NEWS

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.