Friday, July 20, 2007

The Search for a New Police Chief

I wonder if the news media know how obnoxious it looks when they interfere in a high-profile executive search, like the Raleigh paper just did in Durham's search for a new police chief. They couldn't wait for the announcement. They had to badger people "close to the process" for "off-the-record information" then barge into the negotiation of details.

Thank goodness the Durham newspaper laid back a bit. It's usually a blessing to have two major dailies covering your news. But this double coverage stinks when one is from another community and appears to have an agenda... overtly to undermine the Durham paper and try and put it out of business but many believe covertly to make sure Durham isn't seen as Raleigh's equal.

Yes, they are good people as individuals, and this is just free enterprise. Yes, I'm risking passive-aggressive retaliation from folks who control the ink.

But instead of relishing in these intrusions, as though we just got the latest gossip, I hope readers will eventually revolt from this revolting interference in a delicate and, yes, personal process between a community and a candidate, whose wife I'm sure wants to know he's coming into a place where the news media treat people, communities and processes with respect.

And for folks who trade "off-the-record tidbits" to curry favor with the news media, watch your back.

I'm just glad there are still so many great editors who have restraint and don't sic their reporters on stories this way. I just wish they would write more stories about news professionals who don't.

1 comment:

maura said...

Amen, Reyn, Amen!