Sunday, November 20, 2005

Let’s check back on the Tribune week that was.

Last Sunday, NA Confidential expressed supreme annoyance with Chris Morris's sloppy, negligent and poorly reasoned rant entitled, "Do cities really need formal smoking bans?" We asked:

Do newspapers really need informed, intelligent editorials about public policy issues? Our Tribune apparently is uncertain.

Publisher John Tucker answers:

The opinion is strictly Chris's. While the article appeared in the spot that has traditionally been occupied by the newspaper's "official" stance and Chris is the managing editor of the newspaper, Chris is identified as the author and holder of the opinion.

The fact that you feel that his stance is uninformed and unintelligent is also an opinion and I encourage you to express your view by sending in a letter to the editor or (if you feel you need to go longer) a column.

It is my feeling that a healthy exchange of opinions/viewpoints can only lead to good things. If that includes taking the editor of the paper to task over what you feel was a poorly written piece, so be it. We'll print it.

As always, thanks for reading.

In turn, NAC thanks John for this response, and will consider a rebuttal in the fashion suggested. At the same time, we persist in the view that until the editorial page is coherently redefined by the newspaper's new management, the traditional editorial slot should be occupied by semi-official statements of the newspaper's editorial stance, and not by the editor's meandering and non-factual commentaries.

The Tribune's coverage of Wednesday' Wal-Mart documentary film premiere was lamentably spotty.

A Greg Gapsis (Evening News) piece about the grassroots effort to screen the film was published and reprinted inside the print edition of the Tribune, but the link to it on the newspapers' dual website was curiously placed in the "Lifestyles" section rather than "Local News."

National sigh of relief: The high cost of a Wal-Mart shopper's conscience is not examined in new documentary film.

None of this has been explained, but then again, we have not issued a formal notice. John, if you're reading ...

The week's most profound instance of human error at the Tribune occurred on Thursday, when the newspaper used days-old press releases to describe Baron Hill's New Albany appearance the previous day, and in doing so laughably misrepresented the event, "reporting" Hill's speech as taking place outside, not inside, the City-County Building, and noting the presence of his entire family, when only one of three daughters actually attended.

Here's why the Tribune should read NA Confidential first.

A "correction" was hurriedly published, though not in the front-page space where the error was made (a pet peeve of NAC's; to bury it elsewhere seems evasive, somehow), but fair enough; laziness has been acknowledged, and that's the important thing.

We're not approaching these criticisms of the Tribune in a malicious manner, or in the adversarial way that previous management regimes were content to foster through neglect and indifference.

Rather, John Tucker has undertaken to meet with the newspaper's readers and explain the process of reform that he has instituted, and he is responsive to the concerns that we've voiced to date.

As New Albany embarks upon its much delayed campaigns of glasnost and perestroika, a newspaper with similar aims is vitally important, and we've no doubt that John's plans are sincere.

That's a wrap. Forty or so days until Christmas ... and John knows what we mean by that reference.

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