Sunday, June 10, 2007

Spanning the State--Cronkite Edition

Even before I could walk, Walter Cronkite was a formative figure in my life.

Every night at 5 PM, the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite would begin its broadcast into our home. And every night at 5PM, my father would walk through the door after a long day at work. As a baby, these were the two men in my life. My mother tells the story of me hearing Cronkite's voice at the intro and I'd come screaming through the house in my walker yelling "Cronkite! Cronkite!" After "mama" and "daddy", "Cronkite" was my first word. As soon as his show got underway, it was time for my father to come home--apparently my favorite part of the day.

As an adult, I deeply admire Walter Cronkite and the work he did as a newsman. I strive for the kind of credibility and integrity that he brought to his work as a journalist. This past week has really reinforced that for me.

Despite evidence to the contrary, there were some bright spots of journalism when it came to the issues surrounding State Senator Betsy Johnson. The Scappoose Spotlight's news piece(PDF) is very good. They also have an editorial, laying out the facts and reminding the public to be wary of rash judgements based on reports from other outlets.

Local journalists (including myself) can take a lesson from this kind of thorough work at a local paper--where the reporters know the players involved and have written about the region for a long time.

And now, let's Span the State!


The Albany Democrat Herald pleads for cooler heads to prevail on the immigration debate.

The US Forest Service is attempting a new strategy with wildfires. They're launching a preemptive strike against wildfires in Central Oregon. The plan is to selectively thin trees in a large area to influence the fire's behavior. The plan has drawn the support of the Nature Conservancy.

In Canby, some of the locals appear to be under the impression that regional elected officials are doing the jobs in order to line their pockets and suck up power to buffet themselves in the community. The Canby Herald splashes some cold water on their theory.

Despite a $7 million injection of cash from county timber payments, commissioners in Coos County have no intention of restoring jobs and services after recent cuts.

Things in Lane County aren't looking so good either.

Once again, the paper of record in Madras publishes a horribly one-sided piece, this time on SB 30, which would ban destination resorts at the Metolius River Basin. The reporter only bothers to quote Roger Dallum (R-The Dalles) and Rick Allen--former Madras mayor and current lobbyist for Ponderosa Land and Cattle--one of the groups who wants to build a resort. This isn't journalism--its a Republican rag sheet.

Consumers who purchased ground beef at the Albertson's in McMinnville may want to check the sell-by dates on the packages. It seems that E-Coli tainted beef was sold from the store this Spring with sell dates ranging from April 20 to May 7. Ground beef stored in the freezer after being purchased at the Mac Albertson's should be checked and discarded if it includes that date range.

Crook County Sheriff Rodd Clark is facing charges of undue influence and first-degree official misconduct. Clark is accused of trying to use undue influence to keep a person from running for office by claiming that he would fire anyone who ran against him in the May 2006 election.