New layout at our local newspaper’s website?

I wonder how long it will take to fix this time.

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Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

14 thoughts on “New layout at our local newspaper’s website?”

  1. The Union editorial board is patting itself on the back this morning, and then it runs this commentary, essentially another one of those “tit for tat” replies: http://www.theunion.com/opinion/15010719-113/manny-montes-todays-regulatory-environment-chokes-economic-growth
    The Union ought to grow up, gain some intellectual sophistication, and read the Op-Ed pages in the Bee, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and, yes, Moonshine Ink to see how to run an effective commentary page without it becoming a place where a handful of the same people lob petards back and forth at one another as if it was a homeowners’ association newsletter. Po-dunk.

  2. Forget stimulating. It’s not intellectual. I remember not too long ago, Jeff, that you responded to a post that felt you were being over critical of The Union. You said something along the lines that you are offended by the lack of professionalism for the field of Journalism.

    As a science educator, I am committed to promoting scientific methodology and logic. It goes beyond scientific topics and vocabulary. I realize that few of my students will be professional scientists. But, thinking scientifically is part of the learned person. For example, if you’re buying a car, you’re going to gather information, analyze that information and make a decision. That is science. Logic, logical discourse and logical fallacies are part of that.

    Now more than ever, it is critical, in this information age that people are trained in these areas. They need to sort out the massive amount of information flooding them between what is real and what is not. It is a constant battle by many interests.

    My criticism of The Union is entirely the Op page. Either the people in charge are completely ignorant of the study of logic/logical fallacies, scientific philosophy or they don’t care (I just committed the ‘either-or’ fallacy. Let me know if anyone thinks there are other motives.)

    The Editor and Publisher have written that they are addressing this issue. They say that and then continue to print the same ol’ stuff. The kids are watching.

    As an educator, I find The Unions editorial page offensive.

    1. There are different frames associated with being offended. Galileo offended the science establishment, for example, but he was right and they were blind and full of themselves. A related type of “offense” is when one thinks he knows more than someone else and is offended by their ignorance and presents himself as the know it all who has the authority to condemn their failings. The good scientist will have none of any of this because his mind is focused on understanding and solving problems, whether they have to do with the frontiers of scientific inquiry or are close to home like problems with how our newspaper runs the editorial page. This a isn’t simple problem to solve, and folks are working on it, and maybe they could use some help.

      How could you, Chris, make a constructive contribution to how The Union’s editorial page functions? The first responsibility of a science teacher is to model to his students how to be curious about problems and use his skills to investigate them in order to build an understanding that gives potential to effectively address them and make the world a better place.

      1. Greg,
        You are drawing parallels to this “offense” and Galileo offending the science establishment? Really? You bet they could use some help! Judging from some private emails I have received from Jim Hemig, he seems awfully proud about having it all under control. Not.

      2. Well, Greg you sure make speeches. Yes, as a science teacher it is my job to model curiosity and problem solving. However, in this case, it’s not about science rather logic, logical thinking, constructing a position, an argument and delivering to the public an intellectually honest product. I’m afraid the burden is not on me.

      3. Let me rephrase. It’s less about science (in terms of fostering curiosity and problem solving) than it is logic.

      4. If we aren’t training our young to take responsibility in ways where their skills can make a difference then we have utterly failed to provide an education that has value.

        The parallel isn’t with Galileo, it is with people looking down on another he perceives to have a problem instead of taking responsibility to solve it.

      5. Greg,
        Nobody denies that newspapers are important. I subscribe to two: The Bee and The New York Times. The issue is whether The Union needs to raise the bar. Newspapers come and go: Moonshine Ink is a good example of a startup newspaper in Swift’s territory that is here to stay.

    2. Greg,
      Thanks but we’re not talking about Confucius or some other philosopher. We’re talking about a private business (based out of town) that has resorted to cost cutting (eliminating the pressroom and local jobs is the latest example) because it apparently just can’t grow its revenue enough to keep up. As Chris points out: ” I’m afraid the burden is not on me.” Indeed. It is on The Union, not the community.

  3. Like many community newspapers, The Union is a victim of what’s left of its business demographics — very conservative, aging and declining — in California, no less. They have spent years catering to this ideology as a “defensive” strategy to stay afloat in the “new media world,” without being offensive enough. That’s why they are cutting costs — eliminating the printshop and the local jobs that go with it is the latest example — because the revenue just isn’t growing fast enough. They missed out on the influx of more politically moderate, younger people who are reflected in our voter registration data — and their ideas. They missed out on social media. In fact, they are marching in the opposite direction: putting their content behind a paywall.

    There is progress though, with some younger people. Each day, we cut an article out of the Bee or New York Times and put it in our son’s lunchbox — usually once about science, technology, animals or social studies. At first, my son’s classmates said “Oh you’re old” when the newspaper article dropped out of his lunch pail and they saw it. But now more of them are interested in it. Our son has enjoyed the comics in the newspapers for years, which is a good introduction to political coverage, I figure.

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