The Union should have reached the owners of The Owl Grill & Saloon before reporting its closure

The Union likes to criticize Facebook and social media for reports that “fail to put any of the ‘facts’ in proper context,” as its weekly columnist George Boardman wrote recently. “Unfortunately, too many people get their news from just Facebook.”

But The Union’s reporting on the closure of The Owl Grill & Saloon in Grass Valley matched what appeared on Facebook without advancing the story much, if at all. It quoted an upset worker who had posted photos of trash scattered throughout the building on Facebook and then re-ran the photos in the newspaper, and it quoted comments purportedly from the owner’s daughter that appeared on Facebook without even interviewing her.

It also failed to get comments from the restaurant’s owner or the building’s owner — a huge hole in the reporting that could have provided needed context.

The report also failed to point out The Owl owner’s generosity in supporting downtown activities and fundraisers for years, often with donated food. In this regard, he was a “giver,” and it was well known among downtown merchants and patrons. The Owl regularly advertised in The Union.

The Union ought to practice what it preaches about its “journalism.” In this case, it got its news from Facebook and didn’t provided needed context and details. Podunk.

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 Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

7 thoughts on “The Union should have reached the owners of The Owl Grill & Saloon before reporting its closure”

  1. I was sad to learn of the Owl’s closing. The owner is a very nice man and I enjoyed meeting him. I wish him all the best.

  2. It is disappointing when the Union stoops to go after salacious headlines, and in this case without an actual story.
    The owner of the Owl deserves an apology from the editor for this abuse.
    Classic yellow journalism.

    1. Yup. So much for “community journalism.” It shows a lack of experience in reporting and editing — an ongoing problem at The Union as it struggles with turnover and mounting competition from social media. Podunk.

    2. I believe facebook is where they got the story from. Someone joked about the Union doing detailed story in a couple of days.

  3. My heart is breaking for them and your right they have done so much for our community. What needs to be heard is the Grahams side of things.

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