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.