The Union’s “roofied” article is podunk journalism

There’s an old journalism expression “if it bleeds, it leads,” referring to sensational journalism. On Tuesday, The Union is touting an article, “Patron reports being ‘roofied’ (her drink surreptitiously drugged) at Nevada City bar.”

But there is not enough proof to justify such prominent placement of this report.  It is a one-source article from “A.Y.,” (“who asked that her name not be used”), who said she “suspected” this. It stemmed from her mom’s comments on Facebook. It’s an ongoing investigation, the police said. The article did not mention important details, such as whether there was a blood test to confirm the presence of this kind of drug. In lawyerly terms it is “hearsay.”

To be sure, this is a serious issue and there is no reason to doubt what “A.Y.” said she experienced. But there needs to be more reporting to show how it might have happened — and where. That part is open to widespread speculation.

The Union claims it is “above” the “news gathering” on Facebook. But it is not. It should have waited for more information before it published this article. There was no rush to publish this claim. 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 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.

9 thoughts on “The Union’s “roofied” article is podunk journalism”

  1. Interesting that the only local paper refuses to source their stories. One sided accounts, a type of “phone it in” reporting that in the end isn’t reporting at all. Recently I wrote a LTE about the story in the Union where it was a supposed eye witness account of Trumps wife giving her shoes to an individual who had gone through the hurricane. The problem was it was a dream that the writer had while under anesthesia. It never happened.
    So— one sided accounts, never happened stories that are printed as the truth, and oh yeah— they never printed my letter to the editor. Even after Cory at the Union wrote and asked me if it was really me who wrote them in the first place. You can’t make this stuff up-

  2. Judging from his post on Todd’s blog, Barry Pruett could use some anger management training. He called me an “a**hole” for suggesting that The Union could use some more rigorous reporting on this story rather than simply relying on an unnamed sources’ account before an investigation has run its course. It’s too early to speculate. Hard to believe he’s in the legal profession. Yikes!

    1. Then Pruett goes on to say how it’s a “cautionary tale” on the “dangers of being a female and being in a bar.” In that case, The Union should have written a feature story on the trend, rather than a hard-news story fingering a local business with no toxicology report, no video, and in the middle of an investigation. It’s sort of amazing the kind of people you run into around here who consider themselves “professionals.” Podunk.

      1. This is the threshold for “journalism” for the likes Barry and Todd — unless of course it was about them. A comment on Todd’s blog: “While it may or may not have happened at Golden Era the article states that they have been awesome and we would expect nothing other from a great business in town.” No, that’s not journalism; that’s fake news. Nail down the facts before you publish a front-page article like this. If you want to write a feature about the dangers of “date drugs,” go ahead; but don’t masquerade it under the heading of a hard-news story unless you collect more of the facts. And why the reporter did not ask about a “tox screen” (toxicology test) and include that in the article (or why the editor didn’t ask the reporter to address that) is beyond comprehension. Instead it is being brought up in Facebook threads as another “hole” in this article.

        BTW, the owner does not think this was “awesome.” Perhaps The Union publisher ought to follow up with him.

      2. Sadly I believe this kind of stuff happens in a bar. I suggest keeping an eye out for this kind of behavior and letting the abuser know that a woman will not put up with it. Women have every right to be in those establishments as men.

  3. In a country where groping and sexual assault seem to be a national pastime among rich and powerful men, females, in particular, need to be wary. Among the less affluent, date rape drugs substitute for the lack of power and money. If you can’t buy them off after the fact then drug them and they won’t remember. After all, if the President can get away with it then why should anyone care? And that is the problem. People seem to lose their moral compasses when it comes to politics. Apparently either this kind of behavior becomes acceptable or people suspend reality and reject the truth based on the ideology of the perpetrator. This attitude rings true regardless of the issue at hand whether it be assault on women or assault on the planet.

  4. No surprise George Boardman would support this “journalism.” The highest hill he climbed was the San Mateo Times. A little “brown nosing” should keep him onboard as The Union’s weekly columnist — regardless of what the readers think. lol.

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