The Union should improve its journalism, not just ring bells for the Salvation Army


True Union Believer
True Trump Believer

The Union’s paid weekly columnist George Boardman has become a fierce protector of The Union’s newsgathering practices.

Think of him as the opposite of a newspaper ombudsman and more like a “flack.”

For Boardman, this is par for the course. Despite his desire to be a credible journalist, George has spent more of his career as a p.r. person than a newspaperman. And it shows.

I figure this “brown nosing” is an effort to hang onto his weekly column, which is not that popular, but an ego booster for him.

In the latest example, Boardman is defending The Union’s claims on the front page that “dozens of locals say they’ve been ‘roofied’ at Nevada County bars.”

This conclusion — affecting a wide swath of local businesses — is based on nothing more than hearsay from anonymous people. The Union hasn’t turned up a single toxicology report, videotape, or other hard facts to support this.

It is a reckless approach to newsgathering. But like a bulldog gnawing on a toy squeaker, George won’t let it go.

Instead of “coaching” along the newspaper like a skilled veteran journalist, he touts The Union’s bellringing prowess for the Salvation Army. OK then.

The Union’s George Boardman’s “modest proposal”

An excerpt from George Boardman’s column this week:

“If we’re going to permit just about anybody to buy assault rifles and 30-round magazines, we can expect more mass shooting. And as Sutherland Spring and Rancho Tehama show, any place can be turned into a killing field. Even Grass Valley and Nevada City.

“Which leads me to this modest proposal: As a public service, everybody in the western county with a concealed weapon permit should post his or her social schedule where everybody can read it: What restaurant they’re planning to patronize, what movie they’re going to see, or perhaps a family outing to Western Gateway Park or a concert at Music in the Mountains.

“That way, the rest of us will know what venues will be populated by good men with guns. You know, just in case …

There, don’t you feel safer already?”

Readers skewer Todd Juvinall’s latest column: “Pure idiocy”

We’ve been hanging out in Livermore this weekend where our son has a  volleyball tournament against teams from the Bay Area and Central Valley. We like to expose him to the “outside world” whenever possible.

The Op-Ed page of The Union is a “living, breathing” example why it’s important to expose western Nevada County youth to the  outside world. It often is filled with myopic, provincial, insular, hermit-like voices — and lo and behold, one from Todd “You can’t make this stuff up” Juvinall graced the pages this weekend. When you read The Union’s Op-Ed page from out of town, our little community seems even further away — like Brigadoon for wing nuts.

“I would like to see unicorns and sweet blueberries too, but let’s get real,” provincial Todd writes, framing politics as a simplistic “winner take all” blood sport, sort of like cage fighting. That’s all he knows.

And as predicted, here’s the reader response:

• “Perhaps it is best that your 1992 Assembly bid was unsuccessful. If your view of our laws is that they are designed to ‘hobble Americans,’ then you have no business in our Assembly.” (Todd, believe it or not, was once a county supervisor. His political views are a little to the right of Atilla the Hun. Predictably, he was a one-term supervisor, even back in the heyday of local wing nut politics).

• “Mr. Juvinall’s world view seems to be driven by a ‘winner takes all’ mentality. As humans, driven at our basic level toward survival, we all have an innate need to conquer. But as humans, we also have an innate need to cooperate.”

• “Our founding fathers, despite their passionate differences, found a path that led them to compromise. Today’s winner take all attitude is the result of the extreme wings of political parties having too much power.”

• “Your comment indicates an intolerance for any view that contradicts your own. That is the crux of the problem, partner. By the way, I am not an ilk of any kind. I’m an individual speaking my mind the same as you, Todd. Or, do you see yourself as simply an ilk with opinions that are of no consequence?”

• “His letter is wrought with misinformation and pure idiocy. His comments on abortion are a good example of one individual trying to generalize a belief.”

• “Todd what I read is your rants and lies and your inability to ascertain the difference between what is good for our nation and what is only good for the GOP. True to form you insult when you have no argument. My reading comprehension is fine, but what about your ability to spell and use proper grammar?”

• “Todd you are the epitome of embarrassment.”

As Todd puts it, “You can’t make this stuff up”!

The Union columnist Boardman: Cited more for p.r. than journalism

This is a hoot! From an article in The Union back in 2004. George’s p.r. experience is cited more than his journalism experience:

“George Boardman, a veteran journalist and public-relations professional, has been named business reporter for The Union.

“In 2001 and 2002, Boardman served as assistant city editor for The Union. He previously served as a copy editor for the Independent Newspaper Group in the San Francisco Peninsula.

“His extensive resume also includes stints as business editor and city editor for the San Mateo Times in the early 1970s. He worked in public relations for a variety of businesses in the 1980s and worked as a public-relations writer and consultant through much of the 1990s.

“In recent months, he has contributed several free-lance articles for The Union.

“A San Francisco native, Boardman is married to Mimi Boardman, a co-owner of the Stonehouse Restaurant in Nevada City.”

Will The Union’s George Boardman match my $100 donation to Bear River High journalism?

As regular readers here know, George Boardman sold stock when Donald Trump was elected president. He wrote: “After learning Sunday that the Trump mask is the most popular political mask this Halloween, I sold the rest of our stocks this morning. We decided around Labor Day that if Clinton wasn’t a clear winner two weeks before election day, we would sell our stocks so that we are in cash election day. I hope I’m not in a position to say I told you so when the markets close Nov. 11.”

Ouch! As Jim Cramer of notes: ” the S&P 500 index is up 21 percent since Trump’s election.” (Though he correctly notes, “None of these moves are about Trump.”)

So much for George’s financial acumen!

Still, I was glad to see him make a plug for Bear River High’s effort to take students to the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco next April.

I donated $100 to this cause, wrote about it on my blog, and — when contacted — suggested to the journalism teacher that she contact Publisher Don Rogers or Editor Brian Hamilton to write about it in their columns.

So lo and behold, it appeared in Boardman’s column. Whatever. So here’s my challenge  to George Boardman: Match or exceed my $100 donation! I’ll match whatever you contribute over $100 up to $3,500. (The goal of the campaign is $8,820 and $1,050 has been raised so far).

This should be a “no brainer” for George, because he lives in Bear River High “territory,” that is Lake of the Pines. He should want to donate money to help make his local high school sustainable.

Come on, George, we’re counting on you!


George Boardman “getting serious about his responsibility to the public”?

I laugh out loud when I read George Boardman’s column in The Union. This blog has repeatedly pointed to his errors, corrections, misjudgments and on and on — as have The Union readers and others.

His column ought to be renamed “Mr. Incompetence.”

So it makes me laugh when he stands on his podunk little soapbox to wag his finger at Facebook, Google and Twitter, as he did in his column this week.

George once crowed about selling his stocks before Trump was elected. (Since then the stock market —including “FANG,” short for Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google —has roared higher). You have to wonder if he’s a little bitter — or if this curmudgeon ever owned them.

Then Boardman wraps up his column throwing mudballs at the local GOP, who took him to task for being a simpleton. Boardman did the same with SYRCL. But he doesn’t address the meat of their concerns: That his comments were “incomplete and inflammatory” — a common criticism of Boardman’s columns.