Posts Tagged ‘Press Republican’

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King’s Plattsburgh Legacy

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_ 3HToday is Martin Luther King Day, and if you lived through the 1960s, you’ll never forget that turbulent decade. Even turbulent is putting it mildly: weekly classroom drills for nuclear attacks (Get under my desk? What the heck is this thing made of?); riots over race, poverty, the draft, and the Vietnam War; the assassinations of JFK, King, and Bobby Kennedy; and so much more.

Martin Luther King was a leading figure of those times, beloved and hated nationally and internationally. Love him or hate him, he was remarkable. Against the worst of odds, he effected change through peaceful protest. The impact was clear, even here in the North Country.

A series of events during the 1960s proved that peaceful protest and the purity of King’s motives were strong enough to convert critics and naysayers. Plattsburgh offers an example of King’s effect over the course of a decade. » Continue Reading.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Commentary: Disgraceful Reporting on Invaded Privacy

Thousands of untraceable searches, some of them into the personal information of family members and people with whom they had personal relationships, were made by employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Plattsburgh. The NYS Inspector General’s Office a few days ago released the full report on the violations occurring at that office, and an article in last Friday’s Press-Republican (Plattsburgh) has left me livid.

I both enjoy and work hard at researching stories. Like most writers, I hate making mistakes, but when I make them, they are honest mistakes. I don’t attempt to distort or embellish―my preference is for interesting or unusual stories that stand on their own merit. It’s embarrassing and downright mortifying to publish an error, but it happens to most of us at some point. But we don’t blame anyone for honest mistakes. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Commentary: The Cast of ‘Opposing Smart Development’

Despite undeniable proof that the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) almost never denies a permit, the usual anti-APA folks are currently rallying once again for another push against the regional planning and zoning board that has kept the Adirondacks from looking like a suburb of the Northeast megalopolis for more than 30 years. It’s time for those who support reasonable and responsible development in the Adirondack Park to step forward and let their voice be heard.

In case you went to the lobby during intermission, here’s a review of the cast of leading characters:

Maynard Baker: Despite his failed leadership that left Warrensburg perhaps the most poorly developed village in the Park – a virtual wreck of its former self – Maynard Baker persists in his angry denunciations of anything even approaching planning, zoning and smart development. Baker is the scariest of the cast, having once started a fistfight during the Battle of Crane Pond. His latest approach has been lawsuits, and threats of lawsuits. Most recently he is attempting to argue in court that veterans cannot access the Park. On Monday, Baker called the APA “terrorists” securing for all time that this guy is a dangerous demagogue.

Will Doolittle: Despite serious questions about his motives with regards to his reporting about the APA (detailed here, here, and here), Will Doolittle has started another campaign in the pages of the Glens Falls Post Star. That’s the same Post Star that called for the abolition of the APA in an editorial during Doolittle’s last round of APA attacks. You’d think that when your motives are questioned so seriously regarding your reporting of a particular subject, you’d leave those stories to someone else. Not Doolittle, apparently he and his bosses think it’s entirely appropriate to continue to put an anti-APA reporter on the job to cover the APA.

Kim Smith Dedam: One of only two women in the cast (Carol LaGrasse and her one-woman Property Rights Foundation of America is the other), Kim Smith Dedam is the Plattsburgh Press Republican‘s answer to accurate and judicious reporting of the APA and smart development in the Adirondacks. Her outright false claims, apparently designed to foster her agenda, are awful legend. Kim Smith Dedam can always be counted on to tell the story of development in the Adirondacks to the benefit of her handlers. Check out two stories that read like press releases: “Tupper Lake project projected to create 584 jobs” and “Veterans sue for seaplane access to Adirondack lakes.” Floatplane ban supporters? Kim Smith Dedam doesn’t think they’re necessary in a story about the ban on floatplanes, but that’s just one in what seems an unending litany of slanted stories about development issues in the Adirondacks.

Fred Monroe: When it comes to one-man bands, Fred Monroe plays the loudest. Overseeing the demise and awful strip development of Chestertown as the Supervisor of the Town Chester is not enough for Monroe, so he also collects a paycheck as the Chair of the economically challenged Warren County Board of Supervisors and a paycheck from bankrupt New York State as the voice of the anti-APA Local Government Review Board. That’s right, Monroe is paid by the Town, County, and State government – after a raise he gave himself last year, that’s more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded salary. It’s no wonder that while he’s content to serve as a mouth-piece around the state for anti-APA activities and as the go-to guy for his media buddies, he came out last year to say that no, he doesn’t want the APA dissolved. And why would he? He’d be out of a job heading a one man (and one wife) tax supported board whose main focus has been to fight another tax funded board. That is the goose that laid the $100,000 egg.

Supporting Characters: The main characters are only part of an ensemble that includes such classic character actors as Don “Invasive Species Are A Bunch Of Bull” Lehman, the editors of Denton “You Can Count On Us” Publications, Betty “Blacklist” Little, Teresa “It’s US Versus Them” Sayward, and newly added to the cast, Doug “When I Get To Congress, I’ll Fight The APA” Hoffman.



Friday, March 5, 2010

Commentary: Some Local Media Perpetuate Lies

Yesterday morning the Plattsburgh Press Republican issued a “Breaking News” e-mail. It contained one story, “Hornbeck Nomination Denied: Senate Finance Committee cites conflicts,” by Kim Smith Dedam, a notorious anti-APA, anti-Forest Preserve “reporter.”

“Gov. David Paterson’s nomination of Peter Hornbeck to the Adirondack Park Agency Board was denied today by the Senate Finance Committee,” the first line read. The problem? It’s not true.

The Senate Finance Committee has yet to vote, and isn’t expected to vote for some time. The story was concocted by State Senator Betty Little for her own political gain and duly reported as fact, without an ounce of actual journalism, fact checking, or confirmation. The only source Smith Dedam cited in the story was Betty Little’s spokesman Dan Mac Entee. The only evidence cited was Mac Entee’s word that “Senator Little was told late yesterday afternoon that there were — at best — 14 votes in support of the nomination.” To their credit, the Times Union’s Brian Nearing debunked Dedam this morning in a follow-up on the false report.

Unfortunately the damage is already done, as WNBZ’s Jon Alexander (who cut his teeth at the anti-environmentalist, anti-APA, Denton Publications) is also now parroting the one-sided report and saying, without a shred of journalistic evidence, that Hornbeck’s nomination is “on life support.”

Neither stories mention that Pete Hornbeck’s own locally elected representatives in Minerva voted to whole-heartedly support his nomination.

The question local reporters ought to be asking is whether our local Senator is holding up the legislature’s business, as she did when she supported last year’s Republican coup that brought the state legislature to a halt.

More importantly, Kim Smith Dedam and her editors need to explain to us how this “story” – “Hornbeck Nomination Denied” – happened, and apologize, or they should resign.

Local media no longer has a place for corrupt journalism.

BTW: You can reach Kim Smith Dedam at kdedam@pressrepublican.com

UPDATE: In case you needed to know how the story plays at Denton, they’re right into the act with “Hornbeck Appointment Turned Down“. One source: Betty Little.



Thursday, March 15, 2007

Two Years Old – An Adirondack Blog History

This week marks our second anniversary here at the Adirondack Almanack. Big thanks to all our regular readers and a big hello to the new readers arriving every week. If you like what you read here, why not support the Almanack by making your next Amazon purchase through us and/or letting your friends know about us? If you own a local business contact us about advertising here.

Before we get started on blogging in the Adirondacks, Rebecca Blood has put together a nice history of blogging – which has been said to have begun in December 1997 when Jorn Barger first used the term Weblog.

State of the Blogosphere

David Sifry (founder and CEO of Technorati) periodically updates the state of the blogosphere. Here are some of his most interesting blog facts from one year ago:

[Technorati] currently tracks over 75,000 new weblogs created every day, which means that on average, a new weblog is created every second of every day – and 13.7 million bloggers are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created. In other words, even though there’s a reasonable amount of tire-kicking going on, blogging is growing as a habitual activity. In October of 2005, when Technorati was only tracking 19 million blogs, about 10.4 million bloggers were still posting 3 months after the creation of their blogs. In addition to that, about 2.7 million bloggers update their blogs at least weekly.

When Adirondack Almanack first went online in 2005 Technorati was tracking over 7.8 million weblogs. They apparently stopped tracking the number of blogs after last summer’s debate over the accuracy of Sifry’s assertion that there were 55 Million weblogs and growing. Still, the number is huge and growing all the time.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project estimated in July 2006 that the “US blog population has grown to about 12 million American adults,” about 8% of adult American internet users. “The number of US blog readers was estimated as 57 million adults (39% of the US online population), although few of those people read widely or read often.” [link]

Adirondack Blogs

A look at the sidebar of Adirondack Almanack reveals that there are now 20 blogs written in the Adirondacks, nearly all created in the last year or so. When Adirondack Almanack went online there was (we believe) just one, Brain Clouds, by North Country Public Radio’s poet-web-guy Dale Hobson (apparently founded in April 2002). Coincidentally, the Adirondack’s second two blogs, Adirondack Musing and Adirondack Almanack, were founded on the same day (March 10, 2005).

Mainstream media has been slow to catch on and local, old-style, media have reported only once on local blogs. The Glens Falls Post Star’s Conrad Marshall wrote a piece in May of 2005. Back in January, Stephen Barlett wrote a piece on blogging for the Plattsburgh Press Republican that regurgitated the typical threat-to-young-people scare tactics and failed to mention a single local blog including the paper’s own “folksy” blog On The Sly, written by Foxy Gagnon (hardly a danger to youth). Oddly, just a month later, the Press Republican announced what it’s calling a “newsroom blog” aptly titled On The Beaten Path and featuring a post by Bartlett. The blog is aptly titled because it travels the same well-worn road as the rest of the paper and so far goes almost nowhere exceptional.

As far as new media trends are concerned, the Glens Falls Post Star has finally smartened up and abandoned the online subscription model, and now provides free access to the Post Star’s web readers (which we suggested a couple years ago). They tried a Don Coyote blog which was abandoned fairly quickly. Then came Maury Thompson’s All Politics is Local blog, er column, which so far has had little new or unusual to add to the local political reporting. No local mainstream media outlet has managed to have a truly successful blog, even on the most basic level of Adirondack Almanack or Adirondack Musing, let alone the success of the Times Union’s Capital Confidential, which actually provides additional context to stories (by occasionally covering third parties for instance), local connections to national stories, and occasionally a breaking story or inside scoop.

What’s Good Locally

Many of our regular readers come to us by way of our RSS feed, having signed up after we mentioned we set up the feed and mentioned our own experience with feed readers (particularly Bloglines) last summer. A large number of regular readers of the Almanack also come by way of our e-mail subscription. All the local papers with web content have good RSS feeds, except the Adirondack Daily Enterprise which is on its way to missing the boat entirely.

Not surprisingly, North Country Public Radio is the one local media outlet that has an established web presence of real merit. While we salute their acceptance of the blog community, (especially their inclusion of Adirondack Almanack as a “featured blog”), their own blog – iNCPR: Staff Blog of North Country Public Radio – hasn’t had a post since late January. Despite a tag line that says “A peek behind the curtain at member-supported North Country Public Radio” there have only been eight posts, all but one in November of last year. They can be forgiven to some extent, because NCPR already has a great site with lots of local “behind the scenes” content and their small staff and small budget no doubt make it difficult to keep up with the blog. Their RSS feeds are well done and inclusive of the majority of their stories – something way ahead of the Adirondack’s other NPR station, WAMC, which is wallowing in fairly lame local content and proprietary feeds that make following their news on a standard feed reader impossible. So compared to the better funded WAMC, NCPR is a web giant who deserves the accolades we more often heap on it.

As long as we’re talking NCPR, here are a couple of questions / suggestions:

Where is the RSS feed for 8 O’Clock Hour?

How about including every story and feature program in the RSS feed seperately? We’re thinking about All Before Five in particular?

How about getting an intern to update the iNCPR blog?

How about doing a story on Adirondack blogging?

Now that you know how we feel, drop us a note (e-mail address at right) and let us know how we can improve the Almanack.

UPDATE 3/23/07
We received the following note from a reader. We’re reprinting it here because we think it accurately reflects the attitude at least some at the Post Star have had about new media – an attitude we hope they’ve changed.

I was either living in the area or had just relocated from North Creek to Buffalo when the P-S went to a pay site. I wrote to complain and received a bitchy letter back from an editor (can’t remember who, sadly) about how within two years every newspaper would be a pay site and I was basically lucky they’d been free this long. Right about now, I’m trying not to gloat.



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