Monday, June 19, 2006

Adirondack Media: The Glens Falls Post Star takes on WAMC – and loses

In a strangely foolish move two weeks ago (designed to make local Public Radio Station WAMC look bad?) the Warren County daily reported the following:

Warren County supervisors agreed Wednesday to spend $9,800 in occupancy tax funds for a year’s worth of advertising on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. The money buys 52 weeks of “embedded” advertising during WAMC’s morning program, The Round Table. In addition to small announcements, discussion of the county and region is integrated into the commentary on the Round Table show, explained county Budget Officer Nicholas Caimano.

The Albany Eye (a one-man band blog, not a serious newspaper like the PS is supposed to be) was quick to point out that what the Post Star was saying was that Warren County was buying the right to content on WAMC’s regular morning show.

It sounds like this means that the county will get to place guests on the show where they’ll promote events and other Warren County tourism initiatives.

Well, that’s what it sounded like to us as well, and probably anyone else who bothered to pick up one of the Adirondack‘s worst run papers. But then, it turns out – surprise, surprise – that the Post Star got it all wrong because they didn’t bother to ask the folks at WAMC.

Worse yet, on Tuesday the paper’s Christine Margiotta passed the fault back to Caimano:

Warren County Budget Officer Nicholas Caimano drew sharp criticism Monday from WAMC/Northeast Public Radio over his description last week of an underwriting deal between the county and the radio station.

WAMC staff members said Caimano was out of line last week when he said Warren County‘s status as a station underwriter would buy “embedded” advertising and commentary on WAMC’s “The Round Table” morning show.

Susan Arbetter, co-host of The Round Table show, explained Monday that underwriters have no influence over the show’s content.

“WAMC and the Round Table never do quid pro quo,” she said. “We certainly sell underwriting but there is a firewall between the underwriting department and editorial at WAMC. It’s as sacred at WAMC as it is at any newspaper.”

Fine, but here’s the rub:

Caimano said Monday his lack of understanding led him to inaccurately characterize WAMC’s underwriting process to the county Board of Supervisors.

Ah… sure… but it was a lack of real journalism on the part of the Post Star that reported his false claim as fact and led them “to inaccurately characterize WAMC’s underwriting process to the county.”

True to form, the Glens Falls daily deceives and obfuscates, rather than simply admit its shortcomings when it’s wrong – nothing new there.

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John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.

John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.

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