Thursday, June 30, 2005

Major Disappointment

From the NY Times website today:

Time magazine said today that it would provide documents concerning the confidential sources of one of its reporters to a grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a covert C.I.A. agent, Valerie Plame.

Text: Time Inc. Statement on Handing Over Documents (June 30, 2005)

In a statement, Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.'s editor in chief, said: "The same Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings and judgments. That Time Inc. strongly disagrees with the courts provides no immunity. The innumerable Supreme Court decisions in which even presidents have followed orders with which they strongly disagreed evidences that our nation lives by the rule of law and that none of us is above it."
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down appeals from the magazine, one of its reporters, Matthew Cooper, and a reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller.


Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times, said in a statement: "We are deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision to deliver the subpoenaed records. We faced similar pressures in 1978 when both our reporter Myron Farber and The Times Company were held in contempt of court for refusing to provide the names of confidential sources. Mr. Farber served 40 days in jail and we were forced to pay significant fines.
"Our focus is now on our own reporter, Judith Miller, and in supporting her during this difficult time."


I don't like the implication of this.

Photographers

If you haven't read the story or seen the video, Texas Ranger pitcher Kenny Rogers went off on two video photographers last night. His actions were shameful and he rightfully faces possible prosecution for assault.

Photographers are often unsung in what they do and I wanted to take time to mete out some praise.

In TV newsrooms, now, they seem to be the sole beacons of real journalistic restraint. They dutifully cover all the crime and crap they've been assigned, but they know better than most what a story really is. They are aching for assignments that tell real stories with real people that will make an impact on the viewer.

At newspapers, photographer toil, often alone, to bring real life to the stories in the papers. They help, with one singular moment, capture the essenence and the pathos of the story. It is a shame, even in the internet world (and because of the awful Oregon Live) that we don't get to see more of the work of photographers - from the O to the Trib to all the local papers in our region.

Today I thought of that looking at Olivia Bucks' picture in the Oregonian of the neighbor looking at what happened to her home when fire visited next door - a lovely picture of an awful moment.

To the men and women on the street who always have our backs - salute.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Following Up

A request:

"Why not a post asking people comment on the biases they perceive from Portland media types? I've got a couple in mind, and I wonder if others have noticed the same. "

Okay. What do you "percieve"?

Lots of people love to slam the Oregonian for its liberal bias, but everyone knows Fred Stickel is one of the most conservative bosses in town.

The Willamette Week, the Trib? Does covering oodles of crime make KPTV liberal or conservative? Do you think Steve Duin leans to the left or the right?

We've always known that if you do a piece someone's ox will be gored.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Congratulations

To a truly nice man, Don Hamilton of the Tribune, and his wife Kristen. Parents of twins who snuck in just under the moon of Gemini.

We look forward to your first night of restful sleep - in 15 years!

Congrats from the Insider and from your friends who let me in on your great news.

One last thing...

Before I head off.

John Canzano on the radio? How many shows do I have to listen to him dis the Blazers who won't do things his way? zzzz

I can do that and cost KFXX very little.

Dumb move for a station that keeps changing formats on an audience that likes a little consistency.

Now if you could help the Mariners win a few games...

KOIN's 2nd Union Vote

A week from tomorrow, KOIN's reporters and anchors vote to unionize (or not). It follows a vote last month when photographers, editors and technicians at KOIN said yes to NABET.

There has been a lot of pressure (in back rooms and bathrooms we're told) by the top anchors (J&K) to get folks to say no. We think the vote will be close.

The bottom line is money (and taking it out of some pretty large paychecks).

KOIN remains up for sale, which means these union votes could mean very little. A new owner will say what they want. In KOIN's case, there's worry that the current owner's 2nd in command will buy the joint (and other stations in the group) and re-work who works there and how they work there (no benefits, on short term contracts, etc.)

Meanwhile, KOIN is the news operation with no weather star, a sportcaster who is fading into oblivion and ratings shallower than the sand under the Willamette.

We are hearing that Mike Donahue may be, rightfully, moving back to the anchor desk. That might stem the free-fall.

Stay tuned.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Liberal Bias

I was having dinner with someone tonight who talked about the way reporting used to be - when a controversial issue was before us, we'd talk to a right-leaning person, but then report the rest. It looked like the reporter was filling in the other side.

Now, we have pundits and experts from each side that blur the lines, so that no one can claim expertise.

For example: The school funding issue. Minnis offers a plan. That's the right. The Lars crowd skewers it because it doesn't fit their agenda that schools get too much now anyway. But they never mention Minnis because she is much loved.

The Dems (the left) skewer the plan because they don't want an R to get credit for a school plan that helps Portland (their turf), and rightly claim it's not enough. The unions bark because it hurts the rank and file.

In the end, no one wins and Portland schools are back to ground zero - nothing. Especially since the outgoing board says no to an extension of the I-tax.

My point here is no reporting is moving the issue to a good conclusion, no commentary is helping find a middle ground (who reads the op-ed page anyway), and TV and Radio won't cover it until there is a "final vote".

Good reporting with context and mention of alternatives used to move readers, viewers and listeners to action. Now, it just lulls them to sleep.

Are we another responsible party in the school funding debacle?

gmail - Finally

I've finally worked out my personal kinks with gmail so I'm sending an open invitation to one and all to send email to the following address:

pdxmediawatch@gmail.com

You can send me comments, suggestions, tips, etc. If you want to remain anonymous, I suggest creating a hotmail account with an untracable handle.

I make this promise to those who want me to be the conduit for inside stuff, rumours, etc., I will NEVER EVER reveal the source of my information, even if it means trashing my hard drive.

The beauty here is that people have felt comfortable posting anonymously and we can keep that going.

Please, please, please, don't add me to mass mail lists or spam.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Huge Ego

I just finished reading a post on Jack Bog's blog about Randy Gragg which got me to thinking - who in the Portland news business has the biggest ego?

I've heard many in the newspaper world think it's Mr. Gragg, some say Phil Stanford, others Jeff Gianola. We've decided that Lars doesn't count.

Since we're all comfortable with the anonymous posts, who do you think?

One More Thing...

I know it's an economic issue.

Notice how all the media websites right now (Sunday - 4pm) sans Oregon Live, are stuck on old news - KOIN, KATU and the radio sites all lead with Friday's news. KGW and KPTV at least have the earthquake from early Saturday morning, on its sites.

If anyone wanted to market themselves as a true 24 hour, updated, news and information outlet, they'd have a huge upper hand.

As it is, sleepy Portland continues to have sleepy news operations not interested in feeding those who don't get their news in a traditional way.

And we wonder why we're losing viewers, listeners and readers.

Media Activists

There is an interesting piece in the Sunday NY Times about news vigilantes who take the time to disrupt and embarrass live news reporting. Most of us in TV have had lots of people do the usual behind the live reporter - waving, screaming "Hi Mom" and the like.

Wanted to pass it on to those who didn't read it.

It reminded me about live reporting in general. If people know we'll be there, those seeking or needing attention will flock like moths to a flame.

And then there's the old question - do live cameras incite people to vent more for the sake of coverage. I think of the May Day demonstrations a few years ago, and the protest where a few photographers got punched, and some idiots ran onto I-5. Would they have done that if the cameras were off. It's a chicken and the egg thing.

Friday, June 24, 2005

A Weekend Two-Fer

For twenty Alec - name the best anchor team ever in Portland, and the best newspaper columnist.

PDX Media Insider says - Who was Cathy Smith and Bill Laggatuta at KGW and former (and awfully harassed) Oregonian Sports Columnist Julie Vader?

Your turn. No real brainpower required.

Bonus - Worst anchor team - Eric Schmidt and Kelley Day on KPDX when she first came to Portland.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Is this the end of Helicopter Wars?

From Kim Montour - acting boss at KOIN:

I need to let you know that I am temporarily grounding the helicopter -- effective immediately.
I had a meeting with Warren (Petrie), and we discussed some past issues with the helicopter operator. Until he and I are comfortable that all our issues are addressed and resolved, we will not be flying.
Thanks,
Kim


I read that as budget cuts - don't you?

If you watch KPTV in the am (we'll wait for the numbers you Fox12 brown noser) you notice Tony Martinez camped in the chopper on the ground - even on good days. Costs bucks to fuel that baby up.

The other stations only fly on breakers any more or during sweeps. I'll bet there are a lot of quieter neighborhoods, compared to the late 90's.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Editorial Meetings

Wonder what goes on in a TV news meeting - deciding what to cover? The saddest thing to watch is reporters whose job it is to come to the meetings with story ideas get ignored by people who are worried about the cute, the bad and the ugly stories they hope to come.

Good ideas die like dogs because news managers first responsibility is what can be promoted, not what people might want to know more about, or need to know about.

Thus today, the big stories were a mix of national stories (Utah search), breaking news (traffic accident), the two headed cat dying, drownings and the theft at Washington Sq.. Where were the stories about the school funding proposal in Salem that might cost Portlanders more tax money, or new hope for Alzheimer's patients (and families)?

Assignment editors in town used to look for stories that played to the strength of the staff (and to prominent reporters). Now, they are ambulance chasers and skanner freaks.

What's the morning meeting like in your newsroom?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Beating the Competition

It was an interesting weekend for the Oregonian - especially (as noted several times) for the sports team. Friday morning the Sports Headline screamed the Blazers had a new coach. Later in the day, the Blazers made clear on most of the broadcast outlets the Oregonian blew it.

On Saturday, the O's public editor, Michael Arrietta-Walden, in a rare non-Sunday column, took the sports team (especially John Canzano and Jason Quick) to task for the scoop that wasn't true - yet. That was in the same paper as Canzano's effort to explain how he got the story wrong.

Considering that the Trib doesn't publish again until Tuesday, TV and Radio news departments don't really do sports anymore, was he worried about getting scooped by KFXX?

The O got clobbered by the Willamette Week on Goldschmidt, is paranoid about the Trib and Francke - is that why it was rushed to the paper without enough corroboration? Oregonian folks - what really went down?

We all love to be first - but shouldn't we be right?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

What's Happening to Lars?

Caught this post on Portland Radio Message Board under the thread LARS smoochabuttathon! - and I actually heard Lars promo-ing his one on one with his boss Paul Allen.

A couple samples:

Eeeg, did you hear Lars "interviewing" Paul Allen today? Yes, Lars it's nice when you disclose that he's your boss, but that doesn't excuse you from KISSING HIS REAR SO NOISILY! I think his first question was "Mr. Allen, how do continue to be so charismatic and wonderful?" Just about anything Allen says is newsworthy, which is why KXL should limit "coverage" of Paul to news/sports segments. Hearing him chatting uncomfortably with Lars about the Blazers and space travel is just too cozy and weird.

And...

Lars had a chance to pick up a few points with me if he had "gone 60 Minutes" and asked relevant newsworthy questions, instead he went Entertainment Tonight. Is "spineless" a new adjective to describe Lars now?

Not that he has any credibility, but it's fun to pass on anyway.

Friday, June 17, 2005

What I've Learned

I didn't know what to expect when I started this.

In truth, I wanted to get some attention to what I thought was getting disrespect from my bosses, and your bosses. It seemed Portland media was stuck. TV news was going nowhere fast. Radio was becoming insignificant. Newspapers lost the ability to be relevant.

I wanted to pay tribute to the many people who work very hard at their craft, working for people who had a jaundiced eye for viewers and listeners and readers.

We had to tell the truth - that most of us don't have the guts to fight that attitude. I knew that, anonymously, most of us would enjoy a forum to say what we can't say at our desks.

We got and are getting lots of attention. We know that reporters and photographers, producers and anchors, PR people and bloggers check in every day to see what we all say.

Mostly it's been good. Sometimes, people check in and drop crap. But that's good too. We all need to learn, even if its egotistical and mundane.

In six weeks we've talked about lots of things and we'll keep going. I thought I was going to be outed in the first couple of days, but luckily no one still knows my name, even though most of you have guessed in what line of work I toil.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Where do we go from here? What do you want?

The one thing I'd love to know is if you think this is making a difference. In my shop, I know the bosses got nervous - even hinted to some that they wanted to cut off Internet access in the room. Can we make things better?

I know that at least at KOIN, things are changing. I know it's not because of us, but because they got rid of people who did not care about things Portland. But did we open some avenues to talk?

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads. Let's hope we get summer before school starts again.

See you Monday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Is it just me?

Or does the O get paid by the Today show for publishing pictures on Page Two of Living of whatever concert or star they're promoting.

Hey Rod Patterson - that and "aisle walk" have got to go.

Talk, talk, zzzzzzzzz

Ladies and gentlemen....

In this corner, not having the pipes nor the juice to wake anyone, Thom Hartman, Joe Uris and anyone else KBOO can prop up on the mike and Randy Leonard on Sunday (when no one is listening).

In the other corner, it's Lars and Victoria and Larry George w/Randy (when no one is listening) with enough wind to make the Willamette a windsurfing mecca.

Other than that, it's right wing radio in a left-leaning town. How does that make any sense?

Inside the station, Lars is the 800 lb. gorilla, bullying Sweet Baby James and anyone else who dare to think his "news" doesn't deserve a spot on the top and bottom of the hour newscasts. Ask anyone old or new at KXL how much Lars drives the bus. He thinks his "scoops" should lead 'em (un-fair and un-balanced). And unfortunately, he may take the talented Heidi Tauber with him.

At KPAM, Victoria does her Lars act, acting all outraged when this liberal does that. But she hardly makes a dent in the political world.

Then there's Thom the Tanked Engine. He's not long for this world because he's not shown anything that made it worth taking Morning Sedition off the air (and onto weekend re-runs).

Talk in this town is pathetic and predictable - and even though the Sunday guys (yes I've heard them heading into a weekend shift) play closer to the middle, we're in a wasteland.

How many of you are heading to Best Buy for that XM radio?

Press Clubbed

In relating some of the thing I've heard (and helped by others, thank you very much), I was taken by the posting of Chris Frankonis, who's One True b!X is easily the most read blog among insiders in Portland's political world. He took a shot at a proposed "Press Club" mentioned on this site, and had this take on it:

Journalists, even if they are opinion journalists, are supposed to be reporting the news of the day in order to inform the public discourse. Public relations and advertising professionals, on the other hand, are trying only to advance the causes of their clients or employers, often to the point of distorting the public discourse.
What, exactly, is the rationale behind having a social club where they kick back and mingle with each other? Are we missing something here?


I know we're suffering through a crisis of confidence and credibility in our stock and trade, but I found his comment a little odd. Journalists are being spun all the time. Journalists know it. And that spin is kept out of pieces ALMOST ALL OF THE TIME (or used as information that is checked and double checked). Since most of the people in the PR trade, especially the good ones, used to be colleagues and remain friends, where is the harm of socializing?

From what I understand, this would be more of a restaurant than spin-zone - a place to blow off steam. I know you're not suggesting journalists be segregated, are you b!X? I know the guy working on this and I'm sure you'd get the invite to karaoke night!

Tsunami, tsunami, baloney?

We had a nice little drill last night on what we thought was IT. There was some smart decision making, some decent observations, but mostly, we did what we did best - show a real reaction to something that could have been real scary.

We took a lot of phone calls from the usual gang who thought we should "go back to programming", but in the end, how could you ignore hundreds (thousands?) of people heeding the sirens and heading to higher ground.

How do you think we did?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Gossip

Okay, so for all of us who want to deal with fact, here are some of the gossip items on the horizon:

  • KATU's 4:30 newscast, which goes live in three months, will probably have its format in place only a few weeks before air. Watch lots of in-house second guessing (since KATU is barren as Eastern Oregon desert at that time).
  • KOIN's interim management is thinking of making anchor changes, even though the station is up for sale. Don't think those big contracts make everyone safe. Some folks the old news director wanted out will likely remain in.
  • Look for layoffs and more changes when the Trib moves to Clackamas this summer. Same with KPAM. The money pit is only so deep.
  • Will the O have a new "around town" correspondent? Word is they're looking.
  • Plans are underway to create a social restaurant/bar club for journalists, pr and advertising folks. Sort of like press clubs in other cities. Late summer announcement. I like that.
  • KOIN's talent will likely give thumbs down on the AFTRA vote in July.
  • Will KGW give up it's 10pm experiment with PAX sooner or later?

Your turn...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Staying Too Long

There's an excellent piece in the latest ESPN Magazine about Jerry Rice, the great football player and the fact that he still wants to play deep into his 40's.

It got me thinking about lots of comments on this site (and sites particular to our industries) where those in the first ten years of the career talk about dead wood and those with more time under their belt talk about the newbies as if they forgot what it was like to be 25 and confident.

TV does its part to weed out (at least in this market) older reporters. We have lots of anchors over 40, but most of the people on the street are under 35. Move on to radio, and it's not age, it's the pipes (and the pay - who wants to stay in Portland for the kind of money they pay radio reporters). At our newspapers, as usual, it's a better mix of young and not as young.

Our bosses wish that our product would gear toward the young, and that what we write, read or produce would draw a better demographic. It's hard for them to be honest about that, since most of our readership, listenership and viewership skews older - but that doesn't stop the drive to get people 25-34.

I'm drifting here. I wanted to know what you think about staying too long? I know people look at me and my experience and wonder how many years (days?) I have left. I also know it's also based on pay (replace me and save $20k).

And then there's our co-workers, who've lost their fire and their ability to perform. We know they're dragging the product down, but we like (and love) them.

Who among us can tell us (and me), the best way to tell someone, "You're done."?

Who among us have said that and gone on to something that re-kindled the fire that started with that first job?

Who among us are still in the biz and re-lit the fire themselves and are doing some of their best work now?

Friday, June 10, 2005

Kudos for Legacy

I found this note from the last exchange extraordinary.

Lise Harwin said...
I'm so disappointed to read the comments posted about Legacy's PR team. I can only speak for myself, but I make a huge effort to respond to reporters quickly and accomodate as many requests as I can, given the constraints of HIPAA. When I can't make something happen, I try to be upfront and honest about it and cross my fingers that things will work better the next time.In any case, I'm hoping you're not tarring all of the Legacy PR staff with the same brush. And I'd hope that if anyone had that big of a problem, they'd take it up with me or even our boss.


When did we every get a flack to call us back and say, maybe we're not doing our job so well, how can we be better? We've had those meetings, but in the end, it was pretty much, "we'll do our job our way, you do yours."

Anyone else have a PR person call and say, let me be better?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Spokespeople Poll

You know 'em, you see 'em all the time (except on Fox12) or read their take on crime, transportation, etc. Who is the best, and who is the worst?

A partial list:

Brian Schmautz at Portland Police, Marc Galloway at Multnomah County Sheriff, Sandy James at Washington County Sheriff, Mary Volm various Portland City things, John Doussard (Mayor Potter's mouthpiece), Mary Fetsch at Tri-Met, Allan Oswalt at Portland Fire (miss you Neal), Dave Thomson at ODOT, Karen Eubanks at Tualatin Fire & Rescue among others.

Who is the most responsive and who makes you crazy (viewers and readers weigh in too)?

Monday, June 06, 2005

What I LIKE about Portland News

Random thoughts in NO particular order - please join in or dispute.

  • The Trib's photographers - Great pictures.
  • Neil Penland - A great set of pipes in one of the sweetest guys around.
  • Portland Mercury covers - You gotta think they're having fun when they shoot these (remember Francisconi and the Devil horns?).
  • Randy Gragg - when he shows his smarts and not his ego.
  • Kerry Tomlinson's (KPTV) Reporting - when she's not ordered to do pedophile #264, she's the best investigative reporter on TV. Period.
  • Phil Stanford - On those rare occasions when he doesn't write about Frank Gable.
  • The Nose, Murmurs, Rogue of the Week & Winners and Losers in the Willamette Week.
  • Peter Ames Carlin when he writes about network or cable TV shows. He doesn't know shit about local radio and TV. The O needs to find someone who does.
  • The passion that emits from 8th Avenue between SE Ankeny and Burnside (KBOO) but not the reporting - throw in a little balance once and a while and I might even listen more.
  • Colin Fogerty's (OPB Radio) reporting - crisp, no nonsense, a great penchant for using audio.
  • Brian Meehan's columns - He reflects the passion people have for sports and rarely writes about the circus at the Rose Quarter (thank goodness). Next to him I like Kerry Eggers.
  • Tim Hibbits - He is an icon and an institution. Who in the Portland media carry both labels?
  • The Edge.
  • Ann Schatz - Best sportscaster in town not stuck doing 90 seconds at KOIN, KPTV, KGW or KATU. No one else combines her smarts, knowledge of the games and enthusiasm, even though she does repeat some things too often (Big Fella).
  • KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8 - Wish every TV station in town followed its philosophy instead of Channel 12's.
  • John Foyston - One of the best jack-of-all-trade writers for O. Loves beer.
  • Shawn Levy - One of the few movie critics I agree with.
  • Nigel Jacquiss' stories about Goldschmidt and PGE - He's on a roll.
  • Wm. (tm) Steven Humphrey - The man's a hoot - no matter what's on his radar.
  • John Becker - KGW Reporter - Best in the market. Too bad he wants to be an anchorman.
  • Amy Martinez Starke - The one great breakthrough for the O in the past few years is letting someone tell stories about the passing of others. Makes it worthwhile turning to the obit page.
  • Mike Donahue - KOIN Reporter - Best anchor reporting on TV. Will KOIN let him go to take his huge audience of fans elsewhere? This might become the most interesting story in TV.
  • Paul Bukta (KATU) - Best night reporter on TV.
  • Jacob Lewin (KINK) - Good reporter - great interviewer.
  • Good Day Oregon's Kim Maus and Pete Ferryman - But I can't stand Drew Carney - count me in the minority, I guess.
  • b!X & BoJack in the blogsphere. I guess they're now part of the mainstream media. Sorry guys.

Things I miss:

  • Ray Summers, Daria doing weather on WB (she's not the same on KPDX - looks like deer in the headlights), 7 Days on OPB (even though it moved like a snail, that was interesting talk), Rob Marciano, radio that wasn't rushing to get to the next commercial break, local sports on TV, short weather segments on TV, never hearing the term "traffic and weather together" or "team coverage" - who cares? A news manager at KOIN who would kindly show Ed Whelan the door to retirement. Finally, one great anchor on TV or radio that pulls me in. Right now, there isn't one in the market, like Donahue, Shirley Hancock, Kathy Smith or Bill Lagatutta were in the 80's & 90's, (Jim Howe on radio) or Gianola was before his ego got the best of him. Steve Dunn could be, but he seems tired or unchallenged.

Look for the Union Label

From: Kim Montour (Acting Manager of KOIN - Emmis)
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 3:18 PM
To: KOIN Mail List
Subject: NRLB Vote


The results of the NLRB vote are 26-10 in favor of the union.
Thank you for your participation in this process.
We will be in contact with you shortly on the next steps.
Kim

Is it just me...?

Or has the Oregonian decided to minimize Rose Festival. Insiders, please tell me - why no Queen picture on Page One Friday, as it has been since time began? Why were there only two pictures about the Starlight Parade - easily the only event anymore that exudes life and real energy?

Is this more a statement about not changing the paper at night or not having enough staff on weekend? As the man said in Dirty Harry, "I gots to know."

I'm not a huge RF fan, but these things were pretty glaring to me. And I'm guessing there were at least three photogs assigned to the Saturday parade.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Oregonian - Your Newspaper?

It's clear that those running the Big O think themselves as a national/regional powerhouse. Outside of here, does anyone really read it or place it in the top ten of must reads on-line?

You can count on the front page to blare, above the fold (but not today), some national or international story, place some interesting local or regional story on its left side column, put a picture in the middle, then put some relatively interesting stories (one lifestyle/medical/people), below the fold.

Above the banner, the story promos (usually one sports headline) and a graphic , and that's it.

Is it enough to get you inside?

We know that the lack of daily competition allows the O to do whatever it wants. It has dozens of reporters on the street, so what standards should we hold it to? What is it doing that works, and what do we need to make it a must read?

Let's get beyond the usual bias posts (liberal/conservative/parochial bent, etc.) and offer up some real posts about what you need in a daily newspaper in your town.

For me, I want more local headlines/stories on the front, a better website (crisper, more focused, easier to get around, more pictures) and more business news off that section's front page to Page One. I also would like to see better education news than the usual test scores, profiles of graduates, etc. And less re-running of Washington Post and NY Times stories, since I've usually read them online (as, I suspect, do lots of people). And a better sports page. On Sundays in the fall, I expect much more coverage of OSU and UO football games than is given us.

I suspect the O does a fair amount of research into what its readers want, but, like the broadcasters, wants younger readers but doesn't know how to get them.

Let's see if we can get a good cross section of ideas. And, of course, we'd love to hear some inside stories on the pressures that makes it look like it does.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

White Like Portland

Anna Katayama, Ken Boddie, Ed Whelan, Joel Iwanaga, Tim Maestes, Brenda Braxton, Andrea Cantu, Sam Louie, Kyle Iboshi, Anna Song, Rhonda Shelby, Wayne Garcia, Tony Martinez, Hilary Hutchison.

These are the faces of diversity Portland TV viewers see on their screens. Most of the people named above, 7 of the 12, are anchors or a featured player on a newscast. 5 at KOIN, 4 at KGW, 2 at KATU and 3 at KPTV.

Out of nearly 100 people who are on the air every week on Portland TV stations, only 14% are people of color. I know the percentage is smaller on radio, and maybe about the same at the O, the Trib, Willamette Week, etc.

According to the 2000 census, whites made up 77.9 percent of the population of Portland, blacks 6.6 percent, Asians 6.3 percent, Native Americans 1.1 percent, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders 0.4 percent. People of mixed heritage or not reporting race were 7.7 percent of the population. Hispanics, who may be of any race, constituted 6.8 percent of the people. Asians and Hispanics have been the most rapidly growing population groups since 1980.

That said, those numbers are 10% below showing what our community really looks like.

One of my earliest blogs talked about the pink faces and only one person took issue with it (they thought I wasn't nice).

The majority of stories we see about blacks, hispanics, asians, or native American are stereotypical. There are only a few exceptions. The people named in the first paragraph have an awesome responsibility in their own newsrooms to make sure the good stories about people of color are being reported. Do they?

I know it's an uphill battle to go and try to convince the gathering at 9am that a story about the African American success stories along MLK is worth covering, or the political fighting between tribes about gambling (and Native American political clout), or hispanic businesses that are thriving.

But we should see those.