Friday, May 2, 2008

IT IS TIME WE DEMAND FREEDOM COMMUNICATIONS SELL THE HERALD

Freedom Communications has made it clear that Brownsville, and in fact the LRGV, are not entitled to quality journalism. We must demand that they sell the Herald in hopes the new owners will put quality journalism as their number one priority.

The Political Outsider, and RGV USA both posted great blog comments on the Herald’s "F" reporting on the TSC candidate forum. If you have not read them, you must read them to understand the total failure in journalism the Herald has become.

http://www.thepoliticaloutsider.com/2008/04/horrible-story-on-tsc-forum.html

http://rgvusa.blogspot.com/2008/05/vindication-and-despair-from-church.html

We are not going to solve any of the problems facing our community until we have a legitimate newspaper. Such a newspaper can start as a blog, but educating the people we exist is very costly. I am looking into maybe a billboard ad for a month wherein maybe those who can afford it can help pay for the billboard. We can then create a special blog which redirects the people to the various blogs. For now this is our only option to get our readership to hopefully 5-10 thousand readers. Not all of us will be read regularly. The market place of ideas will decide which blogs the people read. Some will hate mine, some will love mine. The same goes for everyone else.

This is an example where Sanchez can put his ego to bed for a day and do something for the community, but I do not believe it is in him to do the right thing, if he thinks it will also help people he dislikes. For the record, there are plenty of people reading this blog, and the other blogs who are frustrasted with the Herald. Some of these people could pay for such a billboard and never notice the money missing from their checking account. A simple billboard - BROWNSVILLE'S BLOGS - ALL THE NEWS AND COMMENTARY THE HERALD WILL NOT PRINT - - the market place of ideas will decide who does and does not get read

Next week I expect to put a package in the mail to the president of Freedom Communications and the Board Members outlining my evidence that Cavazos and Benavidez are not doing their job. I will outline my ideas as to how Freedom Communications can increase their profits by simply hiring a new publisher and editor.

I know how some of you feel - "he is going after their jobs." No I am not - I am demanding excellence - which in turn should result in a better Brownsville.

The following from the CEO of Freedom Communications appears to indicate he is ready for change.

http://www.freedom.com/ceo/

Here is how you can communicate with Freedom Communications
Freedom Communications17666 Fitch,Irvine, Ca., 92614-6022
Our telephone number is949-253-2300
Our main fax number is949-474-7675
Email addressinfo@link.freedom.com

If you call just ask to speak to the Administrative Assistant to the CEO - they will give you an e-mail so you can e-mail your concerns

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bobby,

...Perhaps you do not know this, but a few years back (about five), Freedom did seek buyers for its three RGV dailies, McAllen, Harlingen and Brownsville. It received lukewarm interest from a few larger newspaper outfits, one being the then-owners of the Wall Street Journal (Dow-Jones). My info from reliable Freedom sources is that the WSJ backed out after looking at the three RGV operations, namely its readership market and its real estate holdings, i.e. buildings, newsrooms, etc., etc. The McAllen Monitor, perhaps because it is the "best" of the three dailies, later initiated construction of a new "state-of-the-art" office/newsroom facility. It is markedly better than The Herald's or the Valley Morning Star's buildings. From what I hear the Freedom newspapers are still for sale. The problem is that these are not exactly the best (profitable) of times for American newspapers. Advertising revenue for all - from coast to coast - have dropped dramatically. Their main competitor for advertising more and more is the Internet, where news outlets are doing their damndest to catch up, hence the quick acceptance of websites by just about every print publication still around. Can newspapers get back to their historical standing? Not likely, is what the media experts say. You can track the many problems faced these days by newspapers on the website www.poynter.org and see from day to day exactly how bad things are for print publications. Layoffs in newsrooms abound. Newspapers are cutting back on areas of circulation and buying out staff writers they can't fire or who won't leave on their own. It is a crisis for management and investors. That, my friend, is why I say that this is the perfect time for a Rio Grande Valley-wide news website along the lines of www.The HuffingtonPost.com. I've heard of something like that called the RioGrandeGuardian.com, but, from what I've seen, it is not what I'd have in mind. You can't make it simply on "copy & paste" exercises where you take a story from another newspaper and post it on your site, as does The Guardian. You have to staff it with your own reporters who will vigorously beat the bushes and "break" real stories. Think CNN, the cable news outlet, and then see it in website form. That's what I mean. It'll happen. Some entrepreneur will approach the idea and fund it. The Huffington Post is a first-rate news website. Check it out. Until then, read The Herald and The Monitor and the Morning Star. Just don't see them as the best sources of information at your disposal. Smalltown community newspapers such as these three are good only as pages where you will see the names and faces of locals. They may be doing important things, or they may be being singled out for being criminals and idiots. But forget about finding in-depth reporting written with the sort of authority Big Time reporters in the Big City bring their readers. That's a fact, Jack...

BobbyWC said...

The following was also sent to me -I cannot verify it - but given the indepth knowledge which went into the post, I would say the credit is accurate

"But I forgot to sign-off on that post about the sale of Freedom Newspapers. Credit it if you wish to: DP-M"

Editor's Note:

I actually like to go to the library and read the old Herald - I have read a ton of articles from the 40's 50's and 60's - the quality of writing was far superior and the quality of the indepth reporting at the local level was far superior.

I will also say the national news coverage was far superior - even the NYT's today reads more like something generated by a computer with no human emotion.

I think a lot of readers have a hard time with Ed Stapleton's writings because they are at the level which we saw in print 30-40 years ago - it is time we return to that level.

There is enough money in this town to create an online newspaper with paid reporters who have graduated real universities. I will continue to work on the idea of a Billboard - if I can get my numbers high enough to hire a real reporter who will accept a wage and stock % in the company I may do it. With a readership of 5k a day I may be able to get enough advertising dollars to break even or minimize my loss while building the online paper.

I am working on forming a new political party. I am thinking about a trip this month to Austin to visit with the lawyers at the Secretary of State's Office - they are very helpful along these lines.

I am thinking to make the paper a part of the new political party so that maybe dues can be used to fund a reporter - that would be a start

I do believe within 6 months the Herald would fold.

I cannot thank you enough for adding a great deal of substance to my post

Again thanks, and I am sure my readers appreciate it

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Mr. BWC,

I would have to agree with you. There needs to be some unity among the bloggers. We could staff it well. I might even be willing to come out of hiding to be a part of such a honest enterprise.

But alas, I do not know if the Valley much less Brownsville would be willing to support such a venture. Let us use Mrs. Zamora's blog as prime example. We can all recognize she receives more unique hits than any of the other bloggs on their individual high days. She receives around 300-400 a day. (Correct me if I am wrong Mrs. Zamora).

We could not sustain such an enterprise unless we have people investing in the internet locally and people willing to visit our large site versus just settling for the print in the shoddaily.

I am proud that you used my submission as evidence of the shoddy reporting of the Herald. They have yet to correct the Herrera quote; I doubt they will. But we as a community may have to deal with it until people begin to visit all of the blog sites with regularity (especially Mrs. Zamora's site as our control study) before a large site would ever be viable.

Mr. PO’s post was created by Guy Fawkes who did not attend the forum but still proved how inept the printed article was. If Gary Long cannot write a good copy, what can we expect from his reporting of actual TSC and BISD meetings? Scary thought!

V

BobbyWC said...

One of my great frustrations right now is I do not know anything about my readership other than what I hear from people at UTB when I am on campus, or at teh mall when people recognize me - happened tonight at the movies - or when people just see me around.

Unfortunately I am not a bar person so you will never see me with that crowd - although in the next couple of weeks you might catch me at Stickmans during a Spurs game - best hamburger in town along with a Shiner Bock - $10.00

Anyway - when I shut down the BV I had several days wherein I hit over a 1000 unique hits - google's system is basically worthless - I have given up on it - but when I had google and a private server measuring my hits the analysis was completely different- This weekend I am going to try and get the google system to work again - so if my system goes down - do not fret I will be back.

Anyway - this online newpaper may have to start as a freelance online newspaper wherein bloggers and other reporters will be willing to work for free and subject their works to editorial review for accuracy (never content).

I know the bloggers know this, but not all of the blogs are read every day. When you do not publish news or commentary every day your numbers are going to go down. There are some blogs I only check once a week, unless I hear something from someone about a particular post.

It is very intellectually difficult to publish every day - I have a million ideas ready to go - it is just to exhausting while doing everything else I do.

I am going to have a lot of time right now because of two surgeries and no tutoring again until the 2nd summer session. I will be working on forming a new political party and on developing this online newspaper. Typing may be a problem after the carpal tunnel surgery

Other than the registration fee it will not cost me a penny to set up a Brownsville blogger web directory - if I cannot afford the billboard maybe bumper stickers - maybe a sign on the rear window of my truck - all I know is we need to bury the Herald or force a change in management - until then the blogosphere is our only hope for change.

I am secure enough in my views to be in open and direct competition with anyone willing to take me on on substance - there will always be those who are intellectually weak who will use distractions - such is life - I have to trust my readers know the difference between distraction and substance

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Mr. BWC,

I believe this is a worthwhile cause.

Do you want anonymous sources or would you want everyone to come clean with their identity?

I am willing to join your cause. Are other?

Maybe together we can combat the problem of true journalism in our community. The Harlingen Post is good but I feel it is not enough. We in the Lower, Lower Rio Grande Valley could do better.

I have been corrected, Mrs. Zamora does much better than the numbers I previously put out. So it may be doable.

V

BobbyWC said...

Sometime next week I will post on maybe having a bloggers convention at a local restaurant or bar - if a bar we all know I prefer Stickmans - I would actually prefer a nice piano bar with a drag queen signing Judy's songs and other songs from the same era, but that is not going to happen.

ANy such adventure would have to include only people who are publishing by name - even with blind editorials such as the Herald's I am very opposed - when you cannot put a name to the article or opinion it lacks credibility.

We would all have to agree that content will not be edited out unless it failed the accuracy test. Also non substantive personal attackes on each other's opinion pieces would be barred. And of course no porn - the goal to is make it a legitimate on line paper

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Bobby WC. At least with the Brownsville Herald they will print what any Blogger writes, With Your site, you will only print what you want to print so where is there freedom of speech?.

You are just like Captain Bob and Elrocinante and all the other blogs in Brownsville with the exception of www.thetowncryier.com so do not criticize a news paper for freedom of speech when you do not practice it your self.
I know this is one comment that will not get printed
Elliot Ness

BobbyWC said...

Reality check - the Herald censors people all of the time - my posts are typically deleted within minutes of posting - I would say the censorship at the Herald as to me is about 75%.

Since I have come down hard on the Herald you will notice my letters no longer appear - I am being censored.

Elliot you destroy your credibility when you profess to know if the Herald censors - you would have no way of knowing -

further - I find it sad when a grown man types something like "I know this will never get printed" We ar enot 5 year old on the school playground playing the game of manipulation.

I am approaching over 400 posts - maybe twice I have censored someone and not informed my readers of my actions. With the exception of two times, maybe, I always state I have censored someone, while explaining why I censored them and disclosing the substance of their arguments.

Just because the law says bloggers can post all the defamatory statements they wish, does not mean a responsible person publishes defamatory statments.

Now if you want to take me on on an issue let's have it - give me something of substance - other than you know for a fact the Herald does not censor - you sound like a fool when you make such statements - you cannot possibly know so why make such a stupid statement.

Again if you want to challenge me on an issue of substance have at it - I have never and never would censor an argument of substance - in fact my readers know I typically thank people who take me on on substance - this is when the blog is at its best

Bobby WC