A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Independent Arrangement

What is the context of the Q & A of the Aberdeen Township Council candidates as presented in yesterday's Independent? It's nice to have a few answers to my questions, I guess, but what were the circumstances that gave us this Q & A? There is no explanation of the format. Who asked the questions? Who answered the questions? Were all the candidates in the same room? Did all the candidates participate in person or was this done by email or phone? We don't even know when this took place. What were the ground rules, if any? Did anyone provide written responses to written questions? This looks more like an arrangement than a debate. Truly the Independent needs to do the basics of journalism if they are to serve the community appropriately.


  1. Dear Aberdeen Life:

    I agree with your position. I have attempted on numerous occassions since July to engage both the Independent and the APP to do some independent journalism. I got no response except a brief e-mail asking me to anwer a list a questions.

    After forwarding my response to that list of questions, I had a conversation with the reporter about the need for more coverage and got little more than a shrug.

  2. I appreciate your comments about local press coverage. The Fourth Estate should be a bit more responsive to the public's quest for quality news coverage. No doubt The Independent and APP are struggling financially, which can affect their ability to provide responsive reporting. That's the niche that blogs like mine are trying to fill. If you have ideas for stories or would like to be interviewed, feel free to email me.

    Being an impoverished media outlet isn't a license to abandon basic journalistic principles. Both papers have generated more than their fair share of "news articles" about Aberdeen and Matawan that were nothing more than raw press releases from our local governments, school board, team coaches, and librarian. This article goes a step beyond unbalanced reporting and begins to delve into journalistic arts and crafts.

    I was initially pleased to see a detailed and informative piece on our local election, and I was thrilled to see a number of my concerns addressed in the responses made by both parties. But the more I studied the article, the more I realized that it revealed nothing of its process, which ultimately taints the final product. If it is a composite piece, they should have explained that. Instead, they created a fictional discussion among the candidates and kept that fact to themselves. That is playing a dangerous game with the public trust. What the media like to call a slippery slope.

    I have to add that if there had been actual interviews, and it seems that there weren't, we could have learned something about the candidates from observations made of how they carried themselves when answering questions. Would that they had had the candidates in front of them to witness and report on a well-spoken or poorly prepared candidate.