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Dogs, Cows, Ice Sculptures and Governor Candidates

September 1, 2010

It must have been a slow local news day at the Grand Rapids Press. Today’s front-page story is about the Labor Day weekend weather and gas prices.

Not to be out done the front page of the Region-section from top to bottom featured a story about a dog, then a cow, the filming of ice sculptures and at the bottom a story about Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero meeting with people in Grand Rapids.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of animal welfare and the story about the cow and dog did mention the mistreatment of animals and an animal sanctuary. However, if the stories were to explore in more detail the realities of animal abuse and resources and services available in this community, then those stories would have been more compelling.

The ice sculpture was a bit more ridiculous, since it was in many ways a promotional piece for a local ice sculpting business, who’s work is being featured on the agribusiness TV channel, the Food Network. This article has garnered 3 pictures compared to just one each for the other 3 articles on the front page of the Region-section.

The article about the gubernatorial candidate in Grand Rapids was as short as the dog story, maybe even a few sentences shorter. The article tells us that Democrat Virg Bernero and his running mate Brenda Lawrence were in Grand Rapids yesterday to meet with voters.

The story did include a comment from the gubernatorial candidate, but only one of the voters’ concerns was included. This is frustrating in that even that story stated that the candidates, “sat for more than an hour……fielding questions and concerns” from people. It would have been nice to know what the concerns are of people. Instead, the Press reporter decided to include commentary about recent polling on the Governor’s race.

As readers of this site know, GRIID has been monitoring the local news for the past 10 years. We are not surprised by the kind of journalism that the Press and other news agencies practice, but we think it is important to continue to critique this kind of journalism, especially since there is so little independent news available that focuses on West Michigan.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kate Wheeler permalink
    September 2, 2010 4:52 am

    It’s great that GRIID continues to monitor the poor editorial choices of the Grand Rapids Press. What isn’t in the paper is often as illuminating as what is. In point of fact, the visit of a gubenatorial candidate to GR should have rated front-page coverage with, as you noted, much more extensive coverage of what was said and the questions asked. But this is not the candidate that the GR Press wishes to play up at this point–so coverage was buried at the bottom of an inside section.

    But there were lots of other options for indepth stories. Another West Michigan bank failed on September 1. A West Michigan dairy violated a raft of warnings and continued to put contaminated beef on the market–the US government is now seeking a permanent injunction against Scenic View Dairy. Spartan Stores announced it was paying out a quarterly dividend, which could have triggered investigation by a reporter about how current increased prices and profits played a part in that. And in Holland, the Board of Public Works is churning over a challenge to the DNR rejection a huge new boiler at its coal-fired DeYoung Plant.

    You’d think that a decent regional editor would have found one or more of those stories worthy of investigation, and left the ice sculpture, at the very least, to melt away of its own accord.

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