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NEW OWNERSHIP THUS FAR FAILING AT THE BORING BROADSHEET

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY SEPT. 20, 2016) —When The Boring Broadsheet (The BB) sold for a paltry $1 million to three local investors and a fourth from The Battle of The Little Big Horn (or out that way, in any case), the new ownership held a press conference led by the new co-owner and publisher, retired judge Fred “Let ’em Off’ Rutberg. He and the others spun the story like Jack Pratt’s top. Return to local opwnership would result in a better, more responsive newspaper.

Right.

It’s been nearly five months now since Rutberg and Company took over the paper once known as The Berkshire Eagle.

We’re still waiting.

A Formula for Disaster

How can a serially bad newspaper becomes exponentially worse?

— First, have an ownership that knows nothing about news, journalism, and the newspaper business.

— Second, make sure the ownership doesn’t let its ignorance keep it from butting in as genuine journalists such as Kevin Moran and Jim Therrien struggle to bag unicorns and do-do birds.

—  Third, cut staff paychecks and benefits across.

— Fourth, refuse to cover the news or dig for stories.

— Fifth, fill the paper with wire copy and irrelevant fluff.

— Sixth, deflate morale through an autocracy that divides “editorial” from “business.”

— Seventh, abandon self-respect by kowtowing to The Suits and local Sacred Cows on coverage.

— Eighth, refuse to cover the cit, its politics, and its scandals

— Ninth, stifle in-house talent (for instance, keep your best reporter, Phil Demers, covering pancake breakfasts and bury uber-talented Newhouse graduate Jenn Smith under puff that used to be called “the women’s section”).

A ‘Hed’ of the Game

Pick up a copy of The Boring Broadsheet. Pick a page. Any page. You’ll find the cringe-worthy. Take page D1 from Saturday, Sept. 17.

Please.

On the lead story of the “Business” section, you find this headline:

Main Hed: Cost of Living rises more

then expected in August

Sub Hed: Higher shelter, health-care

prices lead last month’s hike

in comsumer-price index

 Readers who spotted the first mistake probably missed the second due to apoplexy. The main hed (an internal, newspaper abbreviation of “headline” by the way) should have “than” in place of “then.” Spell-check won’t flag that error. That takes a live human known as a copy editor. The BB has fired most of its copy editors, however. Then you get to “comsumer” in the subhed. A spell check from a Cracker Jack box would flag this blatant misspelling. So would a copy editor.

Every Half-Baked Promise: Broken

When a newspaper whiffs twice in the headline of a front-page lead story, why should readers trust anything else in that paper, especially since it has already broken the promises Rutberg made at the splash-out press conference? Local coverage has declined along with quality. Wire copy has increased. “More content” translated into meaningless photo pages. That investigative team? Never formed. And what’s up with that weird, thick paper used to print news copy in insert pages? One reader guessed to THE PLANET that it was The BB’s attempt “to make the paper look thick. They think we’re stupid.”

It’s hard to believe given how low the bar had been set, but the local daily rag went from worse to worser. Is “worsest” next? (by the way, both spell-check and a living editor caught that last word). The irony is that it didn’t have to be this way. Even given the rapid free-fall of newspapers as a go-to medium and the flat-line state of The Mainstream Media in city and county, an intelligent and dauntless leader (or leadership) could win a Pulitzer there.

Incidentally, THE PLANET knows exactly how. And we know which specific story would do it.

————————————————————————————————-

“I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information.”Christopher Hitchens.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views expressed in the comment section or opinions published within the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI; this website reserves the right to remove any comment which violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service.

 

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Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Incompetence at every level in this city, but especially in our local newspaper which should represent all of the people in this area. Nobody should wonder why the city is failing.

Did anyone attend the meeting last night at Morningside School about the Super Walmart project? Dan V. should have had scouts at that meeting. I felt sorry for the presenters who were trying to show a slideshow of their project, but were hit with a barrage of questions and put downs about Walmart. These people have been contracted out to clean up the site and build the Super Walmart. They are really not there to defend the project, but they did say that after a Super Walmart moves in many of these areas begin to thrive. It’s not a guarantee, but it would certainly help a economically depressed city like Pittsfield.

Instead they received questions like shouldn’t we allow the Berkshire Innovation center to begin to thrive before we even consider building a Super Walmart (This question was from someone on the city council) and “Doesn’t Walmart kill small businesses?” I was afraid the presenters would change their minds and decide not to build a Super Walmart here after getting such a negative reception. Not everyone was against the project. Many in the crowd of 50 or so people seemed to want a super Walmart. Fortunately some Pro-Super Walmart people did speak up for the project.

HEH HEH
HEH HEH
4 years ago

If you can control the news media then you can largely control the people.. Local media has been co opted by the local special interests. It is a powerful political tactic and sad for the people.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  HEH HEH
4 years ago

So true. If you read local accounts of last nights meeting at Morningside about the Super Walmart you would think that there is strong opposition against it, but as an attendee at the meeting, I can tell you that there was strong support for this project.

Melissa Mazzeo is very wealthy and has lost touch with the people in this city who could benefit from a Super Walmart. She thinks she can win the next mayoral election on just the school and hospital employees alone voting for her. This city needs to prove her wrong. Progressives need to start thinking about the struggling working class in this area.

anon
anon
4 years ago

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-walmart-crime/

A lot of crime happens at walmarts.

southeast
southeast
Reply to  anon
4 years ago

a lot of crime happens at shopping malls and strip malls. you have a lot of unattended cars, folks walking around with money, stuff to steal (shoplift). Add to that places where folks come to socialize (places like Applebees or movie theatres), and you have a target rich environment.

Wal-Mart is the largest retailer, so it would be naive to believe they would be immune to criminal acts taking place on or near their store properties.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Melissa Mazzeo was the city councilor who came out in strong opposition against the Super Walmart at the meeting last night. She wants people to wait until the Berkshire Innovation Center can provide jobs in the area. Haven’t we heard this song and dance before from politicians like for the past 28 years. Mazzeo needs to think of the POOR and LOWER INCOME people in this city. Great Barrington is losing Kmart which will leave a large gap in that area for low income people since the main street in Great Barrington is geared toward the wealthy. Pittsfield is a poor city and really needs a super Walmart.

HEH HEH
HEH HEH
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

Nobody else is coming. Lots of connected folk have made money off this PEDA site but nothing about it has benefited the taxpayers. Walmart is the only economic engine this city is ever going to see and they had better not blow it.

If the city was really smart they would hire a couple of Walmart CEOs to fix the sorry state of the city.

As far as the Berkshire Eagle goes people need to listen to the advice they give and then do the exact opposite. Start with the upcoming election as it concerns state candidates and issues.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  HEH HEH
4 years ago

You understand the corporate world less than the government world.

HEH HEH
HEH HEH
Reply to  Shakes His Head
4 years ago

R U talking to ME???

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  HEH HEH
4 years ago

if you think there is anything similar between a CEO of Walmart and the Mayor of Pittsfield

YES

acheshirecat
acheshirecat
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

North Adams already has a Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation that opened in 2013 at MCLA. Lots of fanfare and politicians showed up for the opening. Mayor Alcombright trotted out this tired quote “a great resource for local education and a catalyst for economic activity for the region and beyond”. Sound familiar? Still waiting Mayor.

Really?
Really?
4 years ago

Really?

What is up with this Berkshire Innovation Center project anyway?

10 million taxpayer dollars to create 2 jobs? This is way worse than the money given to Shaker Village, Workshop Live or any of the other GE economic fund disasters, other than EV Worldwide.

They should never build this money pit. They already want 5 million more of our hard earned dollars just to build it. How much more will they want to suck out of us?

Clippy Obrien
Clippy Obrien
4 years ago

I am just learning the history of GE in Pittsfield and what happened when they left. I am baffled by much of it particularly why the city allowed the company to leave the site polluted.

As for the local paper, I do not subscribe but I can read a copy at work. It seems insubstantial and timid.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Clippy Obrien
4 years ago

GE committed hundreds of dollars to remediating sites in Pittsfield. Since when does any City administer environmental regulations?

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Shakes His Head
4 years ago

hundreds of millions

James the Great
James the Great
Reply to  Shakes His Head
4 years ago

Ignore shakes, Clippy. You are correct. When GE agreed to negotiate a Consent Agreement the city of Pittsfield (primarily its mayor, council, and legal representatives) settled for $10 million. That “hundreds of millions” did nexxt to nothing to deal with the toxins in the city environment particularly the land.

The PEDA site is still loaded with poison underneath the foundations.

southeast
southeast
Reply to  Clippy Obrien
4 years ago

GE is a representation of the industrial history of the United States. There is not a community in this nation that does not have similar problems if they had any industrial activities, and in the Northern US, most did.

Much of the dumping was due to careless handling (or mishandling) of chemicals used in whatever process was employed. Some was legal at the time, because before the early 70’s there were just about zero regulations.

But when you pollute a river through multiple states, dozens of towns, or even that crosses a national border – it certainly is not within any one community’s jurisdiction to enforce a clean up. the clean up, or lack thereof, ion this case rests squarely on the shoulders of the EPA and Mass. DEP.

In this County we have machine shops, paper mills, and other mills, long since closed that together probably represent the same or greater pollution levels left behind, and for the most part – remain uncleansed or only superficially done.

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Clippy Obrien
4 years ago

Clippy did you read the part where GE left a hill of PCBs etc right next to a grammar school? Hill 78 to be exact….read all about it or talk to Gerry Doyle the former mayor who sanctioned it.

southeast
southeast
Reply to  dusty
4 years ago

actually, the DEP and EPA left that as well. If there was no public outcry (because the process was done in secret), then they caved to GE. That Doyle was in the room only meant he was in the room. If anyone really believes he or Hickey had any input from the kiddie table, I have a bridge to sell.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  dusty
4 years ago

That’s why the Pittsfield school population exhibits such a developmental retardation.

Thor
Thor
4 years ago

The new owners of the Berkshire Eagle are riding the coattails of the former Eagle in all its glory. They resting on their laurels.

Newsprint is in general a dying/dead media. When people can easily the shilling/false narratives, they tune out.

Richard Nixon tried to muzzle the press. They turned on him and were able to topple him as President.

How times have changed. The media today is controlled. They print what they are told. They print and broadcast what “they” want you to believe. Its painfully obvious in these modern times.

They are shilling for Hillary Clinton. Covering up her health problems, her lies and her crimes. Its crystal clear. Its making Donald Trump a true man of the people.

The powers that be have full control of the media. At all levels. They will lie to you. The people see it.

They are litterally forcing people to go to the internet for their news. The powers that be hate this. Their method of damage control is to send out an army of shills into all social media. You have them here on this site.

Their method is quite simple. They try and shame you into not believing what you read from noncontrolled sites. They call you “conspiracy theorists” wearing tin foil hats. The idea is to get you not to reject the “official” narrative.

People are smarter than that. They know when they are being lied to. The main stream media is doing irrepairable damage to itself. Once people lose trust in you, they will never go to trusting you. People don’t trust the media. Confidence is at an all time low.

The Berkshire Eagle will go out of business. Its death is slow and agonizing. Nobody wants to read the crap they print. The days of “extra, extra, read all about it” are over.

Judge Judy once said to a defendant:
“If I catch you in a lie, I will never believe another word you say”.

I concur.

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Thor
4 years ago

That is how I feel about Pittsfield city hall. I have learned not to believe anything that comes out of that office unless I can verify it 6 times. They are about as believable as Fox news.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

I attended last nights meeting at Morningside regarding the Super Walmart and there was no mention in any of the local media that one person walked out of the meeting because they were booed and told to calm down after they went on for at least 10 minutes about the progressive line of how Walmarts are evil. Mazzeo was told to be quiet so somebody else could ask a question. An African American man was there with his family and asked the few progressive “plants” in the audience to quiet down so the presenters could show their slideshow. It was a wild meeting with the majority of the crowd of people very obviously being pro Super Walmart.

Zylonite
Zylonite
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

Four separate pro Walmart postings. Sounds like you’re the plant Pat.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Zylonite
4 years ago

Actually what I am saying fits right in with Dan V’s theme for today which is that the local media lies. They want to prop up the progressives at every turn because they themselves are progressives. There is no HONEST media in this area. It’s like living in Nazi Germany. People who care should be outraged. The problem is that they are all in on this scam on the public and most of the public is too drugged, stoned, brainwashed, or bought off (pick your poison) to care.

southeast
southeast
4 years ago

the new owners of the Berkshire Eagle bought this as a vanity purchase. See what great men of wisdom they are, they “saved our local voice”. Well – it does not seem as if they have saved anything.

The new Publisher, Martin Langeveld had a huge hand in the collapse of the Miller empire and brought down a few ships for Media News Group before they finally made him walk the plank.

I am not sure they know how to create a first rate news gathering operation, or how to run it if they had one at the8ir disposal. One guy has some experience with the Buffalo News, but to what level he was involved in that paper is a mystery. The others are lawyers or money men.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  southeast
4 years ago

Is the question, “do they know how to create a first rate newspaper” or is the question, “do they care if they create a first rate newspaper?”

My guess is that it was never a goal in the first place but as an arm of city hall they may still find a way to make a tidy profit.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  heh heh
4 years ago

If a first rate newspaper or a third rate newspaper closed and no one reads it, does anybody care?

southeast
southeast
4 years ago

both lawyers and bankers think they understand business – but look back in history and you will see those two types generally cause more chaos than they relieve.

mi
mi
4 years ago

Don’t worry, they start losing money someone will gobble it up and they probably will make money on it. it’s called Retreadism, a common occurrence usually used incandidate for office around here.

May Hemm
May Hemm
4 years ago

Investigative reporting is what they need. Thus far, no evidence of that, maybe they could interview the Officer who questioned the battered woman from the Fireball incident at Onota Lake. Word is, the battered woman won’t commit to telling what really went down at the boat ramp.

Really?
Really?
4 years ago

Really?

Mazzeo said we were sold down the river. She said she would open the consent decree. She is the one that sold us down the river by not doing what she said she would do.

h
h
4 years ago

Wells Fargo exec gets a 125 million dollar exit, and is eligible for bonus at end of the year.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
4 years ago

http://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/ci_30384443/pittsfield-could-see-dozens-syrian-iraqi-refugees-by

With all of Pittsfields problems they want to import refugees….WTF!

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  Joe Blow
4 years ago

Krol’s inlaws are going to by them all houses by where Krol lives…..Hide your pressure cookers.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
Reply to  12 Gauge
4 years ago

We all know if they say 12 familys, it will be more like 50.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Joe Blow
4 years ago

It’s a dangerous game these progressives are playing. To assimilate them into this culture when theirs is totally different from ours not to mention their strict religious beliefs.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

EPA is and was no match against GE.GE made their huge mess and should be held as accountable as any homeowner if we polluted.
Walmart will not save the hood.As PEDA finally gets to the tipping point it would be sad not to gamble where this may go.Walmart is 80 net jobs of which Kmart just gave back 100 of those with a net loss of 20.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

The Berkshire Eagle is giving day old news.I would have guessed the no. 1 problem to address was be fast and follow up.People still love to read. …….. Mazzeo to her credit has a position….White…Tyer…Simonelli…Marchetti…Caccamo…Connell….what do you think….Bouvier Hines…what do you think…stop being scared…

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Could Tyer please lead here.What do you think of Walmart and why.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Mr.Caccamo started and was elected as a green candidate.There is no surprises here in Ward 3 except green candidates cost money.Caccamo is being true to himself so if we don’t agree with him his silence on all other issues is his weakness.New candidates please……Marchetti got to go once and for all the schools are crushing us and there is no thoughtful opposition to Mccandless…Every School committee falls in love.They are hiring like crazy.They have no interest in Mazzeo…Marchetti or the rest…your going broke under Tyer and Marchetti and Behnke Curtis Mccandless Yon…….Yon is the most powerful person in Pittsfield

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

She wears horrid old lady perfume.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
4 years ago

The online version of “THE LEFT WINGED PARROT” seems to have silenced all comments about their slanted far left/socialist viewpoints.