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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 29, 2008 2:43 PM. The previous post in this blog was Portland taxpayers: Hope you're not broke. The next post in this blog is "Priority" mail: Nine days. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, December 29, 2008

Nobody's watching

As the Oregonian continues to liquidate, offering less and less information by the month, the contribution from the kids at the Merc is also suddenly looking shaky. First, Amy Ruiz announces that she's quitting for a job as part of the Mayor Sam the Tram municipal nervous breakdown team -- a job for which she is well suited. (Full disclosure: She hates me.) Then Matt Davis, that other Merc charmer, starts writing public love letters to Nick Fish. Not to mention that at the Trib, Phil Stanford has left the building.

The politicians have got to be loving this. Just as the American media is essentially no longer covering the Iraq war, now there are precious few reporters hanging around Portland City Hall who know their derriere from a charrette and have enough guts to ask a hard question. Bad news, people.

Comments (24)

Ruiz is to journalism what Adams is to public leadership.

Ho hum, log-rolling in our time. You really expect anythign diff from most columnists who are more concerned with advancing an agenda than finding truth?

Hopefully, having Ruiz in Adams' office (former Oregonian journo Wade Nkrumah is also there) will mean that folks like me can get real answers to questions because Ruiz will know where I'm coming from. hopefully.

i hear your concern Jack. and I now feel even more pressure and motivation to start asking good questions and to start covering City Hall more closely.

As for Matt Davis. I think writing a positive story doesn't necessarily mean you can no longer be critical of the subject. I think a good journalist writes the story they feel needs to be written -- whether it's positive or more skeptical and probing.

I seriously doubt Mr. Davis is in "love" with anyone at City Hall.

Hopefully blogs will pick up some of the slack. Sadly it's unlikely that anyone will pay you or other bloggers to go to all of those boring public meetings and wade through and distill all the mind-numbing reports and other paperwork city government produces. But there's always Comcast Channel 30 . . . .zzzzzzzzzz.

@ Hopeful: I'm fairly sure that Amanda Fritz is the ONLY person I've ever met in Portland that watches channel 30... Now that she's on the inside, their total viewership is going to take a dive!

Wade Nkrumah once described the Baloney Joe's development pipedream as the "Burnside Beachhead."

A more accurate description perhaps ... but wrong nonetheless.

Sadly it's unlikely that anyone will pay you or other bloggers to go to all of those boring public meetings ...

Which is why B!X was an under appreciated city treasure.

Markalope: I try to watch the public meetings on Channel 30 from time to time, but they don't grab me the way the stuff on C-SPAN and C-SPAN2 does.

How much will we be paying the former columnist for an alternative news weekly to be a "strategic planning" advisor for the city?

This stuff would be a public embarrassment in any more serious city.

This was in the Guardian the other day (warning, a bit lefty for some tastes):

"Buy a newspaper for democracy"

I know you take great pride in saving a few pennies a day and not buying the Oregonian but maybe it's time to rethink. Papers have a role, even if it's just providing 90% of stuff for bloggers to whine about, and without them it will be a much poorer world.

I buy the NYT at the weekend even though I've read half the stories already online. Having paid money I find myself reading sections I skip when flicking through web pages, plus I like supporting the only US organization still following the money (2 trillion and counting) in Iraq. It's the same logic behind buying books at Powells, or some other local bookstore. I may be wasting a few dollars (compared to the online price), but if it means I improve my chances of being able to browse in a real bookstore for years to come it's a no brainer.

It seems print journalism is headed towards NPR style fund raising and corporate sponsorships. I guess I'd be willing to pledge the NYT and one local rag.

Matt Davis is a persistent public watchdog and will continue to be so as long as his greencard allows. After covering the sit/lie ordinance more so than anyone else, he is glad to see someone from the city seem to care about the homeless.

The Merc is good because their news duo covers stories that other outlets skip over.

Jack started going to Blogtown? Or did he just click on the link from Oregon Media Insiders and then read a few things?

The Merc is good because their news duo covers stories that other outlets skip over.

uh huh. you mean like, say, this top story?

c'mon. even the Mercury makes fun of the Mercury. scraping snarky, four-letter hipsterism into a pile and calling it "journalism" requires a serious suspension of disbelief.

Ever since Busse left, the Merc isn't as effusive about "doin' blow" ...

It seems to me that there is a formula: hip cool reporters and columnists are cheerleaders for those whom we are supposed to perceive as hip and cool themselves; case in point, Nick Fish, to whom Oregonian columnist Anna Griffin also recently wrote a love letter. Objective fact finders are ousted.

What is really scary imo, is that Mr. Fish is on the board of advisors to the Campaign for Equal Justice, along with other interested politicos, like Mike Schrunk and Karen Garst of OSB, among others. This entity, which provides funding to Legal Aid Services of Oregon,creates the illusion that it is maintaining the integrity of the justice system, when it is actually creating a perception that an historically troubled system is just.

Real whistleblowers and watchdogs have never fared well here.

You aren't kidding, Cynthia. The slightest criticism of how things are run in Portland, and the experts on "Portland being the most liveable city on Earth" (where "liveable" is defined by the number of people whose income is dependent upon the magic words "trust fund," "insurance settlement," or "grow house") will almost literally whine the critic to death. After a while, it's not worth the effort, because trying to change things just wastes your time and annoys the pig.

You learn almost nothing by attending public meetings. To a great extent, they are shows designed to impress the public. The real action occurs behind the scenes before issues ever arise in public meetings. This is why investigative reporters are so essential - they can dig up information that public officials don't want citizens to know about. Bloggers just don't have the time or training to match what good investigative reporters can do if they're not restrained by editors worried about offending their advertisers.

It was an out of state investigative reporter who finally broke up a legal racket in the Marin County California Family Law Court. It seems like local reporters somehow become part of the problem; I think it is because they listen to "experts" who are interested.

Something interesting imo is that John Kroger picked Oregonian legal reporter Ashabel (Tony) Greene for his staff. Sounds like a good combo. Hope it works out to the benefit of the everyday citizens who are being hurt by abuses.

Amy Ruiz isn't a Journalist in any shape or form. Most of her babblings in the Mercury were all too obvious rewrites of local DNC, City hall and Blue Oregon press releases. Her "story" about how Democrats won various seats in East Multnomah County failed to mention how all the Democrat candidates outspent their opponents by 2 to 1. How else can one account for a nobody like Nick Kaul that lives in a dump in Rockwood and who had virtually no name recognition winning a seat in the legislature?

Hi Jack. I got an email in New York telling me to go to your site, and I couldn't resist! [There goes my effort to preserve a "work/life" balance while on vacation—I'm supposed to be meeting my family for breakfast right now...] I'm on vacation until Friday Jan 2, but would really love to get your opinions and feedback about how best the Mercury can continue to dog city hall.

As for the love letter, in my view, Fish deserved the positive writeup this time around. If you scan through my coverage of him over the last six months, much of it has been highly critical and challenging. It's all about being fair and balanced.

Perhaps you'd like to grab a coffee with me some time this weekend? I don't mind making the trek out to Irvington. 503 502 2106 is my cell number.

Thanks for reading.

It's all about being fair and balanced.

no, it's not, unless your name is Fox News. then, it's a marketing slogan.

you see, if a journalist needs to write an article to acheive "fairness and balance" in past work, that means past work was "unfair and unbalanced." in other words, the concept is generally absurd.

though journalists debate what the role and goal of journalism should be, there's general agreement on this: be responsible.

responsible means, at the very least, this: have high standards of work. write the facts. check them. be honest. when seeking truth, report the sides of the story as best as possible.

in other words, if you're sticking to a mantra of "fair and balanced", then *make every story fair and balanced.*

other than that, writing a story to "make up" for a lack in previous work is a dangerous path, and not a very credible one.

"plus I like supporting the only US organization still following the money"

Ummm...the NYT were part of the media wank-fest that gave the Iraq war a gold seal of approval.

"Perhaps you'd like to grab a coffee with me some time this weekend? I don't mind making the trek out to Irvington."

What I wouldn't give to eavesdrop on that conversation.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
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Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
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Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
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King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
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Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
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Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
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Cheryl Strayed - Torch
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Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
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David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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