Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Day Old Media Investigative Journalism Died

 The Last Investigators

Yesterday the Internet chatter exploded when news broke that Wayne Barrett and Tom Robbins were leaving the Village Voice.  With the large number of people commenting it was clear that we lost more than just two excellent writers.  We lost Local journalism.

Over a decade ago the Voice's power to publish a investigative story that would shake the politician or city government to the core has past. Despite the lose of power Barrett and Robbins keep the old time muckraking going with quality investigative reports that because of their institutional understand and excellent contacts produced information and connected the dots for all of us.  Barrett said yesterday, "Tom and I do things on the beat that are very valuable to it," he said. "We can read a news story that every other reporter has read and we can bring a new set of eyes to it, see it as a pattern of conduct, grasp the history, put in context. We bring a body of experience that is important to this beat." When all the media was airbrushing Al Sharpton, Barrett told the truth about the skeeviness of this shakedown artist, racial arsonist, and former FBI informer. Wayne didn't pick sides, he picked you apart: "Barrett said, It was always the conduct that prodded me to write, not the person. And that is what I lived for, a chance to say something that revealed and mattered. To me, the story will always be the thing. It is all I can see."

During his 35 years Barrett was at the Voice corporate owners bought up most media outlets and newspapers.  In a city of media owners who use their papers as a cheerleader to allow Bloomberg to change term limits and run for a third term,  Barrett and Robbins were like old time artisans, from and era when journalist were free to tell the public the truth.  These new owners are more interested in what they can do with the power of ownership for themselves, than quality journalism designed to inform the public what their government was really up to.  Our First Amendment Right.

Stepford Reporters
Today investigative reporters like Barrett and Robbins are a dieing breed, copy cat journalism is the norm.  Today reporters simply use the Internet stories of there competition to write their articles.  Any additional info they put in their story in their story is usually gotten from political flacks, lobbyist and government press offices who are paid to shape and control the news.  Most of the newspapers, TV and radio news programs  today have the same stories. Most blogs run by old media act act as cheerleaders for lobbyist, pols and insiders.  They ignore and make fun of independent bloggers like Rafael Martínez Alequín who broke the Espada rip of case years before the others A Journalist Breaks Through City Hall's "Blue Wall of Silence" TV reporters get this jobs by the size of their breast and good looks, not their ability to investigate.  The happy talk and number of stories about pets is sicking and is shown to cause brain damage in rats. Shrinking Newspaper Coverage Means Less Real TV News More Sexy Reporters

Investigative stories breaking new ground is very rear, almost never done anymore.  That is why so many people were very sad yesterday at what the Voice did.  We know that copy cat journalism written by clueless reporters with no institutional memory is the future and that our city, nation and democracy will fail because of that. 2 Veterans Leave Village Voice (NYT) * Wayne Barrett Says He Fears for the Future of Local Political Reporting * Wayne Barrett: Hail and Farewell
 Journalist Salute
Post like this appeared all over Facebook yesterday.  This one is from Dean Chang of the NYT "What the Village Voice loses in respect, stature, experience and quality can not be overstated. The same goes for the principles, integrity and heart of Tom Robbins, who exemplifies the better part of valor."

Former Voice editor Don Forst says, "With the loss of Wayne and Tom, they lost Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle." Barrett's and Robbin's departure leaves us that much poorer-and that much less protected from the malefactors who are attracted to the political process.

Fort Sumter (1861) Albany (2011)  
First Shots

Dark clouds over NY in 1st Cuomo speech (NYP) Gov. Cuomo will throw down the gauntlet for the Legislature today - and champion ordinary New Yorkers.(DN) *  In Albany, It's Business as Usual (WSJ) * Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg to fight it out over juvie reform (DN) * Relocating the speech gave Cuomo, not Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, control over the logistics, which insiders say was intended to send a message to the powerful Manhattan Democrat.* In another first, Cuomo has invited both majority legislative leaders to speak prior to his SoS speech.* The Senate Democrats’ amended post-general election financial filing shows they’re actually $3 million, not $2.4 million, in debt.* "If Cuomo delivers on his promises, which he will lay out in more detail in his State of the State speech today, he will become the most important Democrat in America whose name is not Barack Obama. He has a chance to prove that the Empire State is not a lost cause," says Michael Goodwin. * City Crime Reporting Comes Under New Scrutiny


Cuomo Lays Out Plan to Curb State Spending (NYT)


Senate Dems Civil War Also Indy Senate Caucus In The Works? * The New Amigos

Mayor Bloomberg: Senate Democratic Majority Was A "Disgrace" He's Glad To Bid Farewell

Four State Senators Bolt Democratic Conference (NYT)




True News Exclusive Report Goldsmith was fighting with and micromanaging the satiation department weeks before the snow storm

Feds digging into Sanit 'conspiracy' (NYP) * Blizzard Cleanup Is Subject of Inquiry (NYT) * Blizzard Response Probed(WSJ) * Boy Whose Treatment Was Delayed by Snow Dies * gracerauh Council Spkr Christine Quinn says Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith IS coming to Monday's blizzard hrg. Quinn will be at the hrg as well.  (Facebook) * Federal investigation underway in New York snow

Sanitmen say Bloomy & Co. are to blame for blizzard messSanitmen say Bloomy & Co. are to blame for blizzard mess"We were short 400 men and we had crappy equipment." (DN) Who In Charge?  City Hall mum on who was boss during weekend of snowstorm (DN)

For Mike, third time's the harm (DN Ed)

City Hall refuses to say who was in charge over blizzard weekend, whether Bloomberg or deputy Neither Mayor Bloomberg nor Deputy Mayors Goldsmith or Wolfson were in town.* Dan Halloran

Bloomberg's Scandal II The main contractor on the CityTime project has been slapped with a federal subpoena * Juan Gonzalez reports: “The criminal probe of the bloated CityTime payroll system keeps spreading. Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp., the main contractor on the $740 million project, has been hit with a federal subpoena for its CityTime records, a company spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.” 


DiNapoli Learns Nothing from Hevesi, Morris and Steve Rattner 

Unqualified pol Tom DiNapoli hires unqualified pol Pete Grannis to help him mind pension money

Put drone politicians in a position of responsibility and who will they turn to for high-level help? Other drones, of course. Which is precisely what New York's new attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and returning comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, have done. DiNapoli -- who won his job as the personal designee of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whom he'd served faithfully -- has selected another veteran legislator, Alexander "Pete" Grannis, to be his first deputy comptroller.Hack pols hire cronies (NYP Ed) *  The Hevesi Team is on the Pay to Play Varsity Division (True News)

Lawyer for ex-Paterson aide accused of choking girlfriend gets photos, 911 tapes


Apple's 'tour' de force (NYP) * New York Tourism Hit Record High in 2010, Mayor Says (NYT) * Flush Tourists Flock to City(WSJ) * New York's a helluva town to nearly 50 million visitors a year (DN Ed)



New York's Economic Meltdown   Insurance Study Sees Widespread Fraud in NYC (WSJ)* Fury over HS bonus  Staffers at a Bronx high school marked for closure are up in arms that their principal is offering kids academic bonuses simply if their parents fill out a survey on the school's fate. (NYP)