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Tucson Citizen archive available - not quite public yet

A visit to the home page of the Tucson Citizen still displays a notice that parent company Gannett Inc. pulled the plug on the website of the shuttered newspaper, but a skeleton of the text archives is available for those who can find it.... Read more»

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5 comments on this story

1
1768 comments
Feb 7, 2014, 3:40 pm
-0 +0

I’m not knocking Mark Evans with what I’m about to say, as I don’t think his ideas were bad ideas, and I believe his heart was in the right place when he was in charge…but I would have done it a little differently.

TC was pretty much anyone could just show up and say pretty much anything they wanted for the most part. I understand that Evans needed content and, at first anyway, he probably thought he couldn’t afford to be picky.

What I would have done is ensured a balance with the gov’t and politics section. You get one lean-left guy, don’t let in another until you have a lean-right guy. You have one left-extremist, don’t let in another until you have a right-extremist. When you have too many of one side, which the TC did, then you gain a perception that’s the kind of site you are and those are the politics that you push and advocate. Whether or not that perception is fair is up for debate, I guess. But, the TC inherited a reputation as a left-wing site. By appearing to take one side, you alienate the other, and as a result you cut your viewing audience in half.

I would have also had a cap on content. I don’t know what that cap would have been, but if you get too much content (which I believe the TC did), then it becomes pretty much noise, and the internet equivalent of a wrestling battle royal or the floor of the New York Stock Exchange or something like that.

The last thing I would have done differently is spot-check for accuracy. There’s a difference between expressing opinions and outright lying. I get that Evans was only one guy. And, I also applaud him for kicking out Three Sonorans. However, Mexican-American times posted something like four times a day, and was pretty much the same thing as Three Sonorans. That damages the credibility of the whole site.

Would my ideas have made a difference? Would have it changed the fortunes of the TC? Probably not, but you never know.

2
542 comments
Feb 7, 2014, 4:28 pm
-0 +0

@Bret Linden,

The problem with your ideas is that they would’ve violated the law, Bret. Gannett’s been knocked around enough to learn their lessons on labor-law violations (or at least you’d hope so, if you were a stockholder.) That sort of editorial oversight and coordination wouldn’t be allowed when dealing with unpaid bloggers who were producing content for a for-profit company.

3
1768 comments
Feb 9, 2014, 8:49 am
-0 +0

How in the world would assuring an editorial balance violate the law?

4
542 comments
Feb 9, 2014, 9:50 am
-0 +0

Gannett was operating a blogging service - a local version of blogspot, pretty much. If they had told people what to write, how to write it, what to cover, etc., then they would have had to pay them (and be legally responsible for what they wrote). People can’t “volunteer” for a for-profit corporation, but they can use a service that corporation provides.

5
1768 comments
Feb 9, 2014, 12:47 pm
-0 +0

@Dylan Smith

I never suggested approving or denying content, I was advocating approving or denying people, based on their politics. Apparently cutting a volunteer is legal because Evans cut the Three Sonorans idiot (based on his content) and Evans didn’t get locked up or sued, or even fired for it. To the precedent was there.

One thing that can’t be denied, even by you Dylan, is that the “TC part 2” experiment was a dismal failure, and it is something of a minor miracle that the plug wasn’t pulled sooner. What they tried did not work.

Again, not blaming Evans here. He stated that he had ideas and that his bosses wouldn’t listen. I believe him. It is unfortunate. I believe the TC part 2 had the potential to be something successful, it just needed…well, not better leadership, but a leader who was allowed to be autonomous and given the authority and resources he needed to be successful.

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A screenshot of the archive of the final edition of the Tucson Citizen.

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