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Buckley: My first and last days at the Tucson Citizen

For 22 years I worked for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, and for that experience I am eternally grateful. But today I'll write about my first and last days at the Citizen, which ended when the press ground to a halt four years ago, May 15, 2009.
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4 comments on this story

1
1770 comments
May 15, 2013, 4:17 pm
-2 +2

Normally I am rather annoyed when the media reports on itself. After all, journalistic outlets are supposed to document the course of history, and not be a part of it (or try to be). However, this is the first time I recall seeing the f-{censored } word used in the Sentinel, which is so totally awesome that I’ll forgive the annoyance.

That said, I was thrilled to see the Citizen close. With each passing year it had become more and more biased left, and the moderation of the comments section had become devoid of any sort of integrity that its demise was good for the community.

My most pervasive memory of the Citizen’s waning years was David Teibel, who worked the city desk. He is the laziest reporter probably in journalism history. The five W’s meant nothing to this guy. What should have been the most interesting part of the paper each day was filled with holes. They weren’t stories, they were fragments. To this day I have no idea why that guy wasn’t fired.

But, I do have to admit…the Arizona Daily Star has become so horribly left-biased, and the comments section…ugh, forget about it, that in comparison to that the Tucson Citizen looked pretty good…and that’s sad.

2
1770 comments
May 15, 2013, 4:20 pm
-3 +2

My use of the F word is censored, even though I read it in the story? OK, for the first time ever, I am officially going to complain about the Sentinel’s comments section. If it is in the piece I’m commenting on, then I should be able to use it, too.

Not cool.

3
556 comments
May 15, 2013, 5:27 pm
-0 +2

@Bret Linden,

You realize the same guy who moderated the comments on the Citizen is in charge over here, right?

There’s a list of words that are auto-censored in the comments, but occasionally allowed in stories, because what’s posted under a headline is seen by an editor before it’s presented to the public. Comments aren’t pre-moderated, and we don’t need blithering idiots spouting off with an endless chain of profanity. If commenters kept their use of those words to an appropriate level, it wouldn’t be a problem. But experience shows they don’t.

As it says over on the right, “Sometimes a well-placed curse word - if you’re creative enough to get it past our auto-censor - can express your point in just the right way. But we say ‘%*$& no’ to cursing for cursing’s sake. And lose the explicit sexually-descriptive language. It doesn’t contribute to the debate and there are plenty of other places on the Internet to find it.”

A quick Google will show you that Dan’s not the first one around here to get Anglo-Saxon in his reporting.

And, given their place in society, journalism organizations are as much a part of history as any other business or group. Just as with any other topic, we fail to learn the lessons of history at our peril.

In the case of media, experience shows us that local news organizations are at their healthiest, and produce the best work, when they are locally owned, with local reporters covering the news. Giant chains pay their newsroom but a fraction of their revenues, and are more concerned about quarterly results and stock prices than about the communities from which they profit.

4
1770 comments
May 15, 2013, 8:55 pm
-0 +0

Dylan Smith asserted:

@Bret Linden,
You realize the same guy who moderated the comments on the Citizen is in charge over here, right?

I was about 90% certain of that, but now I am at 100%. I thought it was either you, or some woman’s name I can’t remember…I can see the headshot in my mind’s eye, and it is pretty unsightly. Boyce or something like that. It’s not coming back to me.

And, I will say, publicly, that you have come a long way since your Citizen days. I’ve given you public talkings-to during the Citizen days, and apparently you took them to heart because, other than today, I have never been censored a single time in over a thousand posts or whatever it is. You are to be commended for that. I couldn’t give you the same commendation during the Citizen days, so double-props to you for your self-improvement.

In the case of media, experience shows us that local news organizations are at their healthiest, and produce the best work, when they are locally owned, with local reporters covering the news. Giant chains pay their newsroom but a fraction of their revenues, and are more concerned about quarterly results and stock prices than about the communities from which they profit.

I’ll agree with this paragraph, and I’ll add to it if I may. Generally speaking, local reporters are more passionate about goings-on in their own community as opposed to those hundreds or thousands of miles away. Thus, in many cases the research will be more thorough, better questions will be asked, and the stories will be more complete if investigated my local reporters. This is why I like the Sentinel. The Sentinel doesn’t cover a lot of local issues (which I personally blame on a lack of staffing rather than a lack of passion), but the local stories that the Sentinel does cover and much more thorough, well-researched, and unbiased. Much more so than the Arizona Daily Star, and, yes, much more so than the Tucson Citizen in its waning years.

I’m not saying this as a shill Dylan, but I think perhaps you’re being too modest here, or perhaps you’re still personally attached to your former coworkers and don’t want to unintentionally belittle them somehow…but the Sentinel is far superior to the waning years of the Citizen is pretty much each and every measurable way. Instead of publishing a piece every may about the Citizen, maybe you should publish something annually about the direction the Sentinel is going.

Let the Citizen go. It is dead, and that really is better for everybody.

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