Ground control to Major Bill

I hate when this happens. Bill Bauman, President and General Manager of WESH-TV in Orlando, has a more-than-slightly skewed concept of blogging and bloggers, as demonstrated in a letter to the editor of the Orlando Business Journal.

The history: Mike James of NewsBlues (An online daily newsletter of happenings in the TV news biz — Subscription required) wrote an item on July 11th about the station’s hiring of Bob Fein from Philly’s KYW-3-CBS to be VP/station manager and director of sales. The story referenced unnamed “insiders” and suggested the owners of the station, Hearst-Argyle, were unhappy with Bauman’s performance. The Orlando Business Journal’s online column “The Buzz” followed suit with an item quoting the NewsBlues piece in its July 25th edition. (This item has since been removed from the column.)

The letter:

I am writing to take exception to your article about me in the July 22–28, 2005, “The Buzz” column. There are two problems with this article:

1. It is untrue. Rather than “being gone by the end of the year,” my company offered, and I have accepted, a new long-term contract to remain as president and general manager of WESH.

2. Orlando Business Journal reprinted the writings of an Internet blogger. As you may know, bloggers are not journalists, nor are they held to the standards that my television station and your newspaper are held to. Bloggers make things up. (Emphasis mine-TH) It is surprising a newspaper of your credibility would simply reprint an Internet blog without any attempt to verify its accuracy.

Orlando Business Journal occupies an important niche in our community. It is disheartening to see your newspaper behave in such a journalistically unprofessional manner. Our business community deserves better.

Bill Bauman,
president and general manager,
WESH-TV Channel 2

This is sad. It’s typical of the mind-numbing ignorance rampant in the mainstream media world as it relates to blogs and bloggers. First of all, NewsBlues doesn’t even pretend to be a blog, so WTF? Secondly, “Internet blogger?” …as opposed to, say, a broadcast blogger?” What, pray tell, is an Internet blogger? Thirdly, “Bloggers make things up?” This is so off-the-wall that it’s fallen into the moat! Where do people GET these things?

I can’t speak to the validity of James’ original piece, but that’s not the point. Why take it out on bloggers in such a haphazard way?

I can understand that Mr. Bauman is pissed and that the new contract justifies a snarky letter to the editor. But he doesn’t do himself, his company, or our industry any favors by spouting off such broad-brushing nonsense. He has ignorantly stumbled into that which he finds so abhorrent — falling below the standards to which he espouses. Let’s hope he takes a little time during that new long-term contract to explore what’s actually taking place around him in cyberspace. Then perhaps he won’t come off as such a, well, dinosaur.

(I wish I had a client in Orlando! WESH-TV is a sitting duck.)

Comments

  1. I worked at a station where the GM was given a golden parachute and long term contract renewal — two months later, gone. Renewals and parachutes are just a business expense.

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