Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Extent of Seattle Times' Sunday convention coverage: Eight paragraphs on weather page

Proving once again that Seattle has not benefited from becoming a one-newspaper town (as the Blethen family long claimed it would), the people who put together the Sunday edition of The Seattle Times neglected to offer any significant reporting of the happenings at the 2010 Washington State Democratic Convention, which took place yesterday in Vancouver.

Readers hoping to find even a mention of the convention needed sharp eyes just to locate the measly eight paragraphs the Times did print, sandwiched between the weather forecast and a nearly half page promotional ad for food columnist Nancy Leson. And those eight paragraphs weren't even generated by someone working for the Times. They were written by an uncredited Associated Press reporter.

Seattle Times buries Democratic Convention on back of B sectionThe eight paragraphs only mention that Murray "tweaked" Rossi in her speech, and that delegates endorsed yes on Initiative 1068 and no on Initiatives 1100 and 1105. That was it. No mention of the speeches by Tim Kaine, Suzan DelBene, Denny Heck, Jay Clough, or Clyde Cordero.

There was no mention of the platform and resolutions either.

Of course, two weeks ago, when the Republicans held their convention in Vancouver, the Times saw fit to send Andrew Garber there to cover it. He wrote a story about it which ran in the Sunday paper, along with a blog post for Politics Northwest. As I remember, that story appeared on the front page of the B section (NWSunday, the Local News section).

But they did not send Garber — or any reporter for that matter — to the Democratic convention. Instead, they relied on the Associated Press, and they buried the AP story they printed on the back page of the B section.

So much for fairness and objectivity.

Several smaller papers saw fit to provide decent coverage, including The Columbian, Tacoma News Tribune, and the Everett Herald.

At least we at NPI don't pretend not to have an agenda. If we choose not to attempt to send anybody to cover a Republican state convention, we don't have to explain why. It's obvious. But the Times does owe its readers an explanation, because it claims to be objective. We'd like to know: Why did they consider the Republican convention important enough to send a reporter to, but not the Democratic convention? Do they even have an excuse?


Blogger David said...

We do have an excuse, though one that isn't particularly palatable even to me. We had a reporter assigned to attend the Democratic convention. Shortly before the meeting, there was a death in his family and he could not attend. Rather than send a substitute, we relied on the Associated Press, which we assumed would be attending. Alas, they did not send a reporter either.

In retrospect, the editors on the weekend desk made an error in judgment. But I can assure you it had nothing to do with partisan politics.

-- David Boardman, Executive Editor, The Seattle Times

June 28, 2010 6:33 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

David, thanks for the comment. The explanation is appreciated, as the admission that the Times made an error.

I do think it would have been a good idea - in lieu of having a longer original story - to put what you did run on the front page of the B section, along with a note about not being able to send a reporter as you had previously planned.

June 28, 2010 8:45 PM  

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