News Media

Ace Reporter Leaves Daily Paper

Good news for Boise’s Team Dave and the Ada Commishes: Brad Hem of the Daily Paper is moving to Texas. Bad news for readers and citizens.

Hem covered the city-county beat for almost 5 years and racked up an impressive record of solid journalism and clear, factual writing. He covered the demise of Brent Coles and the others who left office in shame.

Had it not been for the Brad Hem interview with City Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt over a closed door meeting with the Ada Commishes, we wouldn’t be in the middle of a legal “clarification” of Idaho’s open meeting law. On more than one occasion he questioned officials about the technicalities of meeting behind closed doors.

He will join the staff of the Houston Chronicle in Texas covering business news.

In an exclusive GUARDIAN interview, Hem disclosed that staffers in Mayor Dave Bieter’s office–and sometimes Bieter himself–would call the Statesman publisher or editor and complain about coverage if it wasn’t all positive.

“It is a form of intimidation to have Michael Zuzel call your boss and complain. That office (Team Dave) can be punitive if they aren’t happy with the news coverage,” said Hem.

Katy Kreller, currently covering Meridian, will take over the Boise Government beat. Give her your best ideas and help before she gets overwhelmed by the politicos and their PR machines.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Bert Farber
    Sep 28, 2006, 3:40 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed the Brad Hem byline.
    Good Luck in Texas, Brad. You’ll need it during those sweltering Houston summers.

  2. Good luck to Brad! Houston really is a miserable humid and smelly place. But, it’s all about career enhancement.

  3. Best of luck Brad, local journalism will miss you.

  4. I’ve heard there are 2 kinds of people – Texans and those who wish they were. (Snort! Snort!) Brad leaves one group and joins the other. Yeah, I’ll miss his journalistic abilities, too. Will the celebration reception be held at City Hall, or the palatial Ada County building?

  5. Well it is nice to know that Bert and Tam not only can find things here in the Valley bad, but now are spreading their good cheer to Houston.

  6. What a loss to Ada County readers! Brad was accessible, easy to talk to, and he tried hard to get the facts straight, which is more than I can say for some of the people he covered!

    On several occasions, Brad also resisted the temptation to apply for the County’s PR position (with its higher salary) and instead chose to stay at the local paper. In his own way, Brad served the public, rather than allowing himself to be bought off by the people he tried valiantly to cover.

    Best of luck to Brad, although I really can’t see the appeal of covering business news in Houston compared to covering Boise City and Ada County government here in Idaho! 😉

  7. “He covered the demise of Brent Coles and the others who left office in shame.”

    Before people forget, it was Mike Keckler and John Hanion from KBCI who owned that story. Hem and his paper was always in catch up mode. To be fair, playing catch up to KBCI was better than KTVB, which was in denial and barely covered the scandal (which is why Coles gave KTVB the exclusive interview the day he resigned).

    EDITOR NOTE–Osprey is correct. Hem did indeed cover the scandal, but it was KBCI that had the guts to break it in the beginning.

  8. Mike Keckler is gone on to other things and where is John Hanion? I don’t quite understand why some of the best reporters quit being reporters except from the little I know about broadcasting is that the employees are supposed to live off the glory of it all. I have enjoyed Brad Hem….does his leaving say something about the new ownership?

    EDITOR NOTE–He is making a new life, a new job, better pay etc. We see the news people as the best educated migrant workers in Idaho.

  9. Saying that the Statesman and/or KTVB were in denial or didn’t cover the story is absolute bull. Both organizations turned in dozens of stories – and BOTH organizations BROKE MANY angles of the story (KTVB that Coles & crew went to Disneyland on the city dime, the Statesman was first to uncover the P-card mess – among other things).

    The DIFFERENCE is that the two credible news organizations in town didn’t look at the story as a way to boost ratings – they looked at it from an OBJECTIVE angle. Something journalists are SUPPOSED to do.

    KBCI did some heavy lifting. No bones about it. They also had several inside “moles” including a building maintenance worker (the source of “the” tape) and a member of the mayor’s office (who again I will leave unnamed). Good for them – having strong sources is important. But it makes the work the Statesman and KTVB did all the more remarkable – no inside snitch feeding them tapes.

    KBCI chose to play up scandal over objectivity. It’s not a big surprise that the ratings didn’t go up during the coverage (as they had hoped)… but rather went down.

    PS – Hanion is still at KBCI. He runs the desk.

  10. Oh – and by the way: KBCI put the story on its 5:30pm newcast that December day. A press release went out at 5:24pm. KTVB had it at 6 and the Statesman the next morning.

    Let’s not rewrite history Osprey.

  11. Why is that some just can’t seem to let go of yesterday? Why don’t we worry about the junk that is being shoved down our throats TODAY!
    I have respected Brad’s efforts and wish him the best for the future. (Although I hope, given where he is headed, It is for a LOT more money)

  12. The guardian got it right, describing news people as the best educated migrant workers in Idaho.

    Too bad about The Mistakesman losing one of its best; here’s hoping some of the many new names in the news bylines rise to the challenge and join The Guardian in trying to clean the dirty linen of our elected and appointed servants.

  13. Not Dave has a lot of things not right about the Coles scandal and KBCI, especially that bull about playing up scandal over objectivity. The DuPont and Murrow people didn’t see it that way when they handed out the awards. But, heck, it’s old news by now. You’re only as good as your last story. Anyway, just to be clear. Jon Hanian is our managing editor (and still does investigative pieces), Jeff Ray runs the assignment desk, and the news director is Mark Browning.

  14. It was Brad’s willingness to listen, and publish, the rants of an unheard of east end resident that gave credence to the movement in opposition to the residential development of Hammer Flat.

    And, it was a conversation with Brad that formed the basis for my complaint against the Commissioner’s illegal executive session, and their subsequent self destructive defense of the same.

    Let’s hope katy Kreller is similarly blessed with an eye toward a good story and the legal requirements of public officials.

    And, in November, let us also provide Katy with a set of county commissioners that are easier to work with and report on.

  15. At least he will be able to get some real barbeque down there. Might get to experience a hurricane too. Hope he digs big hair.

  16. Inside City Hall
    Sep 29, 2006, 6:39 pm

    City Hall (mayor and council) is hoping that with Brad gone they get better press and have to explain less. The spin-doctors are very happy about the move.

  17. Scandal sells Logan. Awards go to the most salacious.

    If it wasn’t being done for unpure reasons – why the submission to DuPont, Murrow, IPC, ISBA and others?

    Ratings and awards. The name of the game.

    Fairness and objectivity? Certainly not.

  18. Not Dave raises some good points, especially because the points unwittingly reinforce my argument that KBCI lapped the field covering the transgressions of the past administration at City Hall. Not Dave points out that KBCI had the sources, worked the beat harder, and got the money shot of our former Police Chief helping return the ill gotten goods. And they got the Murrow award. Scoreboard. If you have the sources, the evidence and the awards, what’s left?

    Oh ya, KTVB got the Disneyland story, so that’s their little pelt on the wall. It was not a factor with the Grand Jury and the ultimate convictions.

    As for the salacious, I tip my hat not to KBCI but to the Idaho Statesman because I think they first reported the story that Lyman and Rice had sex in the Depot. But I don’t think Hem nailed that one. I think it was Rocky Barker.

  19. First off, Good Luck Brad. You will be missed a lot by some and not so much by others. You are a spunky lad and will no doubt do well in Texas.

    As for who wrote what and when was it broadcast…

    KTVB did whatever it could to NOT cover the story. They have NO objectivity whatsoever. Coles and the gang were part of the club of infidels that really run Idaho and KTVB is a major part of that surly snaggle of snits.

    Proof of this is in how long it took KTVB to actually do something on air of any real substance. The folks at channel 7 were too busy figuring out how to spin the Coles mess to get a real story with facts out there.

    Hanion and guys like Hem were actually investigating while KTVB was just reporting.

  20. “Surly snaggle of snits.” I like that. Channel 7 is really pretty pathetic. The management seems never to have met a crook they couldn’t like. It seems they are always making “nicey-nice” as if they think their viewers are all under ten years old. Also we have noticed that station rarely has any employee turnover and are curious why that is so when other stations have a fairly regular change of faces on air. Not that keeping employees around is a bad thing, just odd in the broadcasting industry. I expect someone out there knows the answer.

  21. One of my favorite things to watch is how on a slow news day the news folks talk about the greatness of the news industry….as if the public actully cares….This article reminds me of when a professor moves on to another school….who cares! More news less chatter.

    G sould be careful not to become too mainstream…this place also seems to have lots of input from industry types…hmmmm.

    A bigger concern is why did Hem move on? The local paper must be hittn’ bottom if it’s losing it’s best. That’s news, and that’s not good for democracy.

  22. J and all,

    Ace reporter, Brad Hem, is leaving for a perfectly normal reason. It has to do with following his heart.

    I agree, the local paper IS hitting rock bottom but that is not what is making Brad move on.

    Could it be that the local paper is becoming overly cautious? Think about it. Whenever they print a critical piece about anyone, they get threatened with lawsuits, the pulling of advertisements, and general havoc.

    Would you go after hard news if that was hanging over your head?

  23. Ferris B asks: “Would you go after hard news if that was hanging over your head?”

    The GUARDIAN DOES go after hard news! That is what the newspaper business is (supposed to be) all about.

  24. Sharon,

    The point I am trying to make you made for me rather well. We have all begun to transition away from standard media outlets by turning to the internet.

    The BG can go after hard news precisely because there is no ad revenue at stake.

  25. We will all miss Brad … he was a great journalist and a great guy!

  26. All this uninformed speculating I guess is exactly what the “blogosphere” is all about. But it sure ain’t about reality and the facts.

    The Statesman doesn’t publish or not publish things due to their ability to generate or not generate ad revenue. That simply isn’t how decisions are made in the world of U.S. daily newspapers, and the Statesman is no different.

    The Guardian is great – but let’s not pretend that it comes anywhere near the depth or comprehensiveness that the Statesman does on a daily basis. Hence, advertisers are willing to pay to get their ad in the newspaper.

    Proof that print media is NOT dead? The departure of a reporter from the daily newspaper gets blogged about. ‘Nuff said.

    Oh, and my understanding is that Brad left to pursue professional and personal goals. Good for him. It isn’t because the paper has hit “rock bottom,” far from it, I believe that The Statesman is as good as it’s been in the 3 years I’ve lived here.

    EDITOR NOTE–Joe is correct about the GUARDIAN vs STATESMAN role. GUARDIAN tries to stimulate intelligent discourse and thought by offering a different perspective. We could never “cover” the news, but often offer up stories the mainstreamers miss or refuse to cover–for whatever reason.

  27. Let’s “offer up stories the mainstreamers” aren’t covering, “for whatever reason”.

    My offering is concerning voting for one or more people to become an Ada County Commissioner. I like Sharon Ullman. I voted for her before and I will vote for her again. What happened to her between her first stint and her current run?

    Has everyone received their Idaho Voters’ Pamphlet in the snail mail? I was reading it too late into the night and would like to know what it really means. There is so much legalese and bait and switch in there that I got dizzy, not that it takes much anymore.

    Thank you all.

  28. Thanks to the Guardian and the rest of you for your kind words. I already miss Boise, especially as I sit here in 80% humidity.

    Just for the record, I did not leave the Daily Paper because it is going downhill. I actually think they are on the right track over there, and as you’ve already noticed, Katy Kreller is having no problem filling my shoes, which are only size 11 by the way. For me it was a chance to move to a major metro and be with a very special lady. It’s worth the humidity! Plus, my pathetic Cubs will come to town a few times a year.


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