Daily Paper’s Vision Not 20/20

The Statesman spilled much ink in the Sunday editorial section vaunting its newly promulgated organization which it touts to help provide some leadership on where to take the Treasure Valley in the next century. But look at this list, chucky jam full of Arid Club/IACI members, some of whom took out ads, which were not tucked away in some other section of the paper, but boldly set forth in the editorial section itself, as if these guys didn’t have enough ink already.

The visionary group is virtually devoid of people of color, a paucity of women and fails to represent disadvantaged groups like people with disablilities. Moreover, there are no City or County planners, absent a representative for a private interest know as Smart Growth, no people representing environmental, open space, water or ag concerns, few from the arts and entertainment community, none from the religious community, and very few who would represent the poor. Much of this professional collection seems contrary to the vision’s stated objectives. Sure they throw in the occasional non-profit representative but they’re all people whose livlihood depends upon networking through these same monied interests. Almost all had the potential to throw some money to advertising in the Statesman. Indeed, to apparently emphasize the conjunction, several corporate members double as editorial board members.

Newspaper revenues are tanking and networking advertisers helps secure an important source of revenue. But the Statesmen undermines an equally vital aspect of a newspaper, its credibility, when it tries to pawn off to its loyal subscribers some marketing machination as an altruisitic method to provide leadership to the people of the Treasure Valley. Thus, whether intentional or otherwise, it appears obvious for whom the Statesman owes fealty, members who comprise nothing more than a glorified meeting of the Chamber of Commerce. While the economy is on everyone’s mind, many don’t agree that the voice of business should necessarily dominate the discussion.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. From the looks of the committee, they held their meetings in Velma’s living room. The whole thing reeked of the elite telling the masses how they should live!
    I found virtually every word insulting and demeaning! The problem centers around the fact that very few people on the committee have a clue as to how to solve the problems they identify.

  2. Serendipity
    Jan 12, 2009, 7:54 pm

    The attitudes exposed by Sis here are 99% of the time echoed by Channel 7 TV news. The dominant mentality is “business forever”, WE will tell you what to do, or WE will spin the news so that you will do the bidding of those in power without even realizing what you are doing. Meanwhile, we’re invited to kiss Butch Otter’s feet.

  3. All you needed to be on the committee was a title – not smarts. I thought it was sad that St Lukes even bought an ad in the local rag to boost about the 5 people they had on the committee. They should spend more time trying to figure out how to reduce our healthcare costs not self promoting and buying ads.

  4. I agree with almost all of this, except that adding anyone from smart growth would have been perfectly predictable with the editorial stance of the daily. Regardless, the “smart growth” mentality was well represented by Bieter’s presence.

    The mere idea of the Statesman organizing some grand vision statement made up of regional power brokers is insulting to the entire valley population.

  5. Yeah, but all of their ideas were good.
    I know they must be good, because they’re the same ones I’ve seen every time one of these groups or committees is formed.
    Same old stuff, over and over, for the past 40 years (that I know of; seems likely it was the same for the previous 40, too, though).

    Would be nice to see some new — and workable — suggestions instead. Or put the time into *doing* something instead of just having meetings.

  6. I haven’t really followed this whole vision thing much, because quite frankly, it was a Statesman initiative. And as such, it seemed and seems designed to promote their own paper. “See how visionary we are, how we care about the community, how we feeeel about things, aren’t we altruistic – buy more papers, buy more papers.”

    The best thing the Statesman could do, and they won’t of course, because it’s way too plebian, is to start reporting the local news again. Spend some time out in the community and tell us whats going on. Don’t just reprint press releases, but actually dig, do some in depth stuff and not just human interest but real news.

    I swear, there is more news made on the Guardian, than there is the daily rag and that’s just pitiful. So if the Statesman wants a vision, how about envisioning what a real newspaper would look like. Otherwise it’s arguable whether it will even be around in a year.

  7. Serendipity, I agree 100% about KTVB. They were the subject of another post I wrote the other day. I’ll post the link below. Also the cross post at 43sb has some embedded links with the actual list should folks wanna learn more. A big ole hat tip to BG for the cross post. I’ll link back.

  8. The Boise Picayune
    Jan 13, 2009, 9:57 am

    Before the Coles Administration imploded, the Mayor was putting together a “Blue Ribbon Committee” to examine ways to improve Mass Transit in Boise.

    Having extensive knowledge of the (then) Boise Urban Stages and having used some of the best Mass Transit Systems in the world over the years, I did my civic duty and volunteered.

    Only to be told that the committee was to be comprised of business leaders (of whom I’m sure none had ever set foot on a city bus), with no representation for Strap Hangers (riders) whatsoever.

    Dirty Little Secret — The compelling reason for establishing bus service to Nampa/Caldwell?

    So that Krick, inc., et al could tap an even cheaper more compliant workforce.

  9. I agree Sara and thanks for saying it. They’ve lost sight of their objective to inform and I think they overlook the role that plays in their demise. As a result I think they’re more patrician than plebian since they cater to the elite rather than inform the citizenry.

  10. Fox News: “We report – you decide.”

    Statesman (and KTVB): “We report – AND decide… so you don’t have to.”

  11. Rod in SE Boise
    Jan 13, 2009, 12:36 pm

    Good article and good posts. Keep up the good work everyone.

  12. Mass transit in general will not work until private auto usage becomes prohibitive for most people. Even then, people will sit jammed on the freeways rather than ride public transit. I have seen this first hand in cities like Chicago and Boston.

    Cities like Portland, Oregon, Honolulu, Hawaii and others have figured out the key is the avaialbility and costs of downtown parking force people to park and ride locations.

    Portland, Oregon is a model city for public tansit usage. I had no use for a car in the downtown core, to Lloyd Center, the Airport and all downtown venues.

    Boise is not yet ready for light rail but express bus services from Caldwell and Nampa and a downtown transfer site for the core area and other major employers is another matter. Busses give the system a huge amount of flexibility to meet changing demands in ridership.

  13. Tom Anderson
    Jan 13, 2009, 12:59 pm

    Bikeboy: Right on! Faux News actually reports more of the ‘alternative media’ type events than any of the other corporate media.

    What I see in the local corporate media is that they rarely report what the story actually means in comparison to past events, or other statistics.

    They tell you that crime increased by 2%. They don’t tell you what previous crime levels were, what levels are in other cities or nationwide, or of any trends. In other words they dig out and publish facts without creating useable information or allowing you to know if the information is significant or just background noise.

    The corporate media rains down facts that clog your brain with a multitude of information bits. This makes for a populace that is overwhelmed and unable to take action other than yelling at the TV on occasion.

  14. Richert is beating the drum for more people to participate while acknowledging this criticism. Lest I get labeled overly cynical I’ll encourage people to do so since the Statesman doesn’t have a very good cross section of folks and neither does that group look so terribly inviting. I mean, so many belong to exclusive Arid Club.

  15. The “Vision thing” looks white, uptight and out of sight to me.

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