Citizen McCaw 1

by davidamelotti

The central topic of discussion for this post will be the words of Jerry Roberts’s comment that journalists “are in the truth business.”

That seems to be common sense to the average person who understands journalism as the reporting of newsworthy information to the general public. Unfortunately, when ownership/management enforces a certain method of how to report on news, conflict is only expected.

A question of concern is how that view (the words of Jerry Roberts’s comment that journalists “are in the truth business.”) can conflict with the business of making a profit or the publisher’s other interests?

Although there are a myriad of situations presented that displayed Wendy McCaw’s poor decision making presented in the documentary, one particular scenario caught my attention involving Rob Lowe. Lowe, a friend of McCaw, was attempting to have a larger house approved in the Santa Barbara area by pleading his case to the Zoning Commission. Interestingly enough, this made the News-Press which sent McCaw into a holy terror. One may find it admirable to protect one’s friends but it is simply unethical to manipulate the distribution of news information to the public when a matter occurs that does make a significant impact in the local community.

As far as making a profit, it may be a fair assumption that profit as the end result was the only thing in vision for McCaw as the quality of the paper declined, and the dedication of staff also experienced a toll. When reflecting over the footage shown in class, it is fair for one to question of McCaw herself ever questioned if she had an obligation to the public. Were their standards which she was subject to follow with so much power? Her brand was the daily product and at this point, it seems as if she was willing to sacrifice her public image for satisfaction and financial extravagance.