Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Well Allow Me to Retort

In response to Victor Locke's earlier comments:

Thanks for taking the time to respond to our post on MediaWatch and Kelly Gabriel. We always appreciate reader feedback (especially when the reader has been referenced in the post).

You say you stand by your comments regarding Gabriel. Okay. But that isn’t really a response to what we asked – namely, that you provide something to back up your assertion that she is “an asset not only to 21Alive but to the journalism community in general.” We also noted that the flub we detailed in our post seemed to disprove your statement that she’s “a stickler for detail and accuracy.” You didn’t refute that in your response.

You suggest that Gabriel’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get folksiness creates a bond that many viewers identify with. That may be true, but we don’t know that it is, and neither, we would guess, do you. So we asked a person with no experience in broadcast journalism (i.e., a viewer, who loyally watches 21Alive News) about that particular aspect of Gabriel’s on-camera persona. “There's a difference,” the viewer said, “between being genuine and being skilled in presenting the news.”

And that’s our point. We don’t care how nice a person Gabriel is. What we care about is how well she does her job. And we don’t think it takes someone with over three decades of broadcast experience to make a judgment on that. Insinuating that we’re not worthy of critiquing Gabriel (or anyone else) because we haven’t had a job as a professional news reporter, is something we find condescending and insulting. You’re welcome to attack our criticism, but not our right to criticize.

“Something you'll learn in time, Nathan, is that before you can inform you need to have the attention of your audience. Otherwise, you might as well be talking to an empty room.”

Spare us the lecture, Victor. We’ve been attracting the attention of a steadily growing audience ever since we started this blog a little over two weeks ago. More than a hundred and fifty people a day, from city and county government and the local newspapers and television stations keep coming back, which we think means we’re doing something right. It may not be huge, but we’ve attracted an audience, we’ve held onto it, and it's growing. We’re not talking to an empty room.

As for noting your voice over work for WPTA, we did so to inform our readers that there was still a (sporadic, as you noted) financial connection between you and the station. We weren't alleging a conflict of interest, just pointing out that the possibility existed. Full disclosure and all that. Did the Burlage comment go too far? Perhaps. We wish hadn't made it, and we apologize for it.

We're glad that you were heartened by reading something positive from MediaWatch, but we didn't approach our response to them "from the negative." We approached it from reality. MediaWatch was wrong in saying that Gabriel was WPTA's ace reporter, just as they were wrong in saying that she is "a master at understanding her assignments so that she gets the story that is the story," and in calling her a "boon to local journalism."

Then you seconded their post.

We wondered on what basis you called her "an asset not only to 21Alive but to the journalism community in general," and we cited evidence that we think proves you were wrong in claiming that she's a "stickler for detail and accuracy."

Instead of responding, you attacked our ability to criticize because we've never been a TV journalist, we've never done a live standup, etc.

But you didn't prove us wrong.

Fort Wayne Media Notes

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