Posts Tagged ‘ Newsday ’

Newsday coverage of Nassau County referendum was unbalanced

Nassau County residents’ resounding defeat of the proposed $400 million bond issue to build a new Nassau Coliseum was a clear indication of popular sentiment. Eighteen of 19 voting districts turned down the idea. Countywide, the vote was 57 percent against, 43 percent in favor.

And this despite Newsday’s best efforts to promote the deal. In the 10 days before the vote, Newsday published five staff-written stories that were solidly in favor of taxpayer support for the new arena and a nearby minor-league ballpark. Opposition views were mentioned in passing—or not at all.

  • July 21: “Labor unions step up push for Coliseum.” The story focused on the 3,000 jobs the development was supposed to create but didn’t mention opponents’ arguments that the number was inflated.
  • July 23: “Wang says new Coliseum key to LI growth.” This two-page spread reported on an interview at Newsday with Charles Wang, the billionaire owner of the Islanders hockey team. The Islanders’ lease of the existing Coliseum expires in 2015, and Wang had threatened to move the team if the referendum was defeated. The story focuses on Wang’s arguments for the deal. Opposing arguments are mentioned once – in the 27th paragraph.
  • July 26: “Wang: Privately funding Coliseum unlikely.” The story begins flatly, “New York Islanders owner Charles Wang said last night that there was no alternative to borrowing funds to build a new Nassau Coliseum.” The next 12 paragraphs described Wang’s address to “a friendly crowd of business owners and advocates.” At the end: three paragraphs quoting from an interview on WFAN with the county’s Democratic Committee chairman, who opposed public financing for an arena.
  • July 27: “Islanders ask fans to support referendum.” The paper’s coverage of a rally attended by “more than a thousand Islanders fans”—no source was given for that estimate—made no mention of opposition. Continue reading

Are the local watchdogs barking loudly enough?

Henry Powderly, a regional editor for Patch.com on Long Island and an adjunct with Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy, asked me recently to blog for Three Village Patch, the site that includes the university in its service area. I accepted, becoming one of the 8,000 local bloggers  (unpaid, in case you were wondering) whom Patch, which is owned by Aol, plans to host.

For my first post, I wrote about the lack of enterprise reporting and public accountability journalism* in coverage of the Three Village area. Nice, right? They invite me in and the first thing I do is criticize. I criticized not just Patch but also the well-established weekly newspaper in the area, The Times Beacon Record, and Newsday. Call me an ingrate if you like; I call it friendly, constructive criticism. You can read my full Patch post here. Continue reading

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