Sunday, July 21, 2019

Behind the Curtain

I had coffee with Erin Logan of Balt Sun/Howard County Times recently. She had issued an open offer on Twitter to anyone who wanted to have coffee and ask her any questions about local reporting. I really enjoyed the experience, although I found myself talking way too much and I didn’t ask nearly enough questions. 

In the end, almost 100 per cent of what was discussed was off the record so I can’t tell you much more than that she is a delightful person and astute journalist and we are lucky to have her.

One question I wish I had asked is, “What’s the deal with BaltSun/HoCo Times maintaining two separate editorial boards?” Both papers are owned by the same corporate entity. Both papers are headquartered in Baltimore with no local Columbia/HoCo offices. Who decides who will be on those editorial boards? Is there an underlying worldview that each paper is trying to maintain through their editorial pieces? Or is there one person with two hats who pounds out one point of view, then strides across the room, dons another hat and says something wildly different?

I am grateful to have any local news coverage at all. But I continue to find the separate editorial board issue confusing and, frankly, artificial. I feel like Dorothy coming to speak to the Wizard of Oz only to find two long forbidding hallways and two unidentifiable images billowing up at the end of them. Who are those mysterious writers behind the curtain? What motivates them? Who is more attuned to our local concerns?

The idea that one is local and one is out of town is just silly. So, what are we to think?

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