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Mixed (Up) Media - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Mixed (Up) Media
Odd things going on around here and being mentioned in the media this week- one, possibly, directly related to Eleanor's job.  Her boss was on vacation last week, and sent a late-night email to her store account late the Sunday night before it began. Boss Lady was rather worried about their store being due for a county Weights and Measures audit of their barcode-and-shelftag system.  That inspection never arrived while Boss Lady was away last week, nor did it happen this week.  Today's daily paper may have explained why:

At a subsequent meeting of the Finance and Management Committee, Edwin Gonsiorek, director of the county’s weights and measures division, rebuffed lawmakers’ invitation for the third straight time.

“At this point, I’m shocked that Mr. Gonsiorek chose not to appear today,” said Legislature Majority Leader Joseph C. Lorigo, C-West Seneca.

“We had sent him correspondence that we would subpoena his appearance if he didn’t show to today’s meeting,” added Lorigo, who also is chairman of the finance committee.

In a comptroller’s report released in June, Gonsiorek was accused of presiding over a division that routinely issue fines on local stores based on inspections that were never actually conducted.

County Attorney Michael A. Siragusa said he advised Gonsiorek to attend, but could not compel him to do so. A career civil servant who has worked nearly three decades for the county, Gonsiorek is also a member of the Civil Service Employees Association, whose leadership advised him not to appear, Siragusa said.

The "comptroller's report" referred to was one done at the county level by the guy elected to that office in 2012, coming from the previous Republican county executive's staff and, before that, from the top-rated TV news team in town. His predecessor in the comptroller's job, a Democrat who ran for and won the county executive job in 2011, just blasted the former Channel 2 reporter for incompetence and attention-hogging in connection with the "audits" he routinely publicizes at grandiose press conferences.

It got me wondering about something. Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the right-wing noise machine, are always complaining about the "mainstream media" being biased towards liberal Democrats, yet every candidate I can think of who entered politics from on-air media has been recruited and supported by Republicans. In addition to Stefan the Wonder Comptroller Boy, that list includes Maggie Brooks, the head of county government in Rochester; Rich "Bad Hairpiece" Funke, currently leading in a race in that area for State Senate; Kevin Hardwick, a  former on-the-media show host on Buffalo talk radio; and, the latest and least great, Kathy "Clownshoes" Weppner, whose on-air Teabagger rants were so crazy she scrubbed every reference to them from her website and even the Wayback Machine archive.

Projecting, much?


The other local media stories of the day concern shifts within the current corners of it.  First is one which concerns TV news, which I follow very little of on the air but still find interesting in terms of the trends they reflect.

In my original time here and for at least the first half of our 20 years here together, the ABC affiliate ruled the local on-air news business. Even Jim Carrey remembered the heyday of Eyewitness News (carried on Canadian airwaves when he was a kid) and used it as the news crew employing his character in Bruce Almighty (about the only aspect of Buffalo which was accurately pictured in that film). But eventually, the station got sold to a hedge fund, which merged it with "assets" in other cities and eviscerated its staff, equipment and legacy. Channel 7 was just, finally, sold to a respected legacy media company, which is launching a comeback, hiring many experienced and respected people from both on- and off-camera, many of them from the CBS affiliate. 

That station, Channel 4, was always good early on, and became the best for many years after 7 declined and while the NBC affiliate in town was a longtime distant third.  But now Channel 4 is also owned by a hedge fund, and has brought in a general manager with a cut-and-destroy reputation to increase the net asset value, and in so doing may allow Eyewitness News to return to prominence.

It's enough to make you wonder just how smart these pistol packing punks from the hedge fund really are.


About as far as you can get from TV news is the far friendlier world of alt-weekly reporting, which is also going through a big change here.  I'd noted a few weeks back that both the print issues and blog entries of Buffalo's main weekly paper were getting thinner and thinner on good coverage of non-arts stories.  Now, there may be an explanation: much of the paper's staff has just defected to a new entrant in the field.

A weekly paper called the Public is being launched next month – and it’s taking dead aim at Artvoice, the nearly quarter-century-old publication.

Most of the staff and contributors to the new publication are coming from Artvoice’s own ranks, and it is headed by Geoff Kelly, the former Artvoice editor who resigned in May. Like Artvoice, the new weekly will cover arts and culture and local news.

“It’s a mass departure,” said Cory Perla, Artvoice’s music editor who worked his last day Friday, and is one of five investors in the new enterprise with Kelly, Aaron Lowinger and two investors who declined to be named.

“I think many of the employees lost faith in the publication in the last year. There were some internal conflicts which led to the departure of two main characters, Geoff and Deb Ellis. And after they left, things started to look bleak.”

Deborah Ellis was the sole owner of Artvoice and the executive assistant to publisher and founder Jamie Moses, her long-time partner at the time. After Kelly and the other public investors discussed buying the paper from Ellis, she decided to transfer ownership of the shares to Moses, who assumed legal ownership of Artvoice for the first time in the paper’s 24-year history.

But in the past two weeks, Artvoice has been racked by resignations. Among the longtime staff and contributors who have left besides Perla are film critic Michael Faust, who writes under the pen name “M. Faust”; head designer Amanda Serriera; graphic designer Billy Sandora-Nastyn; and advertising representative Cy Alessi. Bruce Fisher, an Artvoice columnist Moses let go in May, will also be joining the new weekly, along with columnist Michael Niman and others from Artvoice’s past, including former columnist Bruce Jackson and former photo editor Nancy Parisi.

Those are many of the names I regularly follow and respect (some of them cited here from time to time). I hope this divorce doesn't end with neither side managing to thrive, but that's often how these stories ended even when Internet competition wasn't what it is now.   And if it doesn't work out? I suppose the Republicans can always get them to run for office for them:P
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