Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Get real (estate)

The Freeman hosted an informative and lively breakfast meeting for many local Realtors this morning at Wiltwyck Golf Club.

We unveiled plans for a new print real estate section, which will appear in the Sunday paper, as well as an expanded, comprehensive and - if I do say so myself - impressive Internet site.

For decades the Freeman has been the go-to place for real estate buyers and sellers in this part of the valley and we expect that to continue. And, Doorways fans, fear not. That popular real estate guide, which has been distributed in the Freeman, around the region and beyond - including the big Thruway rest stop in Sloatsburg - will continue.

Our new real estate products are expected to be launched before the end of August. You'll see and hear lots of advance promotion in the Freeman and elsewhere.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mike and Sarah

New YOrk Daily News columnist Mike Lupica made his name in sports. But now the paper has him writing politics, too. Lupica was on his game this morning with this column about the departure of Sarah Palin as governor of Alaska.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nice try, Sen. Bonacic

If you reside in state Sen. John Bonacic's district, as I do, you have received a "Dear Voter" e-mail letter within the past few days.

Here's how it begins:

"Dear Voter:

"We all know that bad news sells. The media has been telling the story of State government's problems while ignoring the issues that you and I care about, and which actually impact our families.

"The local papers, which mostly cover Ulster, Orange, and Sullivan Counties, regularly print thousands of words criticizing State government, without having bothered to send a reporter to Albany to find out what was actually happening during the Senate stalemate. If they had sent a reporter, maybe the public would have found out how the New York City political leaders who are now running our State are ignoring the rest of the State and the issues that are most important to us, such as cutting property taxes and creating jobs."

It goes on. But let me emphasize what he said above:

"The local papers, which mostly cover Ulster, Orange, and Sullivan Counties, regularly print thousands of words criticizing State government, without having bothered to send a reporter to Albany to find out what was actually happening during the Senate stalemate. ..."

It's a line others - including Assemblyman Cahill - among the local legisltive delegation have used in the past.

Here's the problem:

Newspapers that do have the wherewithal to send reporters to Albany to cover state government are even more critical of what occurs there than the local papers Bonacic cites. They see the mess close up. It's one of the reasons I often link this blog to commentary in the New York Daily News, which has been right on with its hammering of the Legislature.

The last thing Bonacic should want is the Hudson Valley press nipping at his heels in the hallways of the Capitol, bugging him about his role in the recent embarrassment in the Senate. The big papers have larger fish to fry - although a recent mention in The New York Times of Bonacic's re-election vote totals wasn't particularly flattering.

Don't be fooled, voters. Yes, there is some work going on in Albany. And, yes, some legislators are earning their money. But the big story, the one accurately reported by newspapers large and small - by individual on-site staff writers or The Associated Press - is the dysfunctional state government.

Bonacic and his colleagues have some severe damage control to address. They've dug themselves a very deep hole this time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Names, please

I've written quite a bit in this blog about my disdain for online anonymity.

You know my arugment: If you have something to say, be man or woman enough to attach your name to it.

Here's a more expansive look at the subject as a similar discussion has evolved in Lawrence, Kan.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Trying to tame Tiger

Congratulations to columnist Rick Reilly of ESPN the Magazine (who had a higher profile, but presumably earned less money, when he wasat Sports Illustrated) for calling out golf star Tiger Woods.

Woods long has been the game's best player and worst sport. Yet rarely do print journalists make reference to his propensity for throwing clubs and screaming expletives when things aren't going his way. And as for the network broadcasters who cover the tournaments, there's even less chance they'll speak up and risk access to His Tigerness.

As Howard Cosell would have said, Reilly's column tells it like it is.

Always and never

Here are two words I'd like eliminated from the dictionary: always and never.

People carelessly toss around those words in a manner that suggests something definitive and clear cut, when it's not necessarily so.

"The Freeman never covers the town of Ulster anymore," a Kingston Community Radio host declared the other day.

Of course we cover the town of Ulster. Do we do so as much as in the golden days when we had more reporters to spread around the region? No. The economics of the daily newspaper business (in Kingston and elsewhere) sadly dictate otherwise. But, never cover the town of Ulster? Nonsense.

Here's another one - same radio program, different host: "The Freeman never does in-depth reporting." Which Freeman? Not the one we publish, the one with front-page space on Sunday and Monday regularly set aside for such stories and features. Again, do we do as much in-depth reporting as we'd like? We don't. What newspaper does, particularly as publications from The New York Times to the Podunk Times shed staff due to the bad economy?

Here's a popular one: "The Freeman always supports (fill in the political party; we've heard it applied to Democrats and Republicans)." And, of course, that's the point. Democrats think we support Republicans, Republicans think we support Democrats and so on. Always one or the other? Obviously not.

When you hear always and never, be wary. An "exaggeration alert" sometimes is in order.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cleaning house

Finally fed up with the state Legislature? (Finally!) Lots of us have been for quite some time Now, in the wake of the recent mess in Albany, more are coming on board.

Does that mean a voter rebellion will lead to a housecleaning, particularly in the Senate? It won't be easy. But as Bill Hammond of the New York Daily News points out, this could be the time.

Monday, July 20, 2009


The weekend tributes to and retrospectives about Walter Cronkite were appropriate and not overdone. Nothing wall to wall on cable or the networks, although this was a man whose accomplishments and importance in the world clearly topped Michael Jackson, from whom some broadcasters still can't break away.

Cronkite started his journalism career as a newspaperman, and he was never far from his roots, even when he became the nation's No. 1 TV news anchor.

I remember Cronkite speaking to a newspaper editors' convention in Washington about 25 years ago, pointing out that in the course of his 30-minute evening newscast, he wouldn't have had sufficient time to read the front page of The New York Times.

Here's an Editor & Publisher story reinforcing that anecdote.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Next case

*Are you like me and have the feeling that some of the senators vetting Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor haven't seen their questions until they've started reading them at the hearings?

*I remember thinking during our editorial board's one and only meeting with then-unknown congressional candidate Kirsten Gillibrand that she'd better serve herself if her answers were less windy and more to the point. I hadn't given it much thought since then, until I read this piece in today's New York Times. Apparently now-Sen. Gillibrand still hasn't found the self-edit button.

*Here's what drives people nuts if they are inclined to believe the media is liberal: MSNBC's coverage of the Supreme Court hearings today included a segment in which a Republican senator asked a detailed, pointed question about a case in which Sotomayor was overturned on appeal. Sotomayor seemed pinned to the wall. But MSNBC viewers will never know. After the senator finished his question and before Sotomayor answered, the network went to commercial. (Commercial-free C-SPAN and PBS are your better alternatives... and they are largely commentary-free, too.)

*I know some of my younger followers believe I'm living in the past. But I have to tell you, if you saw the corny and entertaining "Home Run Derby" TV show of decades ago, you would have as little patience as I do for today's overhyped All-Star extravaganza (which is further marred by self-promotional ESPN and Chris Berman, worst "major" sportscaster around. When Berman does a show or an event, it's all about him. I changed the channel in the first round when I simply couldn't take it anymore.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Want to know more about Pedro Espada, the man at the center of the mess in Albany?

Read this in-depth profile in New York magazine.

It's not a pretty picture.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Jackson circus

I commend your attention to this column by Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times.

To me, it sums up yesterday's events to a tee.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back in the loop

*I've sort of been out of the loop the last couple of weeks. Can anyone tell me if there's been anything about Michael Jackson's death on television?

* I hear Kingston's mayor went bonkers on the radio about one of our editorials, saying all sorts of nasty things about the paper. Maybe he's right. Maybe we're not so smart. After all, I can recall a bunch of editorials supporting this mayor's initiatives - sometimes in the face of criticism elsewhere. I also remember a couple of campaign endorsement editorials. Yes, perhaps he's correct in questioning our collective thinking. That's what you get when you know you're backing a candidate even though you know he's a serial hot head.

*The paper's running a fanastic restaurant gift card promotion. Best deal in town, really. Make sure you check out the promotional material in the print edition and be on time calling in. Supplies are limited.

*Reminder to the anonymous posters: As soon as I see "anonymous" in the lead line, I erase the post. You don't even get the satisfaction of me reading it. I've been putting my name on opinions in this community for four decades. You know who I am. If you disagree with what I have to say, have the courage to identify yourself. Otherwise, don't waste your time.