Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Truly Disgraceful: The Saga of The Chestnut Hill Local Continues

What Others Are Saying about the Local Fiasco

In light of developments in Chestnut Hill, it is important that we realize that others are watching what is happening in this corner of Philadelphia. Is it not enough that the Lentz Policy has been effectively gutted; that the self-righteous indignation by the perpetrators of the the Local fiasco is a sad joke; that the interference by certain elements of the board strips any pretense of independence from the press? Apparently not. As Sen. Joe McCarthy was once asked, "At long last, have you no sense of decency?"

From Phillyfuture.com.
We might be utterly dysfunctional in other ways, but at least Lower Merion CAN say at the end of each day, that their local newspapers Main Line Life (www.mainlinelife.com) and Main Line Times (www.mainlinetimes.com) have an independent voice. Not so in Chestnut Hill, apparently. The Chestnut Hill Local doesn't need to be a scandal rag, per se, as it is scandal ridden.

The following article in the Inquirer caught our eye, and what we read leaves us feeling that this is a disgraceful situation.

Here are some excerpts:

Squabbling over the soul of the Local

By Natalie Pompilioi
Inquirer Staff Writer


"Black Tuesday" is what some people in Chestnut Hill call Oct. 18. That
was the day Chestnut Hill Local editor James Sturdivant was asked - or
told; versions differ - not to run an editorial critical of the
newspaper's publisher, the Chestnut Hill Civic Association.....

...The next day, Sturdivant turned in his resignation - or was forced
out;

...Less than two weeks later, Michael Mishak, the newspaper's lead
writer, quit. His resignation letter said he could no longer tolerate
the "soul-numbing" conditions of the Local, where hostility is "fueled
by the rampant lying and dishonesty that can be traced to the very top
of the organization."

....In a flash, the weekly newspaper in a quiet pocket of Northwest
Philadelphia, with a circulation of 8,500, found itself in the middle
of a storm, one that could intensify during a public meeting at 7
tonight at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill Branch.

...The questions on the minds of likely attendees: Is the Local a truly
independent newspaper - or a booster for the group that runs it? Is it
a watchdog - or a newsletter?

That is how members of one group paint the debate, saying they support
freedom of the press and the First Amendment, and how dare the
newspaper's publisher involve itself in editorial affairs? The Local,
they say, was created as an independent sounding board for the
community almost 50 years ago and should stay that way."

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