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« An excellent time to not screw things up | Main | Poor solutions to very real problems »

Aug 16, 2014


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Ayep. *sigh*

Janet Wright

"Move on," we did. After nearly 30 years of starting our day with coffee and the N&R, we cancelled our subscription just yesterday, effective next Saturday. We'd had enough.

As painful as it is going to be, it was equally painful reading the paper and getting frustrated with errors, omissions, and poor management.

After spending time on hold, "number 11" in the queue, the phone finally rang and was answered with an automatic, "You've called after normal business hours." Finally, Mr. W was connected with a person who took the request to cancel without even asking why. I'd planned to write a letter but never could get myself to do it. My complaints, in addition to what others have said is continued poor grammar, spelling, and writing in general. The editor's comment that he likes a "conversational tone," is reason enough for me, who prefers a more formal, accurate, who, what, where, when, why style to seek "journalism" elsewhere. I understand that social media emboldens a more casual, "conversational" tone. When I go on Facebook or Twitter, I expect that. I don't expect it from the front page of my paper. Also, if you're in the habit saying things like, "me and my husband," on Facebook or in blogs, how do you break that habit in a more formal arena.

I am, by nature, a creature of habit. My husband and I have joked about how long it will be before we come down the stairs and not head out the door to get the paper from the driveway.

We did not take this decision lightly. It's kind of like cutting off an old friend because they are engaging in behavior that you can no longer tolerate. But we have indeed, moved on.


The Greensboro blogging community should group together and create a rival to our sorry local newspaper. Bring the focus back to journalism instead of unprofessional, leftist activism. I would love to see it happen.

Ed Cone

Yeah, nothing shouts "leftist activism" like promoting professional golf and fluffing for advertisers.


There is no difference between left and right when it comes to bringing in ad money and pleasing the in crowd.

Both sides are the same thing, only different.

Both cow tow to the healthcare industry while the other face bloviates platitudes to their respective constituencies.

There will be no Mark Brazil salary/non-profit % given to charity story by Hammer, Yes or the N&R.

Our aristocracy is choking our community.


Well what do you call endless stories/letters/editorials on coal ash (which most people don't care about), Art Pope (which most non-politicos don't know who is), McCrory this, McCrory that, every Moral Monday protest that has 5-10 people, etc? It's the same agenda items day in and day out. The local TV media is the same. If it's not liberal activism, I don't know what is. Luckily, they're losing relevance and readership by the day.


"The editor's comment that he likes a "conversational tone," is reason enough for me, who prefers a more formal, accurate, who, what, where, when, why style to seek "journalism" elsewhere. I understand that social media emboldens a more casual, "conversational" tone. When I go on Facebook or Twitter, I expect that. I don't expect it from the front page of my paper." -- Janet

Those are my thoughts too. But Ed's "move on" really resonates. There's no point any more (apparently never was) in sharing the ways in which the N&R could improve. It has fallen unnoticed on deaf ears. Like tears in the rain.


"At some point someone has to acknowledge the disconnect between spending $30 million on a performing arts center while no less than four people are sleeping on the concrete benches outside the Melvin Municipal Building following a late-night council meeting."

From an editorial in this week's YES! Weekly: just one example of local alternative media.

The abdication of actual journalism seems to be another facet of Inverted Totalitarianism.

John Tasker

I intentionally failed to renew my subscription about two years ago, but do scan what the N & R puts on the internet with my coffee early. Fortunately there are other avenues for actual news and I use them. It certainly seems like a major error to see the front page dominated by what someone there thinks will sell the paper all the while the world is seething in turmoil likely coming our way if we're not watching. For example, with the Islamic group of crazies, the so-called caliphate, overrunning and ravishing a large territory of the middle east, I am expected to be interested in the name of a Washington football team? I think my example is symbolic of a news and opinion priority disconnect that will hurt us locally - is hurting us.

Ed Cone

John, I'm fine with the N&R not front-paging the ISIS news -- its franchise should be local and regional, we can get the international/national stuff elsewhere. But rather than yet another rah-rah look at the GGO -- a legit story, and I'm even fine with some ration of homerism -- they could maybe interview some of the Iraqi refugees resettled here by Church World Service to show the local impact of the ISIS story. Same with the example above about a post-Ferguson look at the equipment and tactics of the GPD. Etc, etc.

One problem with the constant boosterism: it's condescending to readers. That's been Gauger's MO from the start. I don't think he's looking down at his adopted community, just that he's a small-time/small-town guy himself who imposes that POV on the paper.


Wrote off local papers, nightly news, and local eye witness whatever in the 80's as the stuff of liberal arrested adolescence... I suppose it's getting harder to sell the tripe.

Bill Bush

Local news stories, when I happen to glance at the TV, are always something I saw three days earlier on the internet. Have not read the N&R for years, and wish it were still what it was.
Regarding stories on the statewide environmental threat and the power behind the throne, I think those do matter. What should get that space instead?

John Tasker

Now that the N & R and the W-S JS are owned by Berkshire, there must be another shoe to drop at some point. If nothing else the need for two printing plants less than 30 miles apart predicts the least efficient one of them may close. Maybe it will be the one least financially efficient, that is, has used its depreciation deduction. Anyway, in due time I believe there will yet be some substantial changes within the next few years.


Where did Gauger and/or his boss get it into their heads that small-town, community journalism means no hard news, no accountability journalism? Even in North Carolina?


Gazpacho, Grits, and Greasy Gas.


Would Chilly Potage, Polenta, and Precipitating Poots be more alliterative? Gauger shall forever be known as cold soup, grits and wet fart to me...

News & Record was just kinda meh when I moved here in 2006. It's way worse now. Amazing it is that I Q up News & Observer and am actually interested at the least and educated at best.


"it's about a story in which I have some personal involvement: the possible relocation of Women's Hospital to the Moses Cone campus.

...its contribution this morning is to sow fear and confusion by publishing without comment a bit of serious misinformation.

...The news hole is up for sale"

Ed Cone
Are you speaking for yourself or as a Cone Health Lobbyist Ed?

Elizabeth Wheaton

I'm outside the N&R's delivery area, so while I understand your frustration with yet another Wyndham front-pager ("People Pleasing Weekend"), take a peek at the online edition and you'll find that local editorial incompetence has sunk to an embarrassing new level. Three of the four articles headlined as "Top Stories" are repeats from Sunday's edition; often the articles at the top of the page are two or even three days old. Today's "in Depth" sidebar must have a dozen Wyndham articles and videos going back a week or more.

Has the N&R forsaken journalism for boosterism? It appears so. But with such an appalling online presence, one has to ask to whom they are boostering. Ordinarily this is done to entice businesses to the area, but if I were a CEO looking at online news outlets to get a sense of the communities I'm considering, a town that tolerated a days-old site would quickly go to the bottom of the heap.


I spoke with a BHMG guy during the rollout of the digital media product and he told me they have a metric to rate the level of community involvement when deciding to purchase a paper. The N&R scored a 9 out of 10, making it a no-brainer. Recently, Gannett and some others spun off their news print divisions in hopes of attracting a buyer. I expect BHMG to do the same once they come to the conclusion their recent purchases are pigs.

Ed Cone

George, not sure I understand your question, and I'm not a lobbyist, but I would be very uncomfortable seeing a healthcare system (or any business or governmental group) subsidizing news coverage in the way the N&R is allowing the arts organization to do.

Elizabeth, the online product is really bad, which makes the recent decision to charge extra for it truly baffling.

ginia zenke

Well said, Ed.

It certainly reflects the GSO baseline //can't-aim-any-higher-without-offending-anyone, of Beer, BBQ, Bluegrass and Ball, (base,basketball, or golf)

Brad Krantz

I'm on board with most of the above comments. It's sad to see the daily paper fade and shrink, literally in front of your eyes. What was the Mad Men Meeting of the Minds meeting like where they decided to go day after day with front-page,Chamber of Commerce/Mark Brazil-approved, tedious rehashing of the history of the GGO-Wyndham, which I am reminded was won a few times by Sam Snead, but now by no-name people I don't give a crap about? Back in my Rock 92 days, we called it "Pretend You Care About Golf Week."

John Tasker

Back to "waiting for the other shoe to drop" for a moment. N & R reports that their new circulation manager will handle N & R AND Winston-Salem Journal. This functionally combines the two separate circulation departments under one management philosophy eventually, sooner rather than later, if nothing else . . . yet.

Margaret Moffett

I get that my coverage of the Wyndham this year in particular seemed fawning. As I was just telling a former Jaycee president who was wondering where all the positive coverage was during HIS era, reporters here approach events like the ACC/golf tourneys with breathless excitement. Especially former N&R genius Jim Schlosser and me (resident N&R non-genius). My job this year, as was Jim's in the past, was to find a different feature story every day at the tournament. I imagined what the average Greensboro citizen might find interesting, and that usually boils down to the flashy, the fancy, the otherworldly quality these events project. Reasonable people can disagree on whether I succeeded this year/the paper succeeds on average.

Having said that ... there's a critical need for investigative stories about the golf tournament, the ACC, the furniture market, etc, etc, etc. We balance our daily coverage of the events - "Golly gee, look over there! Ain't that shiny!" - with more serious pieces. It's not an either/or. Ask the Wyndham folks if they think we're sycophants. They'll tell you we're not boosterish enough.

It's good to talk about this stuff.

Margaret Moffett

Just one more thing: Declaring the golf tournament a success isn't something Berkshire Hathaway brought to us. I compiled a few headlines from our A1 Monday coverage after previous golf tournaments:

1998: DODDS HAS DAY IN SUN: Warm weather, big crowds, courageous winner make 1998 GGCC one of best
2008: Wyndham is a win for Greensboro
2009: Sedgefield shines brightest on final day

Ed Cone

GGO definitely a legit story on multiple fronts.

But a week of rah-rah front-pagers? Not a good look.

All this said with sadness and hope, not malice. Beyond my love of newspapers and GSO, and my long happy time as a contributor to the N&R, I have good relationships and even real friendships with many people inside the Big Box, including MMB and the guys I whacked over the LTE.

Margaret Moffett

I don't feel like it's being said with malice, Ed. I know better. Though I'm technically defending the paper, I don't feel defensive in this discussion (if that makes sense).

I just disagree that this trend is new. In 1999, Schlosser and I went to the ACC tournament in Charlotte to write features. We took turns dominating A1 - he had 3 fronts and I had 2 (yeah, I kept track) - with light, breezy pieces. We've written stories year after year for the women's ACC tournament saying what a great bargain it is for families, how it's the best kept secret in sports, blah, blah, blah.

Maybe it wasn't as evident back then because we had 3X the staff and 2X the number of stories each day. Those features were balanced by more of ... well, everything. And if that's the argument, then I wholeheartedly agree that the community was served by that larger staff and that bigger news hole.

Ed Cone

Thanks, Margaret. I think your last graf nails it.


Please investigate and report on the Mike Barber, First Tee, Mark Brazil Wyndham story Margaret.


Margaret, why, when the police provide a suspect description that includes clothing, gender and race, does the News & Record decline to report the race? Your competition does. What journalistic purpose does it serve?

Ed Cone

Margaret, my delivery person once failed to get me the paper on a snowy day. Can you, personally, address that and all other N&R-related concerns in this thread, as you have clearly obligated yourself to do by commenting on the specifics of a post?



What Ed said.




Now I remember why I stopped commenting here.

Ed Cone

Seriously, I'd be happy to host an "ask the N&R editor/reporter" session here. It's something they should do themselves. Roch's question is a good one, I'd love to hear the answer, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect a commenter from the N&R to be responsible for all N&R-related topics every time someone chimes in on a thread.

Margaret Moffett

Yeah - these days I'm low in the chain o' command (i.e., the bottom), Roch. I wasn't part of that conversation.

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