In short, New Albany went 334 days without a beat reporter so the chain paper could hire a particular reporter to specialize in business, and concurrently, seize an opportunity to “redefine” its approach to community coverage by eliminating the concept of “beat reporter” entirely.
Instead, there’ll be five broad areas embracing the geographical coverage area: Business/Economic Development (Grady); Education (Clapp); Crime (DePompei); Lifestyle/Health (Rickert); and Government (Beilman).
That’s right. Crime, which continues to decline nationwide, merits its own reporter, perhaps because a proper understanding of reality television demands it.
Here’s the introduction to the reporter Bill Hanson waited a year to hire:
Grady joins News and Tribune staff as business reporter; Indy Star fellow, former intern completes news team, by Elizabeth Beilman
And here’s the editor’s explanation for why all this is happening, in which she seems to suggest that it’s a waste of time to cover meetings; of course, if we’ve learned anything at NAC these past few years, it’s that the most obscure appointed boards meeting at the worst possible times tend to be the ones making the sort of decisions that impact citizens the most.
But let’s not allow that to stand in the way of entertainment.
DUNCAN: Redefining our approach to news, by Susan Duncan.
On the positive side, Duncan’s explanation of these changes suggests that Chris Morris now serves only as assistant editor, and this constitutes addition by subtraction. Surely he can’t defend the status quo as vigorously now.
In spite of the secrecy and subterfuge, and setting aside my doubts, I’m willing to give this new approach a chance. It’s possible that this approach evens the playing field with regard to Floyd and Clark County coverage, and if so, I’ll applaud it. This will be difficult, given River Ridge envy, but it is possible. Perhaps the previous era of editorial narcolepsy finally will be surmounted.
However, it won’t be forgotten how badly Bill Hanson played this hand since September of 2015.
Hanson screwed New Albany for 333 days without comment or public explanation. He is a putz, and the next time he mounts the podium to accept a community service award, a cream pie should be aimed squarely at his face.
I volunteer for the job. Someone’s got to speak for us, right?