Kevin Wendt, Editor of The Huntsville Times, spoke Saturday at a GOP breakfast meeting. He noted that the Times has a circulation of about 70,000 and claimed that 76% of Madison Countians read either the print or online editions of the paper. A typical reader spends 27 minutes with the paper.
Wendt said that the Times will focus on three areas: 1) watchdog journalism, 2) usefulness, and 3) relevance.
I respect Wendt for reaching out to a somewhat hostile (but polite) audience. The Times (like the rest of the press) was openly in the tank for Obama this year, and has a history of reporting like an organ of the Democratic Party (Pravda on the Pinhook). This is bigger than Wendt, and in his defense, he is new to the job, new to the Times, and new to Huntsville. He seems to want to make The Times appealing to those of us who have all but given up on the paper.
After his address, Wendt took questions from the audience of several hundred people. There were too many questions for the time available, but here are the ones that were asked. Note that not only have I paraphrased the Q and A, but I also take bad notes:
Q – Why did the Times endorse all of the incumbents?
A – Too new to the job to answer fully, but the Times has a “history of endorsing incumbents”.
Q – Watchdog paper? What about the lack of reporting on the Jail?
A – Did a traffic ticket story (ed. – I missed the story and don’t get the reference). Hope to do an investigative story.
Q – Why should conservatives buy a biased paper?
A – We try.
Q – What is the process for endorsements?
A – Invite candidates to meet with editorial board, send reporters to events and forums.
Q – Why is The Times ignoring the Two-Year College Scandal?
A – Don’t know.
Q – John Ehinger is pretty fair, rest are biased. Are there any conservatives on the staff?
A – Recognize that Prather and Person are issues (ed. my words).
Q – Journalism died.
A – Justifiable complaints against national media. Local media best at local news.
Q – Is Obama worst candidate ever?
A – No answer.
Q – Do you think the US elected a Marxist?
A – No.
Q – Why did the Times decline to endorse a Presidential candidate.
A – Other information available from sources with better resources.
Q – Obama’s birth certificate?
A – Role of national media.
Q – Newspaper endorses Dems?
A – 10 Dems, 6 GOP, would have endorsed 3 GOP who had no opposition.
Q – Fairness / Censorship Doctrine?
A – “No need for it”.
Q – What is the Times position on Nepotism?
A – No answer.
Q – Pew found bias for Obama and Democrats?
A – Disturbed by the “national media failure”.