Archive for February, 2009

>Add this to your list of things not to do

>From the California case of People vs. Foranyic:

A police officer acted reasonably under U.S. Const., 4th Amend., in detaining a man he observed with an ax riding a bicycle at 3 a.m. A reasonable police officer, considering the totality of the circumstances, would reasonably suspect criminal activity might be afoot upon viewing someone riding a bicycle, with an ax, at 3 a.m., even though no recent “ax crime” had been reported. The officer could reasonably eliminate firefighting and logging from the list of possible pursuits the man might have been engaged in, and while there were doubtless some reasonable explanations that might be conjured up, the possibility of an innocent explanation did not deprive the officer of the capacity to entertain a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. There is some activity that is so unusual, so removed from everyday experience, that cries out for investigation, and will justify a detention even when there is no specific crime to which it seems to relate, and that was the kind of activity the officer observed.

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>Team’s gesture supports grieving opponent

>A great uplifiting story.

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>Fog slows down morning traffic

>Visibility was limited to under a hundred yards this morning in southern Darke County. Here’s what was left of the fog in Greenville a little before 8:00 a.m. [WHIO also has a story and photo]

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>DarkeJournal.com

>DarkeJournal.com is not a newspaper, but was created with the idea that the local media miss a lot of good stories. And often the best people to tell those stories are you – the readers. Got a tip? Do you have a great photo? Want to write a story about your kid’s 7th grade basketball game? Go for it. There are so many great stories out there in Darke County that go untold. Why sit around and hope that the newspaper will cover your event? Cover it yourself, and publicize it right here.

Submit your tip – your photo – your p.r. announcement – or your entire story to contact@darkejournal.com.

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>Is the Daily Advocate a sinking ship?

>On February 7, the Daily Advocate ran a front page article under the headline “Is Greenville School District a sinking ship?” The headline was met with disgust from many in the community, including a man named Joe Payne, who wrote a letter-to-the-editor criticizing the Advocate for (among other things) creating “lasting negative public relations that extend far beyond the boundaries of his community.”

Since that ill-advised headline, the Advocate has headed in two separate directions: its public position is to defend the headline as merely asking a question; but its editorial position has been (in my opinion) to rehabilitate itself with the school district.

As to the rehabilitation, it seems obvious that the Advocate incurred some serious wrath from the community. Just two regular editions later, a front page story gave the school district a forum to respond to the “sinking ship” headline. Then the aforementioned letter from Joe Payne appeared not just once, but twice (on 2/14 and 2/18). Other articles have appeared as well, from at least one board member and one administrator.

Most amusingly, in a February 13 article, editor Bob Robinson noted that “[o]ur mandate to inform the public does not allow us to be a ‘drum major’ for any entity, including Greenville Schools.” But just a few editions later, on February 19, the Advocate sported a top-of-the-fold large-font headline reading “High Five for GSD!” Do you think the Advocate might have taken some heat between February 13 and February 19?

Despite the recent friendly treatment, the Advocate’s public position is still that the “sinking ship” headline was fair. In the same editorial mentioned above, Robinson defended his controversial headline by claiming that “[w]e weren’t being negative. We were asking a question. Questions aren’t positive or negative. Questions are just that … questions.”

Well, if that’s the case, then I have a few questions for the Daily Advocate, such as: Are you, the Daily Advocate, a sinking ship? (Keep in mind, I’m not actually saying the Advocate is a sinking ship, I’m just asking a question).

On January 15, the Daily Advocate announced the launch of “advocate 360,” describing the new venture as “an aggressive approach to meet the demands of a new generation of readers.” Oh – and by the way – the paper was also eliminating print editions every Monday and Tuesday.

Two days later, the Advocate’s publisher wrote a Q & A on the new format, explaining that advertisers “have been using Monday and Tuesday less frequently for years, and making it increasingly difficult for newspapers to produce them.” Nevertheless, the publisher (in the same article) wrote that “we should have had the courage to head in this direction some time ago.”

About two weeks after that, news broke that three other area Brown Publishing newspapers (The Troy Daily News, Piqua Daily Call, and The Sidney Daily News) all decided to cut their Tuesday editions.

So wait a minute … the other three newspapers cut Tuesdays, but the Daily Advocate cut Mondays and Tuesdays. Could it be that the Daily Advocate is performing even worse than these other struggling newspapers?

And just today the Advocate reported the news that editor Bob Robinson is retiring. Isn’t that incredibly coincidental?

So let’s consider this sequence of events. The Advocate is struggling with ad revenue. It cuts two days of its print editions (double the amount of three other area papers). A controversial headline runs in the paper and appears to cause some degree of public backlash. And then suddenly the editor retires. Or did the editor really retire? After all, the Advocate put its best possible spin on the advocate 360 venture.

Could Robinson’s retirement be a simple cost cutting measure?

Could this be one of those “retire or else” scenarios?

Could this retirement have something to do with the “sinking ship” headline?

Or could there be some other cause, such as the words “Buchy” and “Advocate” being misspelled on the front page of recent editions? (see 2/14 and 2/19)

But while I’m at it, it’s mystifying that the Advocate would run such a provocative headline about the school district when many of its remaining advertisers (banks, realtors, professionals) have been public supporters of the school district in the past. Seriously, does somebody at the Advocate hate the Greenville School District? Is there somebody at the newspaper who would want to hurt future levies, for example?

Again, just questions. Remember, not negative or positive … just questions.

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>February 21 snowstorm

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>Some new views of the courthouse and Broadway

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