BlogaBarbara

Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why the silence? KEYT knows who is calling!

News-Press editor Travis Armstrong put KEYT on his "A" list yesterday in a blistering editorial on an alleged memo tacked to the TV station's newsroom wall which targeted area streets where there were Nielsen ratings diary holders.

Like an obstinate child that hits their head against the wall because they aren't getting enough attention for their boorish behavior, Armstrong laments that no one is calling him back to explain themselves. Is he just naive that anyone would call him back if they know they are going to get skewered in the newspaper?

The conversation he reports to have had with CJ Ward in his editorial is telling. He leads him into the issue by asking him a question he thinks any right thinking journalist would have to answer....here's a snippet:

I had KEYT anchorman C.J. Ward on the phone last week and wanted to know a bit about his news judgment.

Did Mr. Ward think it would be worth a news story on Channel 3 if a competing television station lodged a complaint with the Nielsen ratings service about KEYT? "I don't know," Mr. Ward replied.

I found this an odd response from a journalist who touts on the Channel 3 Web site his experience as a consumer reporter. Ratings are a big deal in the TV world. They help set the cost of commercials for local businesses advertising on the airwaves.

So I asked him again: Really, you don't know? Mr. Ward then said he personally would be interested in it.

It sounds to me like KEYT did the wrong thing -- but does Armstrong have to make a personal attack on CJ Ward and others in the process? He clearly didn't call with a question about his news judgment if he knew the answer he was looking for. He even feels to compelled to point out Paula Lopez is the wife of a local judge -- does she not stand on her own?

So, why wasn't this bit of information from the News-Press an anonymous source deep inside KEYT given to a real, every day reporter on the other side of the wall and left at that? Armstrong continues to put journalism on its head by masquerading editorial for news and news for editorial.

Fine, have an opinion....but shouldn't people who don't read your editorial be able to hear about this news too? It makes me question his source and question his sense of self importance that he can't give this story to the news department....

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9 Comments:

Blogger michvinmar said...

I'm new here. I subscribe to the News-Press in hopes of receiving a primary provider of daily coverage. So far, it is weak with pr news and shallow reporting. Armstrong's piece on KEYT did push some buttons, though. I agree with the criticism within your post -- better to get a news story first and some opinion after -- but either way I'm more annoyed with that TV station news director than I am with Armstrong. (And I presume Armstrong doesn't get any decent editing, so I'll forgive his clumsiness in this case.) But what about holding this other major news outlet accountable for such perverse editorial practice? The implication is that KEYT would go to any length to spot news in a key Neilsen diary zip code rather than pursue news on its merits. Hey, why not manufacture some while you're at it? Ratings should be a measure of true service, not an end in themselves. Shame on KEYT.

2/26/2008 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Moreno said...

Really, guys, it's Travis. He's a bully -- which means he's a coward -- and his venality is matched only by his banality.

Don't read him. Ignore his pathetic little rants. I know it's hard because he tries so hard to hurt people. But don't give him any credit by treating him as though he matters.

I stopped reading his screeds months ago, and I can tell you I don't miss the aggravation at all. It's a bit liberating, really.

If you must waste any time on him, throw a little pity his way. He's a sad, miserable wretch chained forever to Wendy. What could be worse?

2/26/2008 7:18 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

I'm a huge fan of Travis Armstrong. This town needs his honest bluntness, whether the status quo insiders like it or not.

KEYT is amateur hour. They never seem to get better, but I guess that's what happens when you hire nothing but interns who usually move on. The evening news is superficial hype, and the teaser stuff is beyond annoying. The station needs a make-over from top to bottom.

2/26/2008 10:26 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

Context Mr. Armstrong.

It's all about context.

I read your strenuous objection to KEYT standards and practices.

It's pretty amusing in the context of a legal opinion by a Federal Judge regarding your testimony and the conduct of your employer.

You threw a sucker punch at CJ Ward then wrote yourself up in the paper.

So here's my question:

Mr. Armstrong, do you think it would be worth a news story in the News Press if you were arrested by Santa Barbara Police Officers?

Let me know what your answer is ASAP - I've got a blog to write.

2/27/2008 10:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

So is it just me, or did anyone else read bill carlson's comment at 10:26 and do this:

The News-Press is amateur hour. They only seem to get worse, but I guess that's what happens when you hire nothing but temp service employees who usually move on. The local news is superficial hype, and the columnists like Dr. (of Physiology) Laura and that British gossip guy are beyond annoying. The paper needs a make-over from top to bottom.

It's too bad Travis Armstrong doesn't seem to understand journalists do reporting, editorialists write commentary. Of course, there aren't many journalists left at the N-P. Let's not even ask why Armstrong thinks every person should return his calls when no one at the News-Press talks to anyone about anything. He should be thankful that any time he calls the person on the other end of the line doesn't file for restraining orders....

2/27/2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger LW said...

I agree with Bill. Travis does a great job despite the fallout that may occur by those who don't appreciate his style. I commend him for his efforts and I think he just wants answers. What's wrong with that? We readers have the right to know when people in positions of knowledge that could clear up questions choose to keep silent. Thank you Travis!

2/27/2008 11:39 AM  
Blogger aspiringdiva said...

Travis Armstrong has written some good material, but his overall behavior and some of his over-the-top personal attacks remind me soooooo much of a woman who was on our board of trustees. Whenever she felt a real or imagined slight, or didn't get her way, she would embark on an all-out war to destroy the "transgressor". Her behavior was what we used to call classically female - bitchy, for lack of a better term. (Call me sexist, but I'm a woman who was on the front lines in the battle for equal rights - even though I've always found men to be more loyal and reliable friends and allies than most women I know.)
That's my take on Travis; I'm really sad that my News-Press has come to this. I remember T.M. quite well, and there's no way this would've happened when he owned the paper. I'm glad he didn't live to see it.

2/27/2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger Dick said...

Get real people! A TV station or newspaper in this area is always going to be a stepping-stone for those who are good enough to increase their income (contracts and all that). KEYT probably spends about what it can and covers what it can, but it does local news stories. It is not an embarrassment.

The News Press has in recent months taken to writing editorials which have no prior related news story upon which to rely. The editorials seem to come from out of nowhere with no prior setting or context. It is currently a sad caricature of a newspaper and an embarrassment.

NP's editorial comments would make more sense and would serve the community better if they covered local news either consistently or completely. It seems hit and miss. One place they do well is covering local sports.

We know the NP could be better since most of us have experienced it when it was.

2/28/2008 8:20 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Yeah, and as a Santa Barbaran, I just love when KEYT teases us about a "local" news event only to find out later in the newscast that the so-called big news was some event that happened in Camarillo.

C'mon Dick. You're the one who needs to get real.

2/28/2008 9:48 PM  

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