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Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Duke Case: Pablum Pukers Keep Puking as They Croak

Did the Durham Herald-Sun try and regurgitate some old Duke lacrosse news to fabricate a new controversy? John in Carolina makes a very compelling case that is indeed the situation.

It sure looks like The Herald-Sun tried to spice up a previously digested story about spurious DNA on a towel found at the Duke lacrosse house and pass it off as new news in their story: "Lawyers haggle over DNA matches."

Shame on the Durham Herald-Sun.

John in Carolina then hammers The News & Observer for their shoddy coverage of the Blinco Sports Bar assault story.

People on the message boards have been talking about the potential police coverup at Blinco for awhile now. But, it doesn't seem that important a story to the local newspapers.

Do you see a trend here?

The internet and guys like Craig Newmark of craigslist are eating the classified ad revenue and readers that in the past allowed newspapers to operate as Le Grand Fourth Estate. Are newspapers now running on fumes? As John points out:

Editor Bob Ashley came to Durham less than two years ago. His first act was to fire scores of dedicated, honest journalists and others like them who worked at the Herald Sun.

Ashley told the community not to be concerned. “Just wait until you get to know me,” he said. "Wait until you see what I do with the paper."

Well, people in Durham have. And guess what? The paper's circulation is down more than 25% since Ashley took over, and by all reports circulation's continuing to decline.

Fire old expensive journalists, hire fewer new inexperienced reporters for low wages, and pretend all is well in newspaper land. The reality is that we are probably expecting too much from these local newspapers like the Durham Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. The newspaper business ain't like it used to be. Newspapers as businesses are going belly up, how can anyone expect good solid journalism out of them anymore?

Recently we asked the question: where do we find new Ben Bradlee's, Bob Woodward's, and Carl Bernstein's? The fact is that there won't be newspaper people like that anymore. The real investigative work will probably be done by producers on cable news channels and passionate bloggers.

The Duke lacrosse rape hoax is the canary in the newspaper coal mine. It signals the beginning of the end of local newspapers as credible forces in serious investigative journalism.

Someone play taps here.

Duke lacrosse: A fake Herald Sun story? [John in Carolina, Aug 1, 2006]
Lawyers haggle over DNA matches [HeraldSun.com, July 31, 2006]
Blinco police assault story makes the N&O blink [John in Carolina, Aug 2, 2006]
My Trip to Blinco's - Potential Coverup? [Boards.CourtTV.com]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]