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PG: Lazy, dishonest journalism

Published Wednesday, June 23, 2010 @ 7:11 AM EDT
Jun 23 2010

Jason Togyer of Tube City Online is a journalist.

When Pleasant Hills Police refused to release the name of the driver responsible for the June 11 crash in the borough that injured seven people, he filed a Right to Know form with the department.

When police finally released the name, Jason was able to produce this story.

I e-mailed the link to the Post-Gazette yesterday.

Today, this story appeared in the P-G.

I just e-mailed the following, which you can be certain you won't be reading in the P-G's letters column:


So Tube City Online- which doesn't even cover Pleasant Hills- spends the five minutes your reporters couldn't spare to complete the state Right to Know form and obtain the identity of the driver responsible for the June 11 crash. I send you the link to the story, and the next day you publish your own version with slightly more detail than Tube City's online piece- but fail to attribute the web site as the source of the driver's name.

Some observations:

- If you didn't obtain the driver's name from Tube City Online, where did you get it? The article mentions Pleasant Hills Police several times, but is very carefully phrased. It doesn't credit the department with releasing the driver's name. A casual reader can't help but assume the Post-Gazette did all the legwork in this story.

- You are again ignoring the other important issue here- that local police are abusing the Right To Know law and are continuing to refuse to release information to the media that should be readily available without disclosure filings.

- If I were editor, I'd have an intern whose only job would be filing right to know requests with police departments that refuse to release information. The investment in time has potentially great rewards, as this incident proves. And over the long term, it could make local authorities more forthcoming. Police hate paperwork. If you would keep up the pressure, I strongly suspect authorities would eventually waive the filing requirements and simply release routine information like they did in the past.

- Not crediting the source of the driver's name is beneath contempt, especially considering the background on this story. This confirms my experience 40 years ago as a reporter for a local newspaper, who often saw his work appropriated by the big metro dailies:

- You guys are weasels.



Kevin G. Barkes


Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge.-Erwin Knoll

Categories: Hypocrisy, KGB Opinion

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