Posts Tagged ‘Times Union’

There was this blogpost that community, unpaid blogger Heather Rusaw-Fazio wrote for the Times Union site in the spirit of #MeToo. It became not visible and the site inaccessible to the blogger because the post did not meet whatever community standards the Times Union thought were being violated.

Which standards, exactly?

Ultimately, Chuck Miller posted the piece on his blog, and I on mine. I referred to it as a “banned” post.

Rex wrote to a friend of mine:

We did not, in fact, silence a woman’s voice. A woman who is the senior editor in charge of engagement – and thus the supervisor of community blogs – took the step of protecting Heather and the Times Union from a potential libel claim. (As publisher of the blog, we are susceptible to libel claims.) We are quite eager to publish Heather’s post, but we have suggestions to make it less likely that we – and Heather – might be vulnerable legally. Since we have a lot of experience in legal matters, we could advise her on this, but at this point she has chosen to remain silent rather than accept any such suggestion. It is very regrettable, but there is certainly no intent on our part to shut down conversation.

What does Heather have to say about this to Rex? This is pretty much the opposite of what Heather was told by TU folks:

There has been very little to no consistency on blogger standards from blogger to blogger or post to post for some, and I hope you take the time to read all of this and truly understand.

Is it the use of f**k? Read the rest of this entry »

My fellow Times Union blogger Heather Rusaw-Fazio posted the item below at 6 a.m. on October 17. It was not easy for her to write, obviously.

She received a note from the TU that while they’re sorry what had happened to her, her reportage was too “graphic.” Her blogs have been blocked and she’s been suspended. Per the terms of the TU bloggers, they can’t change the content, but they can block it if it is considered – and these words were circled, “pornography” or “child pornography.”

Reposted with her permission.

#MeToo

*Caution – strong adult language/topic*

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days but I haven’t been brave enough until tonight. Do I publish my story or do I simply write “me too” for a Facebook status? Is that enough to have a genuine impact? Do I tell you his/their name?

Do I share the names of the Massena NY Police Department officers who dismissed me because I was 15 and had two beers at a high-school party? Or do I share their names because they told the 21-year-old man who was enlisted in the Army that he’s a “good guy” and “doesn’t need the hassle” as they interviewed me IN FRONT OF HIM on the front steps of his house?

No hospital visit, no nurse, no female police officer – just me, three grown men, and a kid my age who hosted the party and protected his big brother even though he knew the truth. The only question I was asked by the police officers was “How much did you drink?”

It’s something that (obviously and rightfully) bothers me to this day because I think about it often. I think about the man “DM” often – his real initials. I even think about his little brother who protected him. I was friends with the little brother on Facebook for a while until he began spewing hate, homophobia, and racism as soon as Trump announced he was running for office. I sent him a private message to remind him his brother is at the very least a sexual predator if not a rapist. Who knows what he had done before and after me?

After this experience I quickly learned that sexual harassment is common, should just be accepted by women, we should be grateful someone is attracted to us, and if reported you will rarely be taken seriously by other men – and sometimes women. In the 80’s, it seemed that was par for the course and unfortunately these lessons stayed with me until my 30s.

The only “men” who believed me were two of my best friends who knew DM. They even went to his house to confront him but he called the police. The same two police officers told him to stay inside until his leave was over and then he could forget about the whole situation and put it behind him. My friends were threatened with arrest but were able to go home with a warning.

At 15, this wasn’t the first or close to the last time I had been sexually harassed but it was the first time I was sexually assaulted – but not the last. Read the rest of this entry »

Geez, I forgot to mention that I got together with some former JEOPARDY! contestants on the first Friday in May at a bar in Albany. I remember that because I had to rush from the First Friday event at my church. Anyway, nice people. Yes, and smart.

Mark Evanier writes about being The Advocate — “the functional person who handles everything for the sick person. I had to watch over their needs, get them whatever they required, intervene with the hospital and caregivers when necessary and run the aspects of their lives they could no longer handle, including personal finances. In simpler terms, I had to just be there for them.” Maybe I got a little teary.

I was going to write why I think the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement won’t be that bad, since mayors and governors and industry will step up. But with The Weekly Sift guy explaining The Paris Agreement is like my church’s pledge drive, plus what John Oliver said (or here), and what Hank Green said and what Ben & Jerry wrote and what Arthur wrote, I’m not feeling compelled.

Covfefe department: Do trademarks present an ethical violation? These probably do. Plus the swamp and failed Twitter intervention and the corrosive privilege of the most mocked man in the world.

Chuck Miller, my former Times Union blogger buddy – we’re still buds, but he’s not with the TU blogs anymore, explained in these pages in early April. Anyway, he is doing a new thing, and I am mentioned. The only problem is that he didn’t link to a certain song, so I did, below.

Chuck also writes about Teri Conroy, who also used to be in the TU blog farm. I’ve met her and she really IS a saint.

Su-sieee! Mac, one our ABC Wednesday participants: “Am I allowed to say I’m a cancer survivor when I didn’t know I had cancer?”

My local library branch (Pine Hills in Albany) gets a new art installation every few months. Among the artists this go round is Peach Tao, whose dinosaur woodcuts are really cool. I went to the opening on June 2. The art will be there until October 28.

Jaquandor has been doing his Bad Joke Friday for a while. Some are quite terrible. So naturally, sometimes I encourage him.

Albert Pujols became the ninth hitter in Major League Baseball to hit 600 or more home runs. Once I could have told you ALL the guys with 500+ homers, which used to be a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame*. But as a result of the era of performance-enhancing drugs, Bonds and Sosa, for two, have not yet made it.
1 Barry Bonds 762
2 Hank Aaron * 755
3 Babe Ruth * 714
4 Alex Rodriguez 696
5 Willie Mays * 660
6 Ken Griffey, Jr.* 630
7 Jim Thome 612
8 Sammy Sosa 609

What Does Wonder Woman Actually Represent? and Revisiting the story that redefined her. Reckon Eddie and I need to see this movie.

The first shopping cart was introduced in OKC 80 years ago this week.

MUSIC

Dustbury expands on my reference to Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.

Liverpool Plays Pepper (link good only in June 2017) and When I’m Sixty-Four – MonaLisa Twins and Sgt. Pepper at 50.

Hey, Animaniacs, shouldn’t it be 50 state capitals, plus the federal one?

K-Chuck Radio: The Adjustments of Popular Songs.

Seven and Seven Is – Love. (CM)

How Gregg Allman and Cher stunned Canisius High ‘assembly’ in 1976.

I have mentioned Chuck Miller’s departure from the Times Union community blogs, as a result of an April Fools joke, and him starting his own blog. He was doing fine, with over 700 subscribers in the first four days, far better than he fared on the Times Union platform. But then:

Last night, I received my Times Union archive of blog posts from the past eight and a half years of blogging for them. I thought everything would be fine, I simply would upload my files and combine old blog posts with new.

Unfortunately, the second I did this…

My chuckthewriterblog.wordpress.com site went crash. Locked me out for violations of terms of service.

Bottom line: chuckthewriterblog.com is currently populating, and will be up soon. But as I know from recent personal experience, it is NOT instantaneous.

What I DIDN’T get into before was the harrumphing of the Times Union. As quoted by a non-TU blogger named Sylvia:

“A community blog hosted by timesunion.com falsely reported Saturday morning that Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, would be the commencement speaker at the University at Albany. As soon as we were alerted to the post, we removed it from our site and suspended the blog. We apologize to anybody who was misled by this post, which was not written by a Times Union staff member. Even on April Fools’ Day, there’s no place for fake news under the Times Union banner.”

TU editor Rex Smith, who I’ve met IRL, and even sang with once, noted on Twitter: “Not funny. The Times Union regrets this violation of the the principle of accurate reporting. This is not TU content.”

And the WAMC Roundtable on 3 April was likewise SHOCKED. The “bogus link” they referenced was Chuck’s senior year on the local TV quiz show for high schoolers, which he’d written about ad nauseum.

Yes, I am humming, “It’s a scandal, it’s a outrage.”

Yet it was only a year earlier that Chuck had written on his TU blog, “Uber reaches agreement to come to Albany!” which made the Washington Post’s April Fools’ Day pranks: 2016’s comprehensive, updating (and upsetting) list. The TU seemed to enjoy hitting on the zeitgeist.

If memory serves, Chuck did NOT slap an April Fools label on that 2016 post the first day, though the next day he did, to avoid the story staying on the Internet under false pretenses. This was fine then for the TU, and one would have expected it would have been fine this year, instead of suspension and blocking him from his site.

Meanwhile, there is another TU community blogger who wrote in March, apparently in all seriousness, that the White House has been closed to visitors since 9/11 until 2017. I won’t link to her because she’s guano crazy. But Heather Fazio mentions her.

Since he’s done a joke blog EVERY YEAR for 8 YEARS, I’ve been forced to conclude that there is something else at play here with Chuck Miller’s suspension. I have to think he got under the TU’s skin once too often. He often advocated for more recognition for the community bloggers, including appearances in the paper, which went away and then came back, as a direct result of his nagging. Early in my tenure as a TU blogger, the TU ponied up for pizza for its unpaid community writers, but no more.

Perhaps the tipping point was him pointing out some oblivious remarks, such as he did on Thursday.

In her blog last Monday, TU staff blogger Kristi Gustafson Barlette wrote a piece about certain thoughts in the Capital District, a “When I think of…” recap…

The part that irked me? This portion.

“When I think of great blogging, I think of Amanda Talar (who is coming back to the east coast). I also think of Matt Baumgartner and really, really miss his blogging.”

Wow. When Kristi Gustafson Barlette thinks of “great blogging,” she references two people who haven’t blogged for the TU in YEARS. Not taking anything away from those bloggers – they have written amazing posts in the past – but it totally ignores the fantastic writing and observations of the Times Union’s current bloggers and raconteurs and observers and writers. Whether you agree or disagree with their topics and thoughts, they at least deserve your attention and consideration.

Maybe if Kristi Gustafson Barlette took a few moments and actually read these blogs, she might indeed find some new favorites. Some new “great blogging” examples.

I wonder if THAT was the last straw for the TU, with his ANNUAL joke – and I will say, Kellyanne, by definition is NOT funny – was just the excuse they were looking for. Or the TU can explain that how it punishes an obvious attempt at humor and tolerating this 4/1 piece while supporting actual fake news on its community pages. If SHE writes fiction, why blast Chuck?

See, here’s the thing: this story isn’t really about Chuck anymore. It’s about a BS response from the TU to him which affects the integrity of the TU organization. The thought that, as an unpaid community blogger, if the TU doesn’t like what you write, you can get kabonged without even so much as an appeal process, in direct contrast to what we were originally told. It’s also saying that the TU accept racist, xenophobic, untrue and vacuous stuff under their banner, but only selectively.

What’s the real story? See the posts by Judd Krasher, Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, Heather Fazio, and Aaron Bush.

Chuck Miller, who had blogged at the Times Union newspaper site EVERY DAY for the past 8.5 years, is moving on to a new blogging venue, Chuck the Writer. NOBODY has been a more reliable blogger, cheerleader for the community bloggers, or more active social director than Chuck.

He initiated several TU community blogger gatherings. His most outstanding contribution, though, has been Best of our TU Independent Bloggers: Ten for Thursday. Sometimes it was 12 or 20 posts – Chuck isn’t that good at math – but I always found pages I had not previously seen that were of interest.

He’s written about his photography, being a trivia maven, obscure musical tracks, the Notorious KGB, and some big life issues, among many other topics.

There were a number of issues that went into the decision to change venues, including the editing of some of his posts in the past few weeks. One of the great tradeoffs of being an unpaid TU blogger, we were told when we were recruited by Mike Huber, the former TU blog herder of cats, is that there would be no editorial interference unless it would fail to meet basic standards – no obscenity, no libel. Chuck found a clever way to work around the former with a humorous grawlix-type graphic.

For his April Fools Day post, he wrote that one Kellyanne Conway would be speaking at commencement at UAlbany, clearly as fictitious as his Collarworld columns. He has written absurdist posts on the 1st of April before without incident. The new piece, though, was not only removed, but Chuck was locked out of his own blog. I’m sure that, if he had been asked, he would have altered or removed the “offending” item.

This became what I call a Popeye moment; “That’s all I can stands, ’cause I can’t stands no more.” So he walked away. It’s not as though he can be fired; as a local band once sang, “You can’t fire me, I QUIT!”

Coincidentally, the TU portal has fallen into disrepair over the past few months. There are bloggers that haven’t posted in almost a year

If I were of the mind to, I’d tell the powers that be at the Times Union that they were CRAZY to suspend Chuck – or whatever it is they call it – over the type of post he had written EVERY YEAR on this date. He has created more visibility for the TU community bloggers than any half dozen bloggers combined.

So I’m going to go follow Mr. Miller over at Chuck the Writer, because the platform is not the thing, it’s the writing.

Contact me
  • E-mail Contact E-mail
  • RSS Feed Blog content c 2005-2018, Roger Green, unless otherwise stated. Quotes used per fair use. Some content, including many graphics, in the public domain.
I Actually Know These Folks
I contribute to these blogs
Other people's blogs
Politics
Popular culture
Useful stuff
April 2018
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  
Archives
blogoversary
Get your own free Blogoversary button!
Networked Blogs
Counter
wordpress analytics