Thoughts From the Bullpen
By Craig Sherwood
It has been a whole month since I have written to you, but some things just need to be said.
To start with, I want to thank the thousands of readers who ‘liked’ and re-tweeted the column I did recently about the five Burbank teens killed in the tragic car accident. Many in the community also gave me their personal thanks. I did not expect such an outpouring but it was certainly appreciated.
Friday night was Magnolia Park’s “Holiday in the Park” celebration and the myBurbank staff was located near KFI’s and Magnolia Park’s honorary mayor, Tim Conway Jr., as he broadcast his show live from the UMe Credit Union parking lot.
We gave out some swag and were once again bombarded with people who said they loved our website and that they are constantly checking in to find out what is really going on in Burbank.
With our numbers rising by 20% EVERY month and our Twitter followers now surpassing the Leader’s for breaking news in just seven short months, I think we are on the right track! What’s funny is that more than half of our staff are ex-Leader (or Daily Review) employees who all tell me the same thing about their Leader days and are glad to be covering real Burbank news now.
Most people told me how happy they were with us because they no longer read the Leader and I have to admit, I agree with them. I stopped subscribing to the Los Angeles Times (which is the only way to get a Leader, not including news racks that NEVER have papers in them much like the seldom published Burbank Times) about six months ago because it was not worth the money for a 10-page or so newspaper with little local advertising or classifieds twice a week.
In fact, the LA Times website says they only have at most 6,677 subscribers as of 2009 (National Newspaper Association 2009 Annual Readership Study) and I am sure they have lost more subscribers like myself during the past four years.
Why bring all this up?
To start with, I was really surprised when Burbank Leader editor Dan Evans slammed a local blog. I really wondered why the Burbank Leader, which is owned by the Los Angeles Times, which is owned by the Tribune in Chicago, would go after a local blog on the internet.
Most people who follow news regularly are aware of the Semichorus site (probably half of the 6,000 who actually take time to vote in our local elections) but most people have no idea.
So why would the powerful World Champion (as Jim Healy, RIP, would call the L,A. Times in its heyday) worry about a local blog or even acknowledge it? It seems it hurt Evans’ feelings and he felt the need to lash out.
Yes, myBurbank has had attacks too. But I just look at the old “any publicity is good publicity” motto (just ask the Kardashians!) I stand by what we do and we do the best we can with our limited resources compared to that of the Times (where the Leader staff is now housed).
Do I agree with the blog? No, although some times things are brought out by people who need to be anonymous because their jobs might be on the line and I don’t care about whistle blower laws because the people who talk are always punished some way.
I honestly feel the Semichorus blog is like a Rush Limbaugh show; they just say things to make people talk and keep coming back. It’s kind of like Howard Stern when they did a survey about listenership. People who liked him listened because they wanted to know what he was going to say next and people who hated him listened to him because they wanted to know what he would say next!
This is America, the greatest country in the world and because of that, people like Semichorus have the right to say what they want to unless they libel someone. There are many things I do not like in this country but I respect the right of those to say it.
I have the choice not to read or watch it. I would rather have us turn our attention to American flag burners or groups that protest at our brave Veterans’ funerals than worry about someone’s blog.
It’s too bad the Burbank Leader does not spend more time worrying about covering Burbank then reading blogs. On Sunday I saw a story on the Leader website (written by a Los Angeles Times reporter) with the headline “Metrolink train strikes pedestrian in Burbank, severing his arm“. I was shocked that our incredible staff had not known about this major Burbank story.
The reason…….IT DID NOT HAPPEN IN BURBANK!
It happened on the railroad tracks over the 170 Freeway. No where near Burbank. The train had come through Burbank, so I guess that made it a Burbank story in their world??? Yet the accident did not happen in Burbank.
In hard hitting journalism style, they even interviewed a rider who got on the train at the Bob Hope Airport (they called it the Burbank Airport?!) who said he did not feel the impact of the collision. Really? You did not feel the impact of a passenger train striking a man’s arm? Thank goodness for hard hitting questions by a major Los Angeles news source.
Hopefully Dan Evans can focus on Burbank instead of Glendale and at least learn where the boundaries of the City are instead of a blog. Although I guess it is easier to turn on a computer and surf the web than to have to drive all the way to Burbank where he used to live before moving away and claiming that people here just did not understand him. Maybe he just did not understand what it is like for people who have spent their entire lives here, like most of the myBurbank staff.
To all of you who came up and talked to us during Holiday in the Park, thanks! Our small part-time staff is working hard every day to get even better and we are still looking for people who may want to contribute. We would like to focus more on our city government and schools. Anyone interested can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone that is, except well for possibly Semichorus who should keep his day job!