Monday, March 10, 2008

Joe Schoenmann, Again

It's not surprising, given the enormity of the interest in my posts about the Las Vegas Sun's Joe Schoenmann and his 535-word correction last week that more people would be coming out of the woodwork to observe his work.

I've heard nothing from either Joe or Managing Editor Mike Kelley explaining how that epic correction happened or whether anyone would be disciplined in any way, as most credible newspapers would do in a situation such as this. Evidently, they don't believe that their readers deserve to know what's being done to prevent such a mammoth system failure in the future. I find this funny because this newspaper has shamed a variety of sources with big front-page groans when they don't get responses or access as it wishes. (In addition to the Bill Richardson one last fall that I pointed to in a different post, other readers reminded me they pulled that trick on former Lt. Gov. candidate Barbara Lee Woollen not once but twice in 2006.)

But I did hear from a current Greenspun Media Group journalist (GMG owns the Sun and also owns two publications I write for) who is outraged that nothing has happened to Schoenmann given that "if it were almost anyone else, there would've been some sort of penalty." This employee, to whom I spoke by phone to confirm he/she actually sent this note to me and was who I thought he/she was, made some pretty valid points. Here's a piece of the note:

"To answer your question about whether Joe has been disciplined, I need only to point you to yet another lazy, abysmal front-page piece by him in Saturday's paper. Take a good look at it. You'll notice that it's a love letter to Mayor Goodman, whom Joe routinely sucks up to, in which he seems to claim that because the mayor hired some woman to handle homeless affairs, he's really a good guy on the topic. The only people quoted in the piece are -- you guessed it! -- the mayor and his lackey. Did Joe get off his ass and go interview homeless people or homeless activists? No! That would take some effort."

Yikes. Take a look yourself. It's all true. It's as lazy a piece as the Summerlin one, less the anonymous Web comments to make it journalistic malpractice. This reporter doesn't seem to like to get out and talk to ordinary people much at all, something City Hall scribes really need to be willing to do lest their work end up being sonorous insider pieces about dullsville governmental processes.

Oh, and one more thing noted by this letter-writer: The epic Summerlin correction wasn't the only one Joe was responsible for that week. He also had to correct his Feb. 28 piece on the potential loss of an historic theater in Vegas. If you go to that story, you'll notice that there's a correction quietly appended to the bottom -- so it's easy to miss, unlike sticking it atop the piece where it might be obvious -- that reads: "An error in this story, saying that the Huntridge had a role in several movies, has been removed."

Now how does an error like that happen? And, more interestingly, how does an error like that get corrected? I mean, if the original piece said the place was in the movies, who's going to ring up the paper and say, 'Uh, nut-uh"?

I'd call up and ask, but I suspect I'd get the same stony silence I've gotten so far. They probably think "some blog" isn't worth responding to.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

dont expect much from the sun editors or joe. it's not a newspaper but a mere insert.

FRANK said...

HOW IS THIS GUY STILL REPORTING??? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS NEWSPAPER?!?

Anonymous said...

Steve, it's time to move on. The Sun isn't a real newspaper anyomre, it's a place for Brian Greenspun to promote Hillary while he waits for his cabinet level appointment when she gets elected. His reporting of his world travels make him look more qualified. The Greenspuns are small town billionaires, and Las Vegas is still a small town at the top, where the power is. They own casinos, sub divisions, buses, the most popular tourist coupon books, and control EVERY type of media communication associated with Las Vegas. This degree of cross pollination compromises journalistic integrity at every level. Jeff in OKC

Anonymous said...

And good old fashioned solid reporting, I left that out. Jeff in OKC

Former Sun Guy said...

I disagree entirely with the last poster. This is a newspaper that purports to be legitimate with a large circulation that often works to hold feet to the fire of public officials. Some people may think that following a story for a (whoopee!) single week is overkill, but they must be people who have very short attention spans. Keep this up, Steve. Someone needs to keep the Vegas media honest, and there doesn't seem to be anyone else willing to do it. Most major media today have business interests that could make them seem tainted, but they hold themselves to a high standard. The legitimate reporters at the Sun -- of which I used to be one many years ago -- deserve to know that their editors care about accuracy and fair journalism. I'm really surprised Kelley hasn't called back, Steve, because he was always pretty good about that what I was there.

P.S. Brian Greenspun is a registered Republican.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that's the point of my post, sir. Lamentably, this isn't "many years ago". Jeff in OKC

Anonymous said...

Time to write a piece for Huffington Post's "Eat the Press" or to send into CNN's Reliable Sources...