Blogs > Tell the Editor

A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Readers are at the center of our local news evolution

Take a look at my Sunday column (click here) in today's Opinion section to learn more about the evolutionary changes under way at The Morning Journal and how they put our readers at the center of everything we will be doing as this year unfolds. Then click on the comment link below here at Tell the Editor and let me know what you think about these developments. Or just let me know anything else that you think can help to improve our communities or this news operation. I welcome the conversation.


Anonymous ex-Lorainite said...

Tom, you are sending out conflicting smoke signals. Today I read where you defended the Journal's decision to publish obituaries of a fallen officer and his killer ("What would you like me to hide from you tomorrow? WE report the news, and the obits, and don't try to alter reality.") and you announce a desire to have open dialogue with the public, yet you qualify it with "I do post and reply to any serious message..."

The reality is what's serious to the poster isn't necessarily serious to you.

You've got a tough job, but you accepted the responsibility by hosting a blog. If you truly desire an open discussion with the public, you must respect the public by NOT censoring them.

If you aren't capable of doing that, tell the public that your blog isn't really OPEN and that you get to pick and choose the conversations.

Anyway, that's just my thought.

March 21, 2010 at 10:43 AM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Here's how I "pick and choose" what comments get posted on this blog: If someone offers a serious thought, like your post, it goes up and gets a reply.

But if someone sends in obscene graffiti, spam, pointless insults directed at anyone or long incoherent tinfoil-hat rambling, it doesn't get posted.

That's the standard. Setting standards isn't the same as imposing censorship. This blog needs to be worth the readers' time.

March 21, 2010 at 2:41 PM 
Anonymous ex-Lorainite said...

I can understand not printing the obscenities, spam and insults, but the long incoherent tinfoil-hat ramblings should be given their day. Simply because you can't be sure those ramblings are really tinfoil-hat.

Again, just my 2 cents.

March 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM 
Anonymous Antonio Barrios said...

Hola Tom, I know you have a very difficult position in defending the Morning Journals views and I must say that I have seen a change in some of the attitudes toward our town. In the past the MJ was not considered very community-sided and only printed the negatives, but with your involvement and the new magazines like "Light on Lorain" I personally feel the paper is more sensitive to its readership. After all a paper can't exist without the community and at the same time the local newspaper says much about the community it serves. I believe we need each other and through mutual respect and trust our community and newspaper can look to a better future.

March 21, 2010 at 4:34 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

saw the obit, did not agree with it being posted in conjunction with the fallen officers stories. sane people do not pull out their dunnage for public display then run in their house, get a weapon and gun down a police officer. his obit should have been on the obit page and no other place for public display!

March 21, 2010 at 5:32 PM 
Anonymous Blogged-Down said...

Mr Editor,

I'm sure you are a busy person, but it doesn't appear you are taking your Blog seriously; there is very little going on.

It looks like this experiment is doomed.

March 23, 2010 at 10:28 AM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

"It looks like this experiment is doomed."

I feel like, who was it? Mark Twain, who said, "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

This Tell the Editor blog has been going for two weeks now and the six posts I've put up so far have generated nearly 60 comments/replies. That's not too bad for starters.

The blog is based on readers writing in to "Tell the Editor" something. I'll accept your "doomed" message as a sign that it's still working.

March 23, 2010 at 1:17 PM 
Anonymous Blogged-Down said...

I see 24 since the 10th.

Perhaps your expectations should be raised?

Back to the discussion; can you speak to the numerous spelling and grammar errors? Is there a benchmark that papers are held to (world class)? How does the Morning Journal compare?

And it "seems" as if the MJ is a day behind the competition in Elyria; how do you feel about that statement?

March 23, 2010 at 1:28 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...


1. Look closer, the blog's first post was made on March 8.

2. Typos and grammatical errors are the bane of the news world. Everyone tries to eradicate them, but in a fast-paced business, nobody has been able to succeed 100 percent.

3. It "seems" we disagree. I believe it is the other way around. In any event, the important thing is that Lorain County has two competing news organizations doing their best to cover all the news. Some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats you. I think our record of success will bear up under scrutiny.

March 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM 
Anonymous Blogged-Down said...

1. I wasn't trying to argue; just stated the number of exchanges since the 10th. I'm glad you're defending your Blog.

2. I agree with your comments; but I was asking how you feel the Morning Journal compares to World Class. Many companies use benchmarking as a means (not an end) to driving continuous improvement; I was only trying to get a feel for where the MJ stands (if there is such a rating system).

I fear the art of proper grammar as we knew it 25+ years ago is fading; text messaging is killing the English language much like hand held calculators did to basic math (ever seen that "deer in the headlights" look if you hand the cashier $20.25 when the total comes to $15.25?).

3. Again, I'm glad to see you taking offense to that statement.

Heck, we might keep you around a little longer. :)

March 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed that the citizens of Lorain are unaware
the city Pays its employees to take a lunch. How much money could be saved by simply not having a paid lunch hour. This is a Perk that private employees do not have. When the firefighters contract expires, they should not have sick days and vacation days that are allowed to accumulate. You may give them a raise but no accumulations. To allow any accumulation in this economic downturn is a sin. I believe that no layoffs would be needed if you simply got rid of the paid lunch hour. If the city leaders simply state that the contracts are union perks, under no circumstances should they be included in the new contracts. If they are, it is just a sign of weak leadership. The new school is to be built with a medical center. St. Joseph was unsustainable and forced to move, what has changed to make it more profitable? While I am at it, all public employees should be unable to accumulate any sick days or vacation days. A public employee is a city,county, state, school, federal,library or township worker. I am not opposed to a raise, just the perks that cost billions ......I believe that Ohio would not have budget problems if it did not have such generous perks. Ohio FYI has over 600 school districs. There should only be one superintendent per county. Ohio has 88 counties and some have very small school systems as opposed to the cities. This is a waste.......... Another position that is a waste, is a full time Athletic Director. This is simply a part time position.

March 23, 2010 at 6:37 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Anonymous covers a lot of territory in the post above, but it's all fertile ground for discussion. Negotiating public employee contracts to be less fat-laden and more in line with private sector reality is one theme I like to keep pushing on Lorain's city administration. Fewer perks don't mean public workers are not valued; fewer perks just mean public workers live with the same cost-cutting as all the private sector citizens who pay city workers' wages through taxes.
Ohio's 613 school districts seem to me a relic of the olden days before plentiful paved roads and the globe-shrinking capabilities of the Internet. Schools are dying for money and this state is just plain dying, it seems at times. I'm not an educator, but one school district per county doesn't strike me as an impossible dream. Any teachers, principals or superintendents want to weigh in on this topic?

March 23, 2010 at 8:21 PM 
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

The number of comments doesn't necessarily equate as to the success of a blog. I have found that the comments relate to the passion stirred by a particular post ( usually disagreement with what is written and then discussion usually between just one or two people can drive up the comment numbers). If readers agree with a post then they usually don't comment.

The MJ blog I believe is trying to reach out to people for those comments and debate whereas (at least in my case on my blog and other non professional blogs) it is a vehicle for expressing ones own thoughts as well as no monetary gain ( ads or wages). I do not depend upon my blogging for anything other than my own gratification. I makes no difference whether I receive one reader or 1,000 a day . The MJ's blog is a little different in its set up.

"Readers are at the center of our local news evolution"

The MJ' editors blog have a difficult job they have to build trust because they are a "professional blog" and serve more than one master.

Their success will be measured by how many people continue to not only comment but come back every day to read imho. Loraine

March 24, 2010 at 9:26 AM 

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