Sunday, September 28, 2008

Local Paper Cheers Fiery Demise?

I saw a story on WATE about the destruction of the old cafeteria building and on the site of the former Morristown College. But check out this opening line from the coverage of the Morristown's newspaper, a line written by the paper's managing editor, John Guillion. It's an odd read for the destruction of a local landmark by fire:

Fire accomplished Saturday night what years of political negotiations couldn’t: The renovation of the Morristown College campus"

(Sorry, no linkage, as stories aren't online very long - they are a pay-to-read news site. And the story wasn't even online until sometime after 11:30 Sunday morning, as a friend had asked me about that time to go and read another story from their website. NOTE: In the comments for this post, a web tech for the CT says the story was up Saturday night. My mistake.)

I've only talked to John once, and very briefly, and he seemed like a nice fellow. But that opening needs a serious re-write. Here's a Newsflash: A fire of unknown origins which destroys historic landmarks does not equal 'renovation'.


  1. Anonymous1:12 AM

    I read the story in this morning's paper and thought the same thing. I'd would hope the reason the story went out like that was because they were on a tight deadline and not because editorial staff thought that was a great opening. Which ever the case it was poor judgment.

  2. Or it was a slip of the pen eluding to an insurance arson deal.

    I wonder what happened to the bell? I will come and get it.

  3. Joe, so you're in the know...

    That story was posted to the free portion of the paper's Web site beginning at about 8 p.m. Saturday evening, with at least three updates. The story that appeared in the newspaper is up now and was up before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. The story should also be accessible for at least three more days.

    I know this for a fact: I'm the Web tech at the paper. I worked Saturday night.

    And yes, John was on a tight deadline that night. But the opening line, while it may be distasteful to you, is true and he was on track: The campus has been so neglected over the years, bickered over and generally allowed to lanquish in the raw hands of fate with no postive movement, that any change--good, bad or indifferent--is a renovation.

    This was once a proud and lovely building. I hate that it burned and I do hope this tragedy may kickstart some serious and productive dialogue and full action on saving the rest of the campus. As it is, I'm afraid the city and the current owner will continue their stalemate and more destruction will ensue.

    That will be the shocking shame, Joe.

  4. OXYMORON6:27 PM

    at the very least,, the lead paragraphy was incoherent. It is so bad I doubt that it could be excused even under a extrememly tight deadline.
    It does strike me as flippant and aggravates my frustration that the sages of the city, including the publishers f the newspaper have never braught any editorial voice to the need to both preserve and develop the site.
    A Chamber of Commerce that once practiced emminent domainia so enthusiastically somehow is want ot aquire the site and perhaps create a jewel that could help entice people to this area by quality of life issues.
    Maybe if they could have rodeos in the auditorium........