Thursday, January 27, 2011

Intentionally or not, John Matthews is a Velveteen Reporter

North Coast Journal Editor Tom Abate with John Matthews 1/27/11
The new North Coast Journal Editor Tom Abate and Journal Publisher Judy Hodgson talk with John Matthews about the future of the weekly.

I am a fan.

Hello, Humboldt County Tom Abate at The Journal
Chron Staffer Named Editor Judy Hodgson at The Journal
Journal gets new editor heraldo reacts
More on the Journal’s big change again

And, welcome Tom.

Added: (I put this in comments below, but I think it is worth adding up front)
One thing that hasn't been brought up in the rollicking discussion on heraldo is the sheer amount of time that web work can take.

Blogging itself is not a 20-minute a day thing, there's a lot more time that goes into it - and Hank's online work could easily take up his entire day and into the night. we know he monitors the blogs, writes posts, and now apps, and has been a major force in perfecting the Journal's online presence - Plus writing s column, directing reporters, deciding on the content of the paper, approving the layouts, probably some copy editing - it truly is more than a one-man job.

Despite this - admittedly disastrous - interview - lighten up, give it a chance, Tom is a good guy. there are a lot of bugs to work out...

20 comments:

Tom Sebourn said...

I wish John Mathews was the moderator for Meet the Press.
He and I work together on occasion through the sports station. He's good.

Anonymous said...

WTF did I just listen to? Wow. Just wow. Implosion.

Jen Savage said...

John's golden. Sad days at the NCJ.

Anonymous said...

heavily medicated, emotionally depressed... and now running the ship. great decision made in 4 weeks... kudos Judy, keep drinking.

Rose said...

That's uncalled for 8:51.

One thing that hasn't been brought up in the rollicking discussion on heraldo is the sheer amount of time that web work can take.

Blogging itself is not a 20-minute a day thing, there's a lot more time that goes into it - and Hank's online work could easily take up his entire day and into the night. we know he monitors the blogs, writes posts, and now apps, and has been a major force in perfecting the Journal's online presence - Plus writing s column, directing reporters, deciding on the content of the paper, approving the layouts, probably some copy editing - it truly is more than a one-man job.

Despite this - disastrous - interview - lighten up, give it a chance, Tom is a good guy. there are a lot of bugs to work out...

Anonymous said...

Is Joel Mielke heraldo? Have you read the latest posts?

Rose said...

I don't know what Joel's problem is.

Anonymous said...

Rose, I know you are faithful to the NCJ and you have defended them to the max, but I have to make the following observations:

I am listening to this right now. This guy has got problems, big problems. Judi and the NCJ have problems, big problems.

Tom Abate is “in space” and “blowing up” (his words, not mine) as I am listening to this.

Holy shit.

Lets translate. SF Chronicle is circling the drain. Everyone knows it. 450 people reduced to 150 and they even shrunk the size of the actual “paper.” [shit I subscribe to the Chron and have been reading it] They did away with seniority (in Abate’s own words) so 18 years means nothing. Wife leaves him, no security and he is by his own words he is mentally depressed. 150 people doing the work of 450? The chronicle told him to get off his butt and do more work and he didn’t want to. Ok, I get it.

The guy may well have been great in his time, but he has clearly unraveled. His marriage fell apart and he is losing it (his words, not mine.) So he came back to HC.

Sucks to be Judi. (Especially when she asked for them to talk Abate’s depression off the air and talk about the NCJ - and especially when Abate ignored her and kept on with it including but not limited to his brother, his brother’s butt crack [his words not mine] and his brother’s depression). He even said his sister lives in “Nutley” - no shit buddy. Sounds like he lives in “Nutsville.”

I tried to feel badly for Judi as I listened to this but she made her own bed over the last 10 years or so.

I really don’t need to listen to someone talk about his depression, (Abate) his break up with his wife and the crumbling of his cush job and loss of seniority. Ooh Humboldt, the place for the rejects....

Holy fuck, still listening and the dude just started singing, “accent the positive.” Omfg.

Rose said...

It has been increasingly difficult to defend - but really, when you step back and look at this situation -Judy is right, having a web-Editor (capital E), is almost essential now, managing a website such as the Journal's is in effect like managing another paper - yes, you are sharing content between the two jobs, but getting it up there and doing it right and adding in live links and troubleshooting constantly, and fine-tuning constantly PLUS maintaining a blog/facebook and twitter account keeping that new dynamic happening presence going is almighty time-comsuming. Add to that the monitoring and participation in the local blogs, and maybe non-local ones as well, which may be more personally recreational than work, and you really don't have enough time in the day.

So, if you VALUE all that new layer, blog, facebook, twitter, live up to the minute posts between weekly publications... then this is a solution oriented move. And it makes sense, and it is NOT, in fact a demotion for Hank.

Nor is moving back to your roots and managing a small local paper necessarily a demotion for Tom, but perhaps instead the realization of a dream.

AND, this interview does seem to reveal that I'm living in a dream world - so - maybe it is all negative - I can see that side too.

Much as I despise the woman who hangs herself from meathooks to get her jollies off, I do not fault the Journal for telling a story about something that is happening in our community. If someone is doing something that sick, we fucking ought to know about it, and be aware. So, yeah, I ended up defending the Journal on that one.

You can't put yourself out there as an alt-weekly with all the implied shocking and 'cutting-edge' image that you intend that to convey and NOT do something outrageous and offensive. And if people like that they will advertise with you. If they don't then your business model may not be quite the alt-weekly.

I cannot defend the devolution into a High-Times wanna-be though. and i think the current slate of advertisers shows that that is where it is. It looks to me like the traditional folks are letting you know the alt thing isn't their style.

I'm hopeful. And for now I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt.

Jack Durham said...

I think Hank has done a great job at the NCJ, in that he's made it simply more entertaining to read. I think it was smart to include the county's pot culture in the paper.

For all the blah blah about "hybrid journalism," it sounds they're just going to do a lot more stuff on the internets. As a free publication that doesn't rely on subscribers, that makes sense.

The interview with the new editor was weird, and kind of a train wreck, but entertaining. Heck, he even sang for us! I didn't see that coming.

If you brings that showmanship to the NCJ, they'll do well.

Of course, everyone will bitch and complain, but that's what the blogosphere is for....

Rose said...

And the fact is - reporters aren't PR people and they're not performers, and they're used to asking the questions, not answering them. But it ought to go a long way towards exhibiting a bit of sympathy for the people they do interview themselves, just how difficult it is.

Still, Matthews is the kind of guy you want to hire. The kind of guy who DOES ask questions, the questions everyone else was asking and wanted answers to, and persisting beyond the talking points. That's EXACTLY the kind of reporter you WANT to hire as an editor - imo. And its been sadly lacking.

That's part of what makes it so strange - something Abate himself admits on the Blogthing (that it was strange). I hope he and Matthews both get past this.

Anonymous said...

Yah, that is Joel CarsonPark Ranger over there. Snark and tech. Bet you fifty bucks.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Rose, this is 8:51- just calling them as I see them. Did Judy really think this through clearly, or was the wine drinking an influence? Sometimes I hear of these wild swings...changing leadership in 4 weeks, no one is looped in, including the share holders, sims, doran and ... when asked by John Matthews who the owners was she didnt tell us past her and her main partner...so I cant remember the 3rd shareholder.

This is poor management and poorly handled. There was that better even though it was not called for?

skippy said...

Nice job, Rose.

Mr. Abate's radio response wasn't all too-Humboldt-cool after hearing it and Anonymous at 11:47 made points I understand.

On the other hand, if you're familar with Brooklynites and New York, Columbia University, Sicilian culture, Silicon Valley, depression and divorce, first or second generation American-born sons, and too much coffee in a devoted, stressful, and highly paced environment; well, this all makes perfect sense-- even as quirky as that seems or sounds. Maybe more than you might know. I understand.

Rose, I also liked your intro and post of 12:28. Well-said. Thanks for representing. I also liked your use of those 'bulleted links.'

Tom, welcome back and welcome aboard. I look forward to seeing and reading your work. Settle back comfortably into Humboldt--slowly-- and help us be better with your contributions. Grazie.

...peace, skips

Anonymous said...

Wow....where to start. Abate seems to be hanging on by a thread. I wish him luck, but if he doesn't get a grip on himself, there will be no way anyone can take him seriously.

skippy said...

Yours truly attended the Community Radio Day sponsored by Access Humboldt on Saturday with reps of 7 of our community radio stations ranging from large to the very tiny in scale. Terri Klemeston, coordinator of KMUD news, rocked leading one of the workshops in journalistic techniques, interviewing, and ethics for all.

While Mr. Abate wasn't specifically discussed, many in attendance were very aware of his radio interview and the advent of 'hybrid journalism' he spoke of.

Skippy's report on the Community Radio Day is here.

For those that want to hear the audio/radio clip and make up their own prudent mind of Mr. Abate and Mr. Matthews' velveteeness, it's also here and easily found at the top of the column. It is suprising and remarkable.

peace... skips

Rose said...

Welcome, skippy, nice to hear from you. You do understand that velveteen is a GOOD thing. I had someone ask what it meant, and I thought people KNEW.

skippy said...

Thanks, Rose. I learned a new word today due to you. Thinking velveteen was somewhere between soft, wimpy, squishy plushness and Velveeta cheese, yours truly is corrected:

velveteen~ n. a clothing fabric usually of cotton in twill or plain weaves...in imitation of velvet.

"...once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." ~The Velveteen Rabbit

...the word velveteen is found in Webster's between the velvet bean and the velvet sponge.

Rose, you would've like the Access Humboldt Community Radio Day because of its crossover information to webland and reporting-- as well as the velveteen collaboration with others.

And Mr. Abate's radio link is here for velveteen readers and listeners.

Our strength is in our partnership more than the divide.

The legendary Bill Thomsen of Loleta told me that. He was a great man of velvet wisdom.

Thnaks, Rose, I learned a lot from you.


peace,...skips

Rose said...

Not wimpy. Not at all. Indeed, he has proven himself to be a REAL reporter.

And Tom will be ok. So will Hank.

Anonymous said...

Hell...Hank will quit. Judy really screwed him in the public.