The Media Game has Changed

If it’s Friday, it must be time to connect the dots after a particularly tumultuous week.

A couple of local institutions took major hits – not the least of which was the governor’s office.  For starters, the Washington Post suggested that Gov. Bill Richardson’s days on the national stage may be over.

Whether anyone should ever count Richardson permanently out of consideration for higher office is debatable – our esteemed governor has persevered after many setbacks in a remarkable career. Richardson is smart, engaging and incredibly well-connected. And let’s not forget, there’s trouble in North Korea and an American hostage in Iran right now that probably only he can pry loose.

A Right Jab

The Albuquerque Journal’s Win Quigley took some potshots at Richardson that didn’t go over well with former Albuquerque mayor and media watchdog Jim Baca, who said he’s noticed an inordinate number of hits on Richardson lately in the Journal. Saying the city’s remaining daily paper is turning into a (gasp) blog, Baca suggested the Albuquerque Journal change it the name of its “UpFront” series of columns to “The Grudge Report.”

El Jefe

The mayor’s office took some hefty blows this week, too, with a story in Tuesday’s Journal detailing alleged wrongdoing in connection with an airport contractor at Double Eagle Airport. According to the story, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Bode Aero Service’s allegations that Mayor Martin Chavez retaliated against them after it refused to provide free or discounted services for Chavez during his aborted run for Senate last year.

Add to that the Journal’s extensive coverage of the legal battle that’s brewing with the City Council over a $6.5 million swimming hole the mayor wants at Tingley Beach, and it’s not likely the mayor is enjoying reading the newspaper much lately.

Daily Grind

The contiguous thread here is the Journal, still far and away the best-read of all print newspapers in Albuquerque, N.M.

Despite the malaise affecting newspapers everywhere, the Journal is still chugging along. But it took some hits this week, too. Yep, there’s only one big newspaper in Albuquerque, but now there are lots of little blogs that can take potshots of their own.

In addition to Baca’s commentary, there was  this from blogger and middle school teacher Scot Key, calling attention to a story that the Journal ran this week detailing some of the reasons why an earlier story it published a few weeks ago was pointless and wrong.  The original Journal story, which printed the name of every elementary school teacher in APS next to arguably meaningless test scores from their students, understandably alienated a large number of hardworking teachers who felt they were held up to public ridicule for no good reason.

Ink by the Barrel?

Despite once being part of the mainstream media machine, I sure as heck am enjoying the lively give and take between the media behemoths and the smart, scrappy bloggers that goes on these days.

No matter the issue, no matter the political stripe – the tempest kicked up by Key’s blog and Baca’s blog and the criticisms and commentaries raised by the many, many other New Mexico-based blogs just underscores the point – the media game has changed. It’s no longer a one-way communication street, where people timidly submit their information to the daily paper and hope everything comes out alright.

And picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel isn’t quite as futile as it used to be.

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