Hodgson to sell Journal to Larry, Curly and Moe?

Or Manny, Moe and Jack. Or Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod. Or was it Alvin, Simon and Theodore? Janet, Jack and Chrissy?

Okay okay. We’re told respected North Coast Journal Publisher Judy Hodgson will sellĀ  the weekly to Managing Editor Hank Sims, Arts & Culture Editor Bob Doran and Sales Manager Mark Herring. The sale has been in the works for a while, but apparently an announcement is imminent.

Indeed, last week’s issue, featuring a 9-page illustrated obsession with Rob Arkley, was said to be the trio’s debut. So yeah. That bodes well.

Just a little shout out to the Hankster, because we think he’s an entertaining fellow. We would encourage him to be a little less Copernican in his news values and a little more open to the possibility that the center of the known universe may not actually be located along the southern edge of the Arcata Plaza.

Hodgson’s broader view turned the Journal into one of the most relevant local publications ever. It would be a shame to see Sims and company turn it into the second-best weekly in Arcata.

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Imperfect contrition

A First Century journalist recognizes the error of his ways.

In this week’s North Coast Journal, the usually verbose Hank Sims is credited with only a few dozen words, all of them in a three-sentence editor’s note which almost, but not quite, puts an end to the Bob Doran affair.

A letter demanding an explanation from Doran is answered as follows by Sims:

Bob Doran has fully acknowledged and apologized for his error in judgment in failing to identify his wife in the story in question (‘Tea in Fortuna,’ Sept. 3). As a result of this error, his work in the future will be confined to editing and writing for the Journal’s arts and culture section.

For background, see the publisher’s note in the Journal’s Sept. 17 edition.

The punishment seems perfectly appropriate–seriously, who wanted this guy fired?–but the offense is inaccurately described.

Not to get all Catholic and shit, but Doran’s error was not the omission of failing to identify his wife so much as the commission of attempting to conceal her identity. It was active, not passive, and that distinction is important.

Most people seem inclined to let him off the hook. It’s only fair. He’s only human. But let’s be clear: He’s being forgiven for something he did, not for something he didn’t do.

Carson Park Mofo jumps on the publicity-whore bandwagon

Admittedly, though, he is a looker.

Admittedly, though, he is a looker.

All right, all right, bro.

Here. Have some hits.

Feel better?

Hugs!!

(But a little PS, if we may? No one deserves to have condescending and derogatory “news” articles written about them by people who–kind of like you– seem to think disagreement with the writer’s beliefs is a sign of incurable stupidity. That’s what’s wrong with the cable news shows you seem to be so enamored of and why no one we know watches them. They’re arrogant, inaccurate and unfair. So was Bob Doran’s characterization of a group of people in Fortuna who oppose the current range of health reform options. But hey–thanks for giving us another opportunity to point that out.)

The North Coast Journal gets it right

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Over the past week, numerous Humboldt Mirror readers have remarked on a North Coast Journal article in which reporter Bob Doran, covering a Tea Party meeting in Fortuna, quoted a woman he called Amy Wahlberg, who was reportedly booed and jeered for suggesting that health care is a right and not a privilege.

Discussion centered around the startling fact that many of us know Amy not as Wahlberg but Doran–Bob’s wife. That the quote in question appeared to reflect a bias manifested elsewhere in the story compounded the problem, and Bob’s clumsy attempt to conceal his wife’s identity obviously made things worse.

The good news? Publisher Judy Hodgson isn’t having any of it. From the current edition of the Journal comes this extraordinary–and appropriate–statement:

To Our Readers, an Apology

Two weeks ago a veteran member of our editorial staff made an error in judgment. He had offered to cover a controversial meeting in Fortuna–to take photos and report on the gathering he and his wife planned to attend anyway. It turned out his wife spoke at the meeting, the crowd reacted strongly and negatively, and he reported accurately on the exchange he considered pivotal to the coverage. Only he used her maiden name, one that she uses in her work as an artist and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, the intent was clear: to conceal or obscure her identity and to mislead readers. It was an ethical lapse we consider serious and we sincerely apologize.

The story, “Tea in Fortuna: Frightened patriots attempt to make sense of health care reform” by Bob Doran, is available on our Web site with an amended footnote. Doran has been the Journal’s arts and entertainment editor, covering all things cultural, since 1998.

Judy Hodgson