Monday, July 30, 2007

Nazareth Mayor Doesn't Read Blogs, But Sure Can Criticize Them

Express Times reporter JD Malone, who covers the Nazareth beat, was nice enough to give Nazareth's two blogs a little plug yesterday.

NewsOverCoffee, the leading Nazareth blog, is hyper-local, contains information the mainstream simply has no space to cover, and is a must read for anyone really interested in that community.

I'm the other Nazareth blog. I'm not hyper-local, just hyper. I might write about Nazareth today and Buddy Christ tomorrow.

Malone's account, nice as it is, makes me wonder about Nazareth Mayor Earl Keller, who strangely denies reading blogs. "I never read them. I'm just not into that type of media. ... I hear some things that are on there. I hear lots of people talk about [the blogs]."

That's a crock.

The reality is he doen't want people to read them. Blogs mercilessly nailed both Keller and Nazareth borough council last summer over its back-room meetings to move its municipal center into a kids' park. He was so miffed he recently whined about us in his "state of the borough" address.

"[O]thers in our community choose to cowardly criticize and personally attack those who volunteer and those who serve on Council, hiding in the anonymity of Internet gossip sites rather than volunteer their own time to do some tangible good."

Isn't it amazing that someone who "never" reads blogs is able to criticize them in such intricate detail in his state of the borough address?

9 comments:

LVDem said...

My apologies for any over generalizations that I use in this discussion.

I've been thinking about this lately. What is the profile of a typical municipal election voter? I'm generalizing, but I'm sure if you did observations on election day, you would find more gray haired females than you would find any other profiles. Gray haired females aren't typical contributors to blogs. I think it's to the advantage of local officials like your town's mayor to bemoan "internet gossip sites" b/c it sounds like something off of a tabloid news-show after the 6:00 news. Gossip is scandalous and online forums are for child predators. And for somebody who isn't familiar with blogging as a medium, it sounds like it is part of a conspiracy to rob the beloved mayor of his credibility.

Sadly, that kind of rhetoric will likely prove helpful to the mayor if he continues it. Again, sorry for over-generalizing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's precisely what he's doing. He likes it when people don't know what is going on, and will therefore snark blogs.

A.J. Cordi said...

Maybe he hired a committee and they came to that conclusion, lol.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping you would have somethng to say about yesterdays article.

The front page had a picture of what is happening all over America to small town businesses and this stupid mayor admits to not reading this type of media, what an asshole, I'm sorry (not really).

It's people like him who choose to close their eyes to the reality before them and others pay the price for down right ignorance.

He probably still owns stock in Bethlehem Steel and is buying traditional media stock like the Tribune and other sinking over the hill news outlets that more and more consumers like me are almost completely ignoring.

Anonymous said...

--db

Bernie O'Hare said...

db,

It's thanks to the traditional media that a spotlight was cast on the blogosphere yesterday.

The way I look at it, it's all good. The MSM tends to have much more credibility, but can't afford to devote the attention to a small community like NewsOverCoffee. I also think blogs can focus on an issue in more detail.

Mayor Keller is batting 1000 with me. Last year, he made baseless allegations about tire slashings, followed by a completely illogical argument that a bank robbery proved the need to move the municipal center farther from the business district. He provided no guidance to a police department that had noi chief. In his state of the borough, he derides blogs as internet gossip sites, and then improbably claims he never reads them. He stood in the way of the skatepark, but just had to make a speech at its dedication.

I'll be certain to make my gratitude known should he make the mistake of seeking re-election.

Anonymous said...

I did admit to reading the article as I have not completely (almost) stopped reading the rags as there is some satisfaction on the cover.


Keep up the good reporting

--db

NewsOverCoffee said...

Bernie,

Was on vacation last week and am now getting a bit caught up. First off, congrats to JD Malone and the Express-Times for featuring our sites, as well as to you for covering the range you do.

From my conversation with JD, there were many reasons for the article (one he didn't mention was slow summer news week;-) but a big one was how our two sites, as different as they are, are both originated from Nazareth and in many ways accomplish the same ends.

One point I tried to emphasize is that 'blog' has a negative connotation compared to web site and really what's the difference? A blog is simply a publishing tool. What is important is the content. The ability for people to comment is no longer unique to blogs, most news sites allow the same these days, but you don't see the mayor complaining about the newspapers web sites, only about blogs.

Following the Mayor's remark in the article on Thursday a comment was made by Council President Chiavaroli which somewhat surprised me. I first took it be directed at me - ego I guess - then realized it was probably you, us, or anyone else that blogs in or about Nazareth.

In essence (and I paraphrase) he said it used to be you had two women at each end of the street and they would tell everyone what happened until it got to the middle, now I guess we have blogs.

Gossip and negativism only take place when information is not readily shared, meetings are not held in public, and reason is given for people to be negative (like holding closed meetings or having meetings at times public can't be expected to attend).

In the end, what we have is a more informed populace - and that scares some people who are accustomed to flying under the radar and doing whatever they want be it at Borough, Township, School District, or County level.

I believe we started our sites around the same time last spring and I've had a tremendous experience. I've corresponded with many people publicly and privately, met some great people, and have been able to share news and information to help build a better community.

I'm sure you've experienced much of the same, albeit in a larger geographical area. I never expected so many people to find my site online or use it on such a regular basis, but readership I've achieved demonstrates a need. I also never expected for everyone to agree or come to consensus on every issue all the time, and so long as we all agree to disagree now and again, we'll be fine.

Sorry to go on and on here, but I think the mainstream media's recognition of our two sites (not just with this article but in columns and articles by both papers over the past year) ought to be a wake-up call to those who deem them to be nothing but gossip.

It's too late to belittle them they're here, growing, and coming to a town near you soon if not already.

Best wishes,

Ross

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ross, This post was directed at the Naz mayor and not at the borough council prez, but if the shoe fits ...

My own view is that a blog actually diminishes the amount of gossip because it is interactive. If you, or more likely I, post something inacurate, the whole world will know in a hurry. And that's a good thing.

What really bothers government officials is not the amount of gossip, but the amount of truth. For example, I posted a blog about Naz cops having a 1261% increase in OT for part-time officers over 5 years. Or a 67% increase in salaries. What bothered some borough officials was that it was the truth. They did not want that getting out.