My renewal notice for the Gulf Coast News arrived and I find myself in a dilemma. Steve Flowers opinion column is the problem. I find his column hollow, predictable and un-newsworthy. Typically, I …
My renewal notice for the Gulf Coast News arrived and I find myself in a dilemma. Steve Flowers opinion column is the problem. I find his column hollow, predictable and un-newsworthy. Typically, I pass over it, as just “his” opinion. In Mr. Flowers’ most recent opinion, this is what I noticed. Mr. Flowers keeps using the term “we” (like we all hold the same opinion as him.) Who is the “we” in his columns? Is it “we”, the newspaper or we, the republican party, or we (his backers) or is he generalizing and thinks that “we” represents the opinion of the papers readers. If so, he is making some large assumptions.
Lagniappe’s article about Mr. Flowers opened my eyes and has given rise to new questions, hence my dilemma. Mr. Flowers is apparently paid a substantial sum to promote opinions. How can I support a paper that allows this propaganda-style column. Like many people, I am spending my money ethically. I am finding it hard to “ethically” support Mr. Flowers high payments to promote his (or his backer’s) opinions, particularly when “real” reporters make so little money to keep democracy alive. His column takes up valuable newspaper landscape that could be used to address newsworthy articles more pertinent to the vitality of the community.
Just a few ideas for such articles are: 1) highlight government agency projects and concerns (like what is Fish and Wildlife’s or Corp of Engineers biggest concern with climate change) 2) feature local artists, musicians or restaurant who could use an opportunity to let the residents know what they are about 3) have investigative news pieces about government meetings, citations by ADEM, and how do the actions of local government actually address our community’s problem issues.
As a newspaper reader, I seek facts. I would like to know the following: 1) What is the size of Baldwin County EMA (staffing-wise) compared to the new county census population number? How invested in emergency preparedness are our local politicians? What EMA actions have actually been taken to get our residents ready for the next event. How have the residents been engaged and what was the response? What steps are being taken to move our abundant traffic safely out during an evacuation? 2) How many subdivisions have been added in the last five years and how many acres of farm land were lost due to these new subdivisions? What preservation actions are being taken to keep a certain percentage of farmland safe from development and genetic engineering, particularly in light of the recent supply chain issues. Do we have enough local healthy food supply for the local population projections? How have the local farmers and government agencies been engaged in the conversation? 3) How invested are our local politicians in protecting our natural resources? What measures are in place to protect wildlife and habitat? Have the local biologists weighed in on the conversation? Are they satisfied with the current protection measures? How are the current overdevelopment issues being addressed? 4) What steps have the local governments taken to address climate change issues confronting them. How will climate change affect the local wildlife that depends on the coastal habitats for survival? How will it affect fishing and hunting and infrastructure? 5) How vulnerable are our local governments to cyberattacks? What steps have they taken to protect our local infrastructure. These are the type of questions that will broaden readership knowledge and help the vitality of the community.
I enjoy Gulf Coast News. I love paper newspapers (very tactile form of media), have found the obituaries very important to me in the era of CoVid 19, and I like to see what is happening around the county. I would like see a return to Gulf Coast News’ “old fashion” investigative reporting that keeps government officials on their toes and change the soft “political” manipulation news style (like Steve Flowers) that has creeped in to the paper. I have faith in Gulf Coast News and know they have capable staff writers. I just hope that the Gulf Coast News management will let the reporters do what they do best-(investigative reporting) and give them Mr. Flower’s spot to do it in. I am renewing for 6 months and will once again re-evaluate based on the direction the paper takes.