S I T
E M A P
HOW TO USE
Research about Weston
December 14, 1998 to the present...cartoons
is green. Interested in
gardens and nature have an order;
sustainable global interests
Did someone say "climate change?" Over the years
different planning-related topics have come to our attention, not just
in Weston itself, and some
keep popping up again and again...here is a guide to these separate
pages. For example, our newest
(2012), Sustainablity in Weston; go
directly to Private-Public Sector Redevelopment.
OF THIS PAGE: Direct
to meetings on tap.
QUICK LINKS TO
GLOBAL MATTERS (OTHER THAN "WARMING"):
TO I-BBC'S SIMPLIFIED,
PLAIN-ENGLISH FINANCE GLOSSARY: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15060411
Bankruptcy in state,
county and municipal government.
2007 (for comparison
Finances: bulls, bears and
Regional Planning and
LINKS TO LOCAL MATTERS
Other (including some
places "out there")
LOCATIONAL PAGES AND SHORTCUTS
REGIONAL PLANNING ISSUES:
USE: planning and zoning
ENVIRONMENT AND RECREATION:
DCF in CT
I remember this...
Notes: Tunnel Collapses; an Editor’s Apprenticeship, A Wayward
Publisher, and Ownership Models
By Edward Shanahan
Note: we were "Googling" Clifford
Teutsch, the new editor of the Hartford Courant, and came upon this
most interesting article - which notes our favorite print paper in CT,
New London DAY..."
The recent fatal roof collapse in the highway tunnel connecting the
Mass Turnpike (I-90) and the Ted Williams tunnel leading to Logan
Airport has triggered a firestorm of finger pointing and charges of
possible criminal behavior by engineers, contractors, highway
administrators, and politicians.
For most of the last decade, Boston’s Central Artery project, which was
then trivialized by its nickname, The Big Dig, was mainly covered by
the media as a somewhat amusing multi-billion dollar cost over-run
story, which in turn became the butt of jokes by late night television
comedians or as a gee-whiz marvel of engineering.
Thus the surprise when a section of concrete ceiling fell on a
passenger in a car traveling through the tunnel, killing her. Turns
out, the tunnel’s construction - as well as other defects in the entire
project - was seriously flawed. And that was no joke.
For me it recalled a similar event years ago when an elderly couple
driving along the Connecticut Thruway (I-95) suddenly plunged to their
deaths when a section of roadway fell into the Mianus River below just
as their car was crossing the highway bridge.
That remains memorable because a young reporter, who worked with me at
the Daily Hampshire Gazette, was assigned by his newspaper – the
Hartford Courant - to join a team of reporters to undertake a year-long
investigation of the activities of bridge inspector s employed by the
state of Connecticut.
That investigation revealed a shocking pattern of sloppy work, no
show workers, and bridges certified as safe when they had, in
fact, not been inspected.
The newspaper’s investigation resulted in criminal charges and
widespread reforms, and earned praise for the courage and determination
of the newspaper and its reporters.
That young reporter was Clifford Teutsch, an Amherst College graduate
and former school teacher who joined the Gazette as a rookie reporter
nearly 30 years ago .
He is now acting editor of the Courant, having come up through the
editorial ranks over the last 25 years there and is a candidate for the
top job. My money is on him.
As he wrote in a recent e-mail: “I seem to be getting a good hearing. I
know I am signing up for tough stuff, but this community's citizens
deserve the best paper we can give them, we have a very committed
staff, and I would like to give it a go.”
One of the bests reporters I ever worked with, Clifford instinctively
understood what it meant to do his very best because readers were
entitled to that. He was involved in some difficult and highly
sensitive stories at the Gazette, including the investigation of the
role of the Hatfield school superintendent at the time of the misuse of
school funds and supplies, the sad tale of the unsolved death of Seta
Rampersad, a UMass student, who was found abandoned in a South
Deerfield motel, and bogus overtime payments to a Northampton city
What made Clifford unusual as a reporter was that while he was
indefatigable in his quest for information, he was cool under fire,
never arrogant or cynical, but rather scrupulously ethical and fair.
Rare qualities in just about any line of work. And always steady, as
his 25 years of distinguished work in Hartford testify.
A solid citizen, is the way I would characterize Clifford. Wouldn’t
that be what you would seek in an editor?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the media divide, it is embarrassing to
read what is taking place at the daily newspaper in one of my favorite
seaside cities in Southern California.
Virtually the entire newsroom at the Santa Barbara News-Press has quit
their jobs, in protest against the interference by the owner of the
newspaper, one Wendy P. McCaw, who has no background in journalism, but
had the great good fortune to get a billon dollar divorce settlement
from a “cellphone magnate.” And according to her critics at the
newspaper, she has no background in ethics either, meddling in the
handling of the news, even suppressing legitimate stories.
With all that hard-earned money to spend, she decided in 2000 to buy
the Santa Barbara newspaper for an estimated $100 million and has been
a controversial figure ever since with six different publishers
arriving and leaving over the last 5 years.
What I find interesting about this media dust-up is that when newspaper
neophyte Wendy McCaw found herself rich beyond imagining, the willing
seller she found was none other than the super ethical New York Times
Co., then owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press.
There apparently was no vetting of Wendy McCaw’s journalistic
principles by the High and Mighty Times, whose newspaper ceaselessly
reports on lapses of ethics in all sectors of society. The Times, the
corporation, instead chose to take the money and skip, letting the
citizens and subscribers in Santa Barbara suffer the consequences.
This cavalier attitude by the Times company as corporation as distinct
from the Times as newspaper is not unusual.
Some years ago the Times bought a daily newspaper in suburban Atlanta
(Gwinnett County) which had a circulation of about 40,000 or 50,000.
The Times goal was to build up the paper to compete with the Atlanta
Journal and thus be a major presence in that rich metropolitan Atlanta
Turns out the locals did not want the paper the Times had in mind, so
the Times rather than stick with it, killed the paper, and left the 40
to 50,000 readers without any local newspaper.
I recall no criticism of the Times role then, nor today in the case of
Santa Barbara. It’s just business. Clearly the name Sulzberger does not
always guarantee good results for readers and employees when rank
capitalism comes into play.
Finally, it’s ironic that just as the locally-owned Gazette has changed
hands and is now controlled by an out-of-town newspaper company,
increasingly there is more movement of formerly chain-owned newspapers
being returned to local ownership.
It is hard to know what this means – that stockholders in the big media
companies see no future for the daily newspapers, or that individual
entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future of print and its related
on-line potential. Either way the industry is in great turmoil.
Of course, there are other models for newspapers that don’t involve
media consolidation or Wendy McCaw type entrepreneurship.
These include the arrangement of the much admired St. Petersburg Times
in Florida, which is owned by a non-profit organization, the Poynter
Institute, created by the late Nelson and Henrietta Poynter, the
previous owners. And there is the employee-owned newspaper in New
London, Conn., the New London Day, a paper with a good reputation in
I wonder if either of these models was ever explored prior to the sale
of the 220-year-old locally-owned Gazette to the Concord, N.H., chain.