Thursday, May 3, 2007

Statesman Bites Back

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Everyone's favorite punching bag took a swipe back the other day. The Idaho Statesman took some jabs from a blogger; the paper's parent company isn't doing so well, giving online critics a new opening to snipe at the paper.

No news there. The fun begins when its two most prominent reporters jab back.

The initial, damning post came from Jill Kuraitis over at New West. (True confessions; I started the Boise New West site a couple of years ago.) Kuraitis, the publisher of the site, took aim at McClatchy's poor stock performance of late, noted the lackluster circulation numbers of Idaho's largest daily, and asserted that salaries for reporters stank.

And she took it further, noting that, "Anyone who wants a serious Sunday read – on paper – long enough to last through a bagel and coffee has to scramble around town for a rare New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, both of which are expensive."

The foregoing isn't exactly new news to any of the grumbling classes of Idaho's news consumers. Bashing the big kid in town is popular sport.

So when Dan Popkey and Rocky Barker decided to take a swing back at Kuraitis in the comments section, things got interesting.

"Jill, your failure to check the facts demonstrates one difference between those of us at newspapers and those writing blogs," wrote Popkey and Barker in a co-signed comment.

The paper's reporters first attacked Kuraitis's reporting about salaries (they say they're well above the poverty level) and batted back her assertions about McClatchy (they consider McClatchy a "White Knight" that helped their newsroom) and put in a plug for editor Vicki Gowler.

And then, in true blogosphere fashion, the reporters (and a return volley from Kuraitis) were quickly drowned by a flood of commenters.

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