Thursday, April 06, 2006

Media: Pioneer Press "Reader Advocate" Still Isn’t Talking

This is ridiculous.

The story so far: for months now, I’ve been trying to interest local papers in finding out whether or not Stillwater District 834 School Board Member “Choc” Junker is being treated for mental illness.

So far I’ve written to the Stillwater Gazette (former publisher of my news commentary), the Stillwater Courier, and the Pioneer Press. And so far none of these papers has been willing to touch this question with a ten foot pole; the Gazette and the Courier wouldn’t even let me raise the question in the form a letter to the editor. I've raised the same questions with Mr. Junker's colleagues on the School Board and with his son, and the only response I've received so far is one "no comment."

My latest efforts have focused on the Pioneer Press. When their Washington County education reporter and her editor refused to reply to my query, the paper referred me to their news ombudsman (known only as the “Reader Advocate.)

And now I can’t even seem to get a response from the Reader Advocate. I’ve sent two separate emails to this mysterious person and haven’t received any reply whatsoever.

In desperation, I am turning to you, the readers of this blog, and asking for your help. Would you please take a moment out of your busy day and send an email to the Reader Advocate for the Pioneer Press ( and find out if there actually is anyone there who addresses reader questions about news coverage? I’d really like to know whether there is such a person as the Reader Advocate. If you do send the email, the question I suggest sending is this one:

“Dear Reader Advocate:
I am sending this email to find out whether this is the correct email address for PiPress readers to write to if they have concerns or questions about PiPress news content. Please reply with pertinent information. Please sign your name to your reply.
Thank you.”

That’s it. The state of School Board Member Junker’s health is a matter of public concern and a legitimate subject of inquiry. I find it very troubling that a local media giant like the PiPress is unable to or unwilling to make appropriate inquiries in the public interest—or even answer reader mail. I also think it’s unfair and deceptive for the PiPress to list an email address for readers to write to with concerns about news content, and then fail to reply to such concerns.

Thanks to anyone who sends an email. Let me know (via this blog) if you get a response.


At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are a tool and you wonder why no one in this town likes you. The town of stillwater has tremendous amounts of respect for choc and I think its hard for you to cope with the fact that most people dont like you. Choc Junker is a legend in this town and will be remembered for generations. His legacy will forever be remembered and he will always be recognized when the city of Stillwater is mentioned. You sir are a nobody with years of jealously built up in your body . When people think of this city they think of Choc. I'll be surprised if anyone even knows who YOU are . I hope its fun dealing with your jealous conscious everyday.


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