Peninsula Beacon Reporter Responds to OB Rag Critique

by on September 9, 2016 · 8 comments

in Culture, Economy, Homelessness, Media, Ocean Beach

Editor: We published our critique on September 7th of a nearly month-old Peninsula Beacon article about the homeless of Point Loma written by Dave Schwab. Here below is Dave Schwab’s response, which concludes with ideas we can certainly get behind.

By Dave Schwab

As a newspaper reporter, it is my job to be fair, impartial and objective. Just like Star Trek, there is a sort of non-interference directive involved there. Journalists are observers, not players participating.

The views of people quoted in stories we write are THEIRS, not necessarily ours. Just like there are lots of different types of homeless, from those who are totally victims of circumstances to those who are entirely responsible for how and where they are, i.e. serial inebriates.

There seemingly is a panhandler on every corner. Are all of these people truly down and out, or are they just doing this as an easy way to survive while avoiding working? I have heard police testify, from personal experience, that panhandlers are working in shifts on corners, spelling one another then sharing the proceeds at the end.

Meanwhile, East Village downtown is an entire neighborhood comprised of people living on the street in pup tents without even decent sanitation. Why don’t people complain about THAT.

And why doesn’t local government do something about it, like providing porta potties?

And concerning the new, younger type of homeless, essentially itinerant youth passing through, you could go to OB any day of the week and see them in full view. Typically, it’s a couple with a guitar and a dog in tow. It’s high time society stopped “talking” about the homeless situation, and actually started “doing” something about it.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page Geoff Page September 9, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Compliments to the OB Rag. Despite having a certain known bias, The Rag has always been good about letting both sides tell their story, as happened here. That is what is called balance, which is sorely lacking in many other places.

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obdave September 13, 2016 at 7:09 am

I disagree, as I see the opposite of “balance” happening consistently at the rag. The rag prefers to only interview those on their side, over and over again, completely ignoring the other side’s view. This and the original article are prime examples, and there are so many others. Just look at the PacShores window article. They didn’t interview the building owner. The same with the article on the Morton’s and their new restaurant Ketch. No interview with the owner. The same with the Ebers and Greene project, as well as more of the same with the many encroachment issue articles. And these are just a few recent examples of the rag’s methodology. Maybe the rag will learn from the beacon’s reporter Schwab who states, “As a newspaper reporter, it is my job to be fair, impartial and objective.”, but sadly I doubt this will happen, even in respect to simply interviewing the other side for their view point. And too bad the rag chose not to interview Mr Schwab for the original article, but unfortunately it is the rag’s idea “reporting”. This article is merely a cut and paste of the only comment to the original article, certainly not an example of “balance”. The rag makes it clear that they report what they want, and if you don’t like it then just move on, and that’s their right. Just please don’t call it “balance”.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page September 13, 2016 at 9:15 am

The PacShores window article? So did you think this was such a huge story that an interview with the owner was really necessary. This was a light story and just reported on a window going in, I hardly think there was a pressing need for balance in this story. The Morton’s and their new restaurant Ketch? Now you are referring to an opinion piece by Judi Curry, not intended to be a balanced news article. The Ebers and Greene project? What would interviewing the owner provide for the story? The Rag reported on what is there and a whole lot of other information about the project. All the owner will do is defend their project; that would be expected. The other encroachment issue articles? I think they have done a pretty good job of this and most of the brouha started with an opinion piece about the place on Cable and Newport. Sometimes, the owners of these projects don’t want to talk to the press.

“Maybe the rag will learn from the beacon’s reporter Schwab who states, “As a newspaper reporter, it is my job to be fair, impartial and objective.”, but sadly I doubt this will happen, even in respect to simply interviewing the other side for their view point.” Perhaps you missed the beginning of my second sentence when I said “Despite having a certain known bias…”

“And too bad the rag chose not to interview Mr Schwab for the original article, but unfortunately it is the rag’s idea “reporting”.” Here you are correct, this was, once again, an opinion piece OB Dave, you need to read a little more closely so you can recognize the difference between an opinion piece and a news article.

This article is merely a cut and paste of the only comment to the original article, certainly not an example of “balance”.” What the Rag did here was take Mr. Schwab’s comment about The Rag’s article and place it out front to ensure that it got the best exposure possible because some folks may not have read the comment on the article that generated it. The Rag could have just left it alone but they made an effort, that you are incorrectly disparaging here, to give Mr. Schwab the best audience for his defense of his article.

“The rag makes it clear that they report what they want, and if you don’t like it then just move on, and that’s their right. Just please don’t call it “balance”.” I will call it balance because that is exactly what it was. Your own bias is clouding your judgement because you don’t like the progressive point of view the Rag unapologetically favors. So, using your own words “then just move on.”

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie September 13, 2016 at 7:27 am

We decided close to 9 years ago that there wasn’t enough “balance” in the news, either local or national. So, we began publishing a different narrative about the Iraq war, about George Bush, and about the direction the country was heading. And we’ve been doing it ever since. We even ‘birthed” an online journal for the rest of San Diego, called the San Diego Free Press. We never pretended to offer to be a platform for the racist, sexist, authoritarian views of some readers or the conservative media – or for those who fall into their supporters.

The OB Rag is an online newspaper for OB and PL run by progressives. If you want “balance” go to Fox News (just kidding – trying to make a point here).

And we don’t have the resources for copyreaders, for proofreaders or the resources to have extended reporting. We don’t have the resources like the Beacon has. Open their front pages, and see who pays their bills – it’s the realtors.

We are a no-money institution , where our supporters keep us going. We are supported by the community we support.

And I would guess that “obdave” has never sent us a dime, have you?

We do provide a platform to discuss local issues – without editing – unless some commenter violates our ‘respect others’ rules; plus we provide uber news, the very local news that the corporate media ignore.

IN debates and discussions that we have helped fuel, of course, we will publish the different sides, such as here. We have a debate going on about the future of Fiesta Island, for example, and have printed articles addressing at least 3 different sides in that discussion.

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obdave September 13, 2016 at 7:40 am

“And I would guess that “obdave” has never sent us a dime, have you?”

Actually I have supported the green store many, may times, including this year, which helps you. So sad this is how you address this, and such a bs cop-out, yet par for the course. It’s not that you don’t have resources to attempt to contact and interview the other side in so many articles. The fact is….THAT YOU CHOOSE NOT TO!!!

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie September 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

obdave, I find your misunderstanding about who and what citizen journalists are or should be puzzling, since you say you support the Green Store. I guess in an indirect way that supports us, but there have been moments within the last couple of years that the OB Rag was on the verge of closing down or seriously cutting back because of our lack of funds. Our readers came through to make us happen, 3/4’s of them from OB or the 92107 area. Since you’re “obdave” I’m puzzled that you didn’t step up and support us directly, especially since you have such strong views of the media.

Dave, I don’t get paid for editing. And neither did South OB Girl for her article. Going back to the original “controversy”, let’s ask how much Dave Schwab makes.

Plus, you tell us in all caps “that you choose not to” interview the owner. You don’t know anything about our internal communications and discussions and decisions.

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obdave September 13, 2016 at 10:40 am

Interviewing one side is excellent reporting! Keep it UP!

And yes frank, I know for a fact that you did not attempt to interview the other side in all of the articles i sited.

Have a wonderful day!

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OB Joe OB Joe September 13, 2016 at 7:35 am

OBDave wishes that “Maybe the rag will learn from the beacon’s reporter Schwab who states, As a newspaper reporter, it is my job to be fair, impartial and objective’, but both OBDave and Schwab are assuming the Beacon is fair and balanced. It is not. It only prints the news and analysis it wants. When is the last time you saw a large article critical of Airbnb and vacation rentals in that paper? How about the issue of gentrification. Have you seen that addressed in the Beacon? How about the sorry attitudes we find about the homeless – oh, sorry – that’s what started this.

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