Buy Erika a phone!

Our heart goes out to Erika Jacobson Moore, political reporter at Leesburg Today, whose employers are too cheap even to supply her with that basic reporter’s tool, a telephone.

How else can one explain the article after article she writes, quoting only our local elected officials, and never even seeking comment from anyone who might have a differing viewpoint?

Her story yesterday on the supervisors’ vote in favor of the non-Beltway Beltway was only the most recent case in point.

She quotes Chairman Scott York (R-As of Last Year) disparaging critics of the Board’s action, notably the Piedmont Environmental Council: “Come on PEC, lets’ get with it.” But sadly, owing to her employers’ impecuniosity, she was unable to perform even that most elementary reporter’s task which consists of phoning Party B to ask for comment when quoting Party A slamming Party B.

As a result, she was unable even to illuminate to possibly perplexed readers what the PEC’s criticisms and objections had been in the first place. (You can find them here in case you’re interested. Come to think of it, so could Erika!)

It probably is too much to ask that our local reporters engage in the kind of energetic and informed reporting that would allow them actually to understand and explain an issue. But they can at least carry out the kind of simple reporting that is the very first lesson all reporters learn, which involves doing just a wee bit more than quoting elected officials or reprinting their press releases.

Here is an illustrative series of examples to clarify the point:

Example A: Knowledgeable reporting

Contradicting hundreds of years of established scientific fact, Loudoun Board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) announced today to a roomful of clearly astonished citizens that the Earth is flat.


Example B: Lazy, but at least minimally fair, reporting

Loudoun Board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) declared today that the Earth is flat. However the matter appears to be disputed. A spokesman for the American Physical Society, reached for comment, told Leesburg Today, “Hundreds of years of scientific knowledge have established beyond doubt that the Earth is round.”


Example C: Really bad lazy reporting

Loudoun Board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) declared today that the Earth is flat. Fellow supervisor  Kenneth “Ken” Reid (R-Leesburg) agreed, faulting the previous Board for failing to recognize this issue, and calling for a commission to be appointed to study erecting a safety barrier to prevent Loudoun citizens from falling over the edge.


So let’s all chip in to buy Erika a phone so she can at least graduate from Example C to Example B!

Send your contributions to:

Leesburg Today

Attention: Buy Erika a Phone Campaign

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