• Ex,

    Thanks, I definitely agree there's plenty of room for improvement. We'll keep working at it.

    November 17, 2009 at 4:57 p.m.

  • Unmoored,
    You're right that we were justifiably criticized for failing to better cover a recent trial. We've discussed that oversight in the newsroom. I was thinking of it when ex was complaining we apparently covered a trial in too much detail in the past.

    Ex, I'm sorry we miscommunicated in some way. I still don't see the point you're making about the previous trial coverage, and I was genuinely trying to understand your position. From my cursory reading of the trial coverage, it appeared we covered it in great detail. It wasn't a narrative account of the incident, so I'm unsure what point you're making there. I appreciate your attempt to offer feedback. Perhaps it would be better at this point if we talked on the phone about the coverage. I also could e-mail you all of the coverage when I'm back in the office if you're that interested. I certainly understand if that's more time than you want to take with this issue.

    Have a great day.

    November 17, 2009 at 4:29 p.m.

  • I'd like to see a balanced approach of news. The pros and cons of subjects, not just copying some important AP stories that really impact our lives and future.

    We don't see much out side of the community. Why is that? There are people and activities outside the city limits that are impacting us and may or may not cause great angst.

    And I would love indepth coverage of something that are in our community that are impacting us. Two paragraphs sometimes drive me nuts.

    November 17, 2009 at 4:05 p.m.

  • "Would you prefer we don't cover such trials in detail so as to avoid appearing sensational?"
    No, we would not. And what kind of remark is that from a newspaper editor? If you've been paying attention to comments you know readers were really disappointed in the Advocate's sorry job of covering a recent gangbanger trial.

    November 17, 2009 at 11:18 a.m.

  • Ex,
    I wish we had the rest of the coverage in our archives so you could review. For now, it's in our old Newsbank system, which requires payment, so I can't link to it here. I hope we'll change that soon.
    When you said you thought the coverage was sensationalized, I assume, perhaps incorrectly, you meant the initial reporting. The trial coverage I scanned pretty much recounted what was said in court. Would you prefer we don't cover such trials in detail so as to avoid appearing sensational?

    November 16, 2009 at 9:32 p.m.

  • Here's the original story our wonderful librarian of 25 years, Robbi Patterson, found about the Riverside Park shooting. Robbi regularly fills in the gaps in my memory or knowledge.

    The bulk of the coverage of this incident came later during the trial.
    Woman killed in shooting identified
    Victoria Advocate, The (TX)-June 27, 2006
    Victoria police detectives have identified a woman killed Sunday evening at Riverside Park as 21-year-old Savannah Rodriguez of Victoria.
    A 23-year-old Shiner man - identified by police as her boyfriend and on the arrest report as her common-law husband - was arrested on suspicion of murder while still at the scene in the 400 block of McCright Drive.
    Officers were called to the boat ramp area of the park about 7 p.m. Sunday by someone who reported hearing gunshots.
    When they got there, police found the man holding a gun in one hand and a cell phone in another while standing near a 2006 Nissan Altima, with an open passenger door. The woman was found later inside the car.
    Detective Kevin Kroos, who would not identify shooter by name, said that when officers arrived, the man began saying that the woman in the car "is hurt and she needs help."
    Kroos said there were some tense few moments as the man stood holding the pistol.
    An arrest report said the man pointed the gun at his head and chest before officers convinced him to put the gun on the ground.
    When officers checked on the woman, she was already dead.
    Kroos said the couple had been arguing prior to the shooting.
    "It was an argument over their relationship. I can't say she wanted out. They have had problems in the past," Kroos said. "They were arguing over the way their relationship was going."
    The man, according to an arrest report, told the officer that their argument centered around Rodriguez wanting to leave him and the man not wanting to end their relationship because they have a child together.
    Results from an autopsy, ordered by Justice of the Peace Tom Eastland, were not final so Kroos said he could not say how many times Rodriguez was shot.
    "We found multiple shell casing at the scene," Kroos said.
    The man told one of the officers at the scene that he shot her four or five times, according to an arrest report.
    Several detectives worked until 4 a.m. Monday and resumed their investigation later that morning, Kroos said.
    He expects to have a case presented to the district attorney's office later this week.

    November 16, 2009 at 5:23 p.m.

  • Thanks, all, for the discussion. You can see how we must balance competing interests. While basing our work on the facts, we also try to do investigative journalism, as Zorro suggests. Some might consider such work to be biased; others will say it's journalism that makes a difference.

    We're constantly balancing competing interests and doing our best to involve you in that tightwire act. I'll post next the original Riverside Park shooting story you mentioned, Ex, just to close the loop on that point.

    November 16, 2009 at 5:15 p.m.

  • You may count me as another vote for coolgranny's dislike for editorializing masquerading as reporting. I hasten to add that I have been very pleased to find almost none of this within the pages of the Advocate. You appear to be making a conscious effort to report the news and allow your readers to reach their own conclusions about it. This is journalism as it should be practiced, and I sincerely hope it continues.

    The New York Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other so-called "Main Stream" print media are circling the drain, getting ready to go down, yet they cannot seem to see that their biased "reporting" is the primary, if not sole, reason their readership continues to decline. They point the finger at the Internet, talk radio, Fox News and any other source that does not agree with their left-wing vision of the world, when the reality is they should be facing a mirror and pointing at it.

    November 16, 2009 at 12:16 p.m.

  • As the sentinel for good government and policing, I would like to see more in-depth muckraking coverage when wrongdoing occurs. Being cozy with those you have to cover can become a conflict of interest.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:33 a.m.

  • ex, "Dragnet" I think. Makes me feel old now. lol

    November 16, 2009 at 7:49 a.m.

  • Ex,

    I don't recall the shooting you mention. Can you provide an approximate date so I can look it up? Many readers enjoy narrative, or story-telling, if it's all based on facts, of course.

    Our staff writers generally don't write opinion columns about their beats. They do write blogs about themselves and what they're working on as one way to engage the audience. The thinking here is that people will trust more those they know and can talk with. It's really just a digital version of getting to know a reporter around town, which is possible in a smaller community but not so much in a big city.

    However, this type of transparency remains relatively new. We're still learning as we go and appreciate your feedback.

    November 16, 2009 at 7:29 a.m.

  • Thanks, Granny, for your thoughts. We do try to stick with what is happening locally and the facts. Our survey also showed readers are understandably much less trusting of opinions. Your thoughts are much in line with that.

    November 16, 2009 at 6:46 a.m.

  • Chris, to be quite honest. Journalisn needs to focus on compare and contrast articles of just about every major news event. The newspaper media constantly slants as does most of television. The reader should be interested enough in the articles and columns to want to pursue the topic, either on line or through other references. The reader can then draw their own conclusions. It is extremely boring to read personal opinions in the written media. We used to subscribe to many major magazines because we thought the articles were fair and balanced. This was before that phrase was even thought about by those on television. We no longer subscribe. Why? Most of the time articles reflect personal agendas of the writer. This isn't my idea of a good read. Columns meant to entertain are just that, entertainment. However, when it comes to real news, the events that will affect the readers, it needs to be the truth and the whole truth, even if the truths are polar opposites. The blog sites are popular because the people who really want the truth out there, respond after researching. Journalists must really get back to the basics of ethics. Hopefully, you will walk away with this concept and spread the wealth, so to speak. If this type of journalism isn't possible in a small town newspaper, then it needs to stick with what is happening locally. Facts, just the facts.

    November 16, 2009 at 6:39 a.m.