I have mentioned Chuck Miller’s departure from the Times Union blogs, and him starting his own blog.
What I didn’t get into was the harrumph of the Times Union. As quoted by a non-TU blogger named DelSo:
“A community blog hosted by timesunion.com falsely reported Saturday morning that Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, would be the commencement speaker at the University at Albany. As soon as we were alerted to the post, we removed it from our site and suspended the blog. We apologize to anybody who was misled by this post, which was not written by a Times Union staff member. Even on April Fools’ Day, there’s no place for fake news under the Times Union banner.”
And the WAMC Roundtable on 3 April was likewise SHOCKED. The “bogus link” they referenced was Chuck’s senior year on the local TV quiz show for high schoolers, which he’d written about ad nauseum.
Yes, I am humming, “It’s a scandal, it’s a outrage.”
In fact it was only a year earlier that Chuck had written on his TU blog, “Uber reaches agreement to come to Albany!” which made the Washington Post’s April Fools’ Day pranks: 2016’s comprehensive, updating (and upsetting) list. The TU seemed to enjoy hitting on the zeitgeist.
If memory serves, Chuck did NOT slap an April Fools label on it, though at some point, the TU must have. This was fine, and would have been fine this year, in lieu of suspension and blocking him from his site.
Meanwhile, there is another TU community blogger who wrote in March, apparently in all seriousness, that the White House has been closed to visitors since 9/11 until 2017. I won’t link to her because she’s guano crazy. But Heather Fazio mentions her.
Since he’s done a joke blog EVERY YEAR for 8 YEARS, I’ve been forced to conclude that there is something else at play here with Chuck Miller’s suspension. I have to think he got under the TU’s skin once too often. He often advocated for more recognition for the community bloggers, including appearances in the paper, which went away and then came back, as a direct result of his nagging. Early in my tenure as a TU blogger, the TU ponied up for pizza for its unpaid community writers, but no more.
Perhaps the tipping point was him pointing out some oblivious remarks, such as he did on Thursday.
Before I get started with this week’s recap of the great writing by the Times Union’s crew of independent and community bloggers, I must address something.
It was a comment made in a staff blog earlier this week, and it still bothers me today.
In her blog last Monday, TU staff blogger Kristi Gustafson Barlette wrote a piece about certain thoughts in the Capital District, a “When I think of…” recap…
The part that irked me? This portion.
“When I think of great blogging, I think of Amanda Talar (who is coming back to the east coast). I also think of Matt Baumgartner and really, really miss his blogging.”
Wow. When Kristi Gustafson Barlette thinks of “great blogging,” she references two people who haven’t blogged for the TU in YEARS. Not taking anything away from those bloggers – they have written amazing posts in the past – but it totally ignores the fantastic writing and observations of the Times Union’s current bloggers and raconteurs and observers and writers. Whether you agree or disagree with their topics and thoughts, they at least deserve your attention and consideration.
Maybe if Kristi Gustafson Barlette took a few moments and actually read these blogs, she might indeed find some new favorites. Some new “great blogging” examples.
I think THAT was the last straw for the TU, and his ANNUAL joke – and I will say, Kellyanne, by definition is NOT funny – was just the excuse they were looking for.
Or the TU can explain that how it punishes an obvious attempt at humor while supporting actual fake news on its community pages.