A “local blog” mentioned in AJC

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 23, 2013

Anyone who reads this website on a regular basis knows I have no problem giving credit where credit is due.

If I refer to an Atlanta Journal Constitution article, I link back to the source material. That’s a common courtesy, a show of respect to the writers.

The AJC almost never provides the same courtesy to publications not owned by Cox Media.

I wish I could say I’m surprised that a recent AJC article neglected to mention Decaturish.com by name. An article about the Oct. 21 City Commission meeting (which I covered the hell out of, thank you very much), reports that, “The community at large was split over both issues, according to informal polls conducted by local blogs.”

I appreciate the dismissive glance tossed in my direction, AJC. Perhaps the article could’ve also mentioned that my “informal poll” foreshadowed the outcome of Monday’s vote.

According to my “informal poll,” 62 percent of people who responded were against the tear-down moratorium, and 54.26 percent were for the tree removal moratorium.

Well, I’ll just be damned if the City Commission didn’t reject the tear-down moratorium, 3-2, and unanimously approve the moratorium for tree removals.

If commissioners are a representation of the people who elect them, then we can assume they also reflect the prevailing sentiments of the community. That’s all a poll is, really, a temperature reading of the mood in the air. (To the “there’s no way an online poll is accurate” crowd: it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where someone with actual things to do wastes their time rigging a poll about whether the city of Decatur should stop people from cutting down trees.)

The reason metro residents read local blogs and vote in local surveys is that big media like AJC has all but abandoned communities like Decatur.

The AJC writes off the only publications serving the customers that it used to pretend it cared about. Cox Media tried to sustain the AJC’s product by reducing the number of writers and editors covering cities like Decatur. Yet it continues to portray the AJC as an indispensable source of information.

Local blogs and smaller publications routinely beat the AJC like a rented donkey. The way I figure it, we must have some element of credibility or AJC wouldn’t keep proudly ignoring us.

In the 21st century, where the people who read news actually live, news consumption isn’t limited to one source. Thanks to referrals from websites like Twitter and Facebook, people read multiple news sources to find out what’s going on. Those consumers are much savvier than the AJC presumes. If someone is reading it in the AJC, chances are they read it on one of the “local blogs” first.

When the AJC snubs local websites that inform local readers, it is further alienating the readers left high and dry years ago. Cox Media’s obsession with preserving the AJC’s brand is only damaging it further.

People who read Decatur Metro would go to the mat to defend that site any day of the week. Decatur Metro in particular has been a crucial source of information since the AJC left town.

I wonder how many readers would go to the mat for Atlanta’s paper of record.

I will continue to cite the AJC and other publications when appropriate. It’s the right thing to do, even if the AJC doesn’t agree.

Yes, AJC, there are other media in Atlanta. We’d be honored if you’d stop pretending otherwise.

If you’re going to continue to stare us from afar, you should at least buy us a drink.

Editor’s note: This isn’t a dig at the author of the article in question. I’ve met him and he’s a super nice guy who is just doing his job. These decisions are made by people higher up in the AJC food chain. This is addressed to them. 

Update: I wrote this long before the AJC posted a mind-blowingly insensitive tweet and spent the better part of a day tripping over its own arse to apologize. On second thought, maybe it’s better that the AJC article didn’t mention Decaturish.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • “On second thought, maybe it’s better that the AJC article didn’t mention Decaturish.”

    Ya think?

  • Yes, not a good day to be associated with our former employer.

    • No kidding. Social media can be tricky, especially for large companies. Of course, when you constantly snub other media, you shouldn’t be surprised when they cackle at your misfortune. As I was driving home, I heard on the radio that one of the news vans was actually parked outside Cox Media asking for answers.

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