Saturday, November 24, 2012

What's News?

More evidence has emerged recently to help readers understand what the Register-Star officially considers news. (It will be recalled that this question played an integral role in the dismissal of Tom Casey and the resignation of Francesca Olsen, Billy Shannon, and Adam Shanks.) In today's Register-Star, the astounding workaholism of Tal Rappleyea, made manifest by the total hours of work billed to various towns, is mentioned in the paper for the first time, in the context of a story about the new attention being given to the billing practices of lawyers in the county attorney's office: "County attorney's office faces scrutiny over work hours." 

The story of Rappleyea's billing was originally uncovered by Will Pflaum and reported back in January on his blog Sunshine on the Hudson. Pflaum dubbed the story "Sleepergate," since it seemed that Rappleyea had to be billing for hours when he was asleep. On November 11, the Times Union ran, on the front page of its Sunday edition, an investigative report on the subject by former Register-Star reporter Jamie Larson: "Attorney math: 1 day = 26 hours." But the Register-Star mentions the story only today and only as the reason why billing in the county attorney's office is under scrutiny.

Also on the topic of newsworthiness, Lynn Sloneker, another former Register-Star reporter, recalls on her blog Unmuffled that "one of the Reg reporters involved [in the recent "dust-up" at the Register-Star] filled in for a colleague at the Nov. 5 Hudson City Board of Education meeting. That reporter sat through two hours' worth of the people's business, took few notes and wrote nothing. Not one word. Nada." Sloneker goes on to enumerate the issues discussed and acted on that night, which the unnamed reporter apparently did not consider newsworthy: "News worth reporting, or not?"


  1. Thank you Carole. The Register Star, 10 months after the story broke on my blog, writes a whitewash nonsense piece at the very moment their credibility is at its lowest. People can figure this out pretty clearly now.

  2. WOW. I wrote for the Daily Mail a few years back covering Durham, Greenville schools and Coxsackie. Never had any issues. How times have changed.