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Ex-Hacks on the T-S 

Editor:

As a retired reporter, I frequently find myself in agreement with Media Maven Marcy Burstiner, but this time her broadside against the Times-Standard misses the mark (“Media Maven”, Aug.6). And her sniping at reporter Thadeus Greenson is unfair.

Greenson is the best thing to happen to the T-S since millionaire Rob Arkley’s misbegotten venture into journalism with the Eureka Reporter shook the “Substandard” awake from its 50-year nap and forced it to acknowledge a readership it always assumed would be there. The newspaper “war” that resulted — unheard of in a market this size — left a lot of egos bloodied and bruised. But for those of us on the sidelines it was quite entertaining, at least while it lasted.

What emerged was a newspaper which is more vibrant, more inclusive and more informative than any of us could have hoped for.

I certainly agree with Burstiner’s husband’s observation that many of the national and international stories seem to have dropped into the paper from the sky. I still read them, and sometimes I even learn something. I also will shamelessly admit my day frequently begins with “Annie’s Mailbox,” and my Sundays wouldn’t be the same without “News of the Weird.”

Thadeus Greenson has done an exceptional job of explaining and “localizing” the California budget crisis story for months on end. It’s not unusual to see his byline on two or three front-page stories on a single day.

I was glad to see he had a chance to go to Reggae Rising, where he still managed to churn out three stories on one of the most important economic and cultural events to occur in Humboldt County in any given year. I hope he had a blast.

Yesterday, I expressed my appreciation to the Times-Standard reporters, writers and editors the best way I know how. I renewed my subscription.

James H. Mitchell, McKinleyville

Editor:

Thank you for prompting the local paper to get out into the community and write about news of substance.

There was a time (in the 1950s and 1960s) when both the Times and the Standard newsrooms dug for serious stories and reported them competently.

Under the leadership of owner Don O’Kane and editors “Scoop” Beal and Elmer Hodgkinson, we reporters competed to fill our pages with stories that reflected a vibrant local community whose activities and concerns were page 1 news.

I was fortunate enough to work in Scoop’s newsroom — the Standard, or the “day side” — and your comments reminded me of how hard Scoop made me dig for information in the days before Google. I hope the T-S staff gives some thought to using that marvelous tool, as you did, as a jumping-off point to put a face on what is happening to a segment of our community that can’t take many more hits.

Carol McFarland, Arcata

Sweet Spot:* You know what? We’ve skipped a few weeks here and there for various reasons, and so we’re just going to go ahead and award a sundae to each of our colleagues emeritus. James H. Mitchell and Carol McFarland win Bon Boniere sundaes for sending our favorite letters of the week, and we encourage them to continue the debate over hot fudge.*

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