His "heart's in the right place”
The quality of news reporting in West Virginia just took a major hit
Four excellent Charleston Gazette-Mail reporters are now gone
From Eric Eyre, who won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting in 2017 when he worked for the Gazette-Mail:
A huge loss of journalism firepower in West Virginia. Their dedication to public service reporting is unmatched. Thank you, Caity, Ryan, Joe and Lacie. #profilesincourage— Eric Eyre (@EricEyre) December 12, 2022
I started reading the Charleston Gazette on a daily basis when I started this blog in 2014. While the quality of the paper has declined some with new ownership (HD Media) in 2018, I still consider it to be the best newspaper in West Virginia. With the departure of four excellent reporters, however, that assessment may likely be in jeopardy.
It began when HD Media's owner, Doug Skaff, did a podcast interview with Don Blankenship:
The video ends with (Democratic!) Delegate Skaff asking for Blankenship to plug his book exculpating himself for Upper Big Branch! Skaff says he knows Don's "heart's in the right place."— Ryan Quinn (@RyanEQuinn) December 8, 2022
I'm all for giving everyone a say etc. but there was no news value to this. Embarrassing.
Quinn was fired yesterday. Quinn has been doing an excellent job covering education in a state where public education is under attack. Will he be replaced?
Health reporter Caity Coyne was also critical:
Thank you all for the kind words and wishes. There is… so much I want to say. Things we’ve sat on for years to protect the image + legacy of the GM.— Caity (@caitycoyne) December 13, 2022
And after all that, Skaff couldn’t even fire us himself.
After all that, he *cried* + told remaining staff it could be worse.
As was political reporter Lacie Pierson:
Here is the third fine reporter — @LaciePierson — from the @wvgazettemail who got shown the door for questioning the softball podcast footsie that @dougskaff played with @DonBlankenship https://t.co/QPI5I7PwNi— westvirginiaville (@wvville) December 12, 2022
Additionally, Joe Severino, who has written some excellent political and feature articles, resigned in November.
Does the name Doug Skaff sound familiar?
If you follow WV politics, it should – Skaff is Democratic Minority Leader in the House of Delegates. Here, I’m glad that at least one Democratic delegate has spoken out about this:
The last week in CWV: pic.twitter.com/o01alBQYYw— Kayla Young (@kaylayoungforwv) December 13, 2022
(Just a thought -- shouldn’t someone ask our local Democratic delegate and Minority Whip, Shawn Fluharty, what he thinks.)
Some additional reactions
Something something 4th Estate... something something @dougskaff... something something democracy... nothing to see here, folks— Catherine Gooding (@_with_a_c) December 12, 2022
Recently been feeling like we never actually stopped living in coal towns and that the same 5 rich men own the company, the government, and the paper
Today I’ve been thinking of this picture and this man and his family and those communities and all that was taken from them pic.twitter.com/zXgaKR7bn5— Seth DiStefano (@sethano) December 12, 2022
Just out, from the Associated Press:
3 WVa reporters who condemned interview of ex-coal CEO fired
Let's see what Ogden does with this.