All Politics is Local

Media wars

I was bemused Thursday night to see the long expected announcement of Clark County Councilor David Madore’s newest project: his own news website.

Madore, with the help of former Reflector editor Ken Vance, has launched Clark County Today, a news website that will supposedly go live in October.

“ClarkCountyToday.com, founded by U.S. Digital CEO David Madore, is here for you and your increasing desire for more neighborhood and Clark County news,” reads the announcement on the organization’s Facebook page. “We’re here to tell stories and dispense information about Clark County and its residents.”

I’ve been hearing rumors that this was coming for some time, so I wasn’t surprised by the announcement. And frankly, any thoughts I have on the matter more intelligent than “lol wut” were already shared by others on Facebook.

There were plenty of jokes about whether commenters with dissenting viewpoints will be banned. But there was more biting criticism as well, some of which gets to the most basic root of journalistic ethics.

Take, for example, my coworker Andy Matarrese pointing out one of Clark County Today’s reporters is Joanna Yorke. The Reflector fired Yorke after she wrote a story about Councilor Tom Mielke’s recall petition against three of his fellow councilors that had striking similarities to my story on the same subject.

That was a fairly public incident. I wrote about it on this blog, and The Reflector published a front-page story and an editorial by Lafromboise Communications President Christine Fossett about the issue.

Then there’s the criticism which came from Fossett herself, which was, perhaps, the most stinging of all.

“Independent news means you are not in the pocket of a politician,” she wrote. “Staff needs to refer to a dictionary.”

Yikes. Grab your popcorn. And support the best in local journalism by visiting Columbian.com/subscribe.

Kaitlin Gillespie

I'm the Clark County government reporter at The Columbian. Get in touch at kaitlin.gillespie@columbian.com or 360-735-4517.

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