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Keep it up

Promises of “hybrid Journalism” from the North Coast Journal appear more and more impotent.

First, the alt-weekly lost its “web guru” Hank Sims after surprising him with a demotion new job title that was less prestigious than the one he held for some six years, which the publisher gave to an old friend.

Now the Journal blog is being attacked by spambots. Need to learn how to pick up the ladies?  Make more money?  Maintain an erection?  Visit any number of comment threads at the NCJ to learn how.

  1. longwind
    February 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    In fairness to Abate, they’re tasteful, high-quality spambots offering only the comeliest companionship on the web. But they’re in London, which seems a gutter too far in these impecunious times.

    I suppose Hank used to read the comments and delete the dildos. I wonder what Tom does all day, with all that time he saves by ignoring county issues?

  2. February 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    There is no need to do it manually, if you will excuse the pun. Most blogs have spam filters. The Herald is hit by spam everyday, most of which you never see.

  3. February 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    So very painful. Although some of those spams are nearly poetic.

  4. February 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Also… “Keep it up”… hahahhahaa.

  5. Sorry
    February 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I’m finding it all very hard to swallow :)

  6. Mast-Abate
    February 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Oh the poor Journal, Hank will be sorely missed, and as far as I’m concerned they deserve what they get, kind of like the Eureka voters….oh, btw….is that THE Jennifer Savage the teenage boys over at the “Mirror” drool over! wow…..what an honor! :) we love you here too Jen, but we really DO, or used to, ‘read the NCJ for the articles”!

  7. Mike Dronkers
    February 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    The comments thus far are tremendous.

  8. February 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I don’t think they’re teenagers if they’re drooling over me… And in the bigger picture, I do hope at least a few people out there like for me for my writing skills, such as they may be — and more importantly, that folks continue to appreciate the staff/freelancers that are sticking it out. A lot of talent still exists at the NCJ, editorial leadership aside.

  9. Anonymous
    February 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Despite the fact that my favorite column is gone from the Journal, I will still read it thanks to the talent that remains on board. So glad to have Barry, Charlie, Ryan, Seven-o-heaven, Heidi and Bob…
    Thanks for the erections!

  10. skippy
    February 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Yes, Jen, you’re right– and we really DO. Welcome. What an honor. May I say you’re in better company here than at the Mirror. Why? They’re darkly stinkier than a carload full of assholes. Forget that filet for Hi-Fi mentioned elsewhere. You deserve flowers, Jen. Today.

  11. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 12:54 am

    You can talk about the talent still left in the office, but man, if you don’t have your self esteem, you’ve got nothing. I understand that staff members are stuck due to the economy, but the columnists have no excuse for not leaving. Jen has distinguished herself as having character.

  12. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 8:25 am

    It warms my heart that Judy has given us this wonderful gift to discuss on the Herald, something everyone can agree upon to despise and/or lament.

  13. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I saw Tom Abate speak at a Rotary meeting and twice he made comments about hoping his words didn’t get blown up in the blogospere. Came off very paranoid.

    Tom if you’re reading this comment (you are) it’s gonna get a lot worse, dude.

  14. Change is Good
    February 26, 2011 at 8:46 am

    The last issue of the NCJ was very good. The beginning of a new trend.

    Jennifer, your last piece in the Journal, the one about all the benefits of being destitute – made me chuckle a little. I knew it was meant as humor. But two of my best friends were offended. They did not see the humor, only the bleak reality you tried to spoof. They thought it was insensitive.

    Insensitive was the tone Hank fostered. Good riddance to that.

  15. Spite
    February 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

    “Tom if you’re reading this comment (you are) it’s gonna get a lot worse, dude.”

  16. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I call shenanigans on the 8:46 stooge.

    The cover story this week is sustainable farming. How could anyone who has lived in Humboldt the past 10 years pick that story? It’s been done to death. I love the religious angle. Unlock The Secret, my friends! And then an extra editorial about sustainable farming? Huh? How is this alternative?

    The Times-Standard and Arcata Eye have written on the topic ad infinitum and it sure feels like the Journal has written a thing or two in the past, certainly about CR’s program.

    At the very least, nothing new has come out of the Journal yet, and certainly nothing hybrid.

  17. Anonymousse
    February 26, 2011 at 9:56 am

    He was more than paranoid at that Rotary Meeting. He was arrogant and narcissistic. It was my first opportunity to see him in action and he was everything he had been touted to be–a self absorbed jerk. I truly don’t know what Judy’s thinkin’.

  18. Change is Good
    February 26, 2011 at 10:03 am

    What’s the matter, Anonymous. Somebody stealing your thunder? You obviously have a personal connection and your ego is injured.

    You can stew in it, or move on. Go outside, enjoy the sun, and grind your axe out there. In here, you are so boringly obvious.

  19. Huh
    February 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

    When in the last decade has the Journal been relevant? Seriously, every six months or so they would have an in-depth piece worth reading,but other than that it’s a just a rehash of the daily news in the area.

  20. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    What I have been $since I read this weeks Journal cover story is, how many people are going to pay $25.00/$35.00 for the bash up at Redwood Acres this weekend?

  21. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    That would be “wondering” how many will pay… where is Mavis Beacon when I need her?

  22. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    It’s clear to me that ‘Change is Good’ has a vested interest in polishing this turd. Touchy, much?

  23. Not A Native
    February 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I believe Hank made a big difference in the political discourse in HumCo. He raised issues and asked questions that were formerly only whispered about or not widely known. His journalism moved the county from knowledge of how local government operates being restricted to only those who have personal interest to it being known to the public and openly discussed. He used the Freedom of Information Act judiciously to call power brokers to account and went to court to stop unfair competitive practices intended to squelch his voice. The NCJ received national journalism awards.

    But now it seems, the NCJ has met the Eureka Reporter with cloying boosterism and smug self congratulatory pattings on the back masquerading as news. Likely, we’ll soon be reading in the NCJ about cats rescued from trees and reports of local VIPs’ and their families’ travels, along with rambling essays more appropriate in a psychologist’s note book.

  24. Unlikely
    February 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    NAN, where have you discerned this “likely” trend?

  25. Not A Native
    February 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Where?? For starters, the last two editions of the NCJ and Abate’s contributions to them.

  26. Unlikely
    February 26, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Now, NAN. Certainly one as cultivated as yourself can manage a more convincing critique. I’m disappointed in you. Maybe you have become infected by our innate inferiority.

  27. Walt
    February 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    “Likely, we’ll soon be reading in the NCJ about cats rescued from trees and reports of local VIPs’ and their families’ travels. . .” Oh how I miss those stories and pictures of kids getting high and hanging themselves up with meathooks. Whatever happened to “if it bleeds it leads”?

  28. February 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Do you really think the Journal is an “alt-weekly,” Heraldo?

    Now that you say that, I wonder if that was perhaps a basic philosophical difference between the publisher and the most recent editor that finally resulted in a restructuring of the editorial staff. I don’t think the publisher intends the NCJ to be an alt-weekly, and like it or not, the publisher gets to decide the vision and direction of the publication.

  29. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Change is Good




  30. Wonder Bred
    February 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I would say some good alt weeklies include the SF Bay Guardian and Willamette Week in Portland. I’m not so sure that I would call the NCJ an alt weekly. Kind of more like a weekly newspaper and entertainment guide. Which is fine, but there is a difference.

  31. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    What IS an alt-weekly?

  32. credulous
    February 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    yuck all around. the state of “journalism” in this county is ridiculous. I’m feeling a bit Twainy…

  33. Wonder Bred
    February 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    In my view, an alt weekly is a newspaper that covers stories about a region that the mainstream news does not cover. What is considered news by daily newspapers and TV news programs is very limited. So, an alt weekly covers the issues that fall through the cracks. Also, mainstream journalism relies on the crisis-expert response scenario and only grants authority to people in government or aligned with official organizations. An alt weekly is much more likely to cover neighborhood-specific issues, regard everyday people as valid players in a news story, and not always defend/support the government, police, etc.

  34. credulous
    February 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    An Alt-weekly would mean a weekly newspaper giving an alternative viewpoint.

  35. Truth in information
    February 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    NCJ really seems zingless. Are they trying to put us asleep? Actually folks, I was on the edge of my seat with that ‘Good Food’ story. The ‘Post Card Kings’ really had my attention too, on alert, so to speak. Sure glad I hadn’t taken that little blue pill first.

    Maybe a story on the woes of Eureka’s finances and and this councils take on the latest local store closures, local unemployment numbers, How does Eureka city budget cuts compare to others local towns. Any steps taken to increase local employment? How long does the current city manager intend to stay on? How about a story on how much the new water rates really increased. My bill was up over 50%. Just some light reading, please.

  36. Unlikely
    February 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Anonymous, Je ne suis pas Tom.

    Sorry, dude. And, BTW, you really should get more exercise.

  37. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Meanwhile, the development community has circled their wagons at the county courthouse to continue their “principally permitted” right to sprawl, without a reporter in sight.

    It wasn’t that long ago that talented writers at “community newspapers” around the nation were busy taking down a U.S. President and ending an illegal war.

    Media’s focus today is on snappy, entertaining human-interest spectacles, and the tyranny of “positive thought” making the mildest dissent pass for moral acuity.

    Sooo depressing…

  38. Walt
    February 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Could an “alt weekly” be like an alter kocker? Nu?

  39. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 8:01 pm


    Has anyone read the county’s Housing Element DEIR?

    Why is it that local “advocates” for children, the aged, women, the ill, the disabled, the poor, the homeless, veterans, etc, etc, largely fail to submit written testimony that provides critical statistics, and advocates for affordable infill housing??

    Everyone, in fact, does pay for the infrastructure and suffer the costs of poor planning, we need a community media that makes this clear to citizens and demands answers to obvious questions AT THE BATTLEGROUNDS!

    The NCJ and TS’s rare visits to homeless camps are far-friendlier environments!

  40. Bob
    February 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I was slightly alarmed to learn that our website is being invaded by spambots with, what was it, “any number of comment threads” infected. I went to the backend of the site to check it out and found a half dozen offending comments, mostly imploring you to “sell digital products sell your digital products.” I checked the appropriate boxes and they’re gone now. It didn’t seem like much of an infestation, but maybe someone else cleaned up head of me. BTW, you can check our comments here. (Incidentally, we don’t have the same spam filtering as your WordPress blog since our system was designed by Hank.)

  41. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Sorry, dude.

    He says he’s not Tom, and then drops a “dude” in the same paragraph. Nice. You’ve listened to yourself talk, right?

    Incidentally, we don’t have the same spam filtering as your WordPress blog since our system was designed by Hank.

    In tech circles, that’s not incidental. It’s a startling revelation. To rephrase: our website is run by software custom written and maintained by the guy who just quit. Two words: UH OH!

    If you’re not worried, you should be. The next road bump that comes along is going to cost a ton to fix as some consultant tries to figure out what’s under the hood. Better start planning for your website replacement.

  42. 06em
    February 26, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    There seems to be a crazy amount of bitterness and spite surrounding the changes at NCJ. I know Hank has his fans — especially those who have interacted online with him I suppose — and Tom Abate hasn’t exactly endeared himself to Humboldt with his approach. But jeez, people, is it really such a big deal? Tom isn’t Hank. No shit. Isn’t it time to get over the fact that Hank ain’t coming back and at least give the new guy a little slack? It doesn’t seem very Humboldt to me to be this prickly. Does it to you?

  43. February 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Humboldt has a reputation for being the laid back mecca of the west. It’s mostly undeserved, methinks.

  44. Unlikely
    February 26, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Anonymous, you won’t get the prize for perception. Sure, OK, you want me to be Tom, construct your reality.

    You said -“Better start planning for your website replacement.”

    I’m guessing, No problem. Plenty of smart people out there and times are lean. Speaking of lean, get outside and exercise more. It will help.

  45. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Sure sounds like him. It’s hard not to hear that voice when reading those words.

  46. 06em
    February 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    … mostly undeserved, methinks.

    At least in the overheated world of the local blogosphere, anyway.

  47. tra
    February 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Exactly, 06em.

    Most of the people I interact with in the real world are able to discuss local news stories, public figures, current events and political disagreements without all the nastiness, personal attacks, sneering disdain, spleen-venting, and general blog-rage.

    So what I wonder is whether those I observe showing these dysfunctional characteristics online are actually like that in the real world, too, and it’s just that I don’t run into them very often because we move in different social circles? Or whether they suppress their inner rage while interacting with their friends and neighbors like normal people, but then go and “let it all hang out” here in cyberspace? Or, perhaps they are genuinely more civil and less angry in real life, and somehow the medium itself encourages anger and hostility and discourages thoughtful discussion?

    Any theories?

  48. Not me
    February 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Nobody who’s ever read Abate would believe he’s posting under a pseudonym. One thing he has always shared with Hank is a vociferous belief that anonymous comments are chicken shit. Check his old blog posts if you don’t believe me. Not that I agree with him, obviously, but that’s long been his position and frankly he’s too narcissistic to pretend to be somebody else.

  49. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    So who would go around posing as him?

  50. Rumbustious
    February 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Hi tra — I believe that the apparent anonymity of the blog-world and internet encourages nastiness, incivility, and unreasonableness. Face-to-face or in public conversation we have to take responsibility for our assertions. There are also laws about slander and libel.

    Outside of the net, how many places can you publicly make unsubstantiated assertions or derogatory comments or inflammatory remarks about others? The walls of stalls in restrooms? Scrawls on fences or the sidewalk? Anonymously distributed handbills or mailings? The blog-world is like these. Newspapers always required a name for letters-to-the editor.

  51. February 26, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Funny you should mention. The Journal printed a letter in last week’s edition by someone with a pseudonym. I don’t object, but it’s definitely not normal protocol.

  52. The Watcher
    February 26, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Hank was a dick. A talented dick, but a dick nonetheless, who did himself in with his arrogance. If Hank had cloned himself, his clone would be pissing on Hank’s grave.

    ‘Nuff said.

    People: don’t forget that there’s more than one person who is capable of running an alt-weekly up here. How ’bout Heidi Walters? How about Keith Easthouse? How about Marci the media critic?

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat, or run an alt-weekly.

  53. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

    If the Eureka Reporter were still here we could get rid of the T-S and the NCJ. Ver y good NEWSpaper!

  54. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Gag me with a spoon!

  55. High Finance
    February 27, 2011 at 9:55 am

    A lot of people did not realize just how bad the Times Standard was until the Eureka Reporter came on the scene.

    It pushed the T/S to be better and the competition made all the reporters hustle. Now the Reporter is gone and the T/S is worse than ever. Their “reporters” are 21 yr old kids that do little more than print press releases. The paper is mostly AP stories that we read on the web the day before.

  56. Larry Glass
    February 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Glup! I actually agree with High Fi! I’m going outside for a walk no matter how cold it is. i need some fresh air.

  57. Xandra Manns
    February 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    i am so tired of in-your-face critiques. come on Humboldt. we can do better.

  58. The answer is...
    February 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Rumbustious 11:47 asked–

    Outside of the net, how many places can you publicly make unsubstantiated assertions or derogatory comments or inflammatory remarks about others?

    Answer–Fox Network, Rush Limbaugh…

  59. February 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I miss the Eureka Reporter too. It was good-looking, and the opinion pieces were unfailingly hilarious. The editor was an unfortunate choice, but I’d rather have a paper owned by a local wealthy right-wing tycoon with a stake in our county than a paper owner by a distant right-wing tycoon who couldn’t care less about Humboldt County.

  60. tra
    February 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    That’s a hell of a choice. I’d rather have neither.

  61. High Finance
    February 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Did 4.26pm forget about CBS and Dan Rather ?

  62. Plain Jane
    February 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Rather’s evidence of Bush being a lousy soldier was just as good as Bush’s that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake, probably the same source. People sure have bad memories when they can only remember that the memo was a possibly forgery, but forget that the information on it was never refuted.

  63. Plain Jane
    February 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm
  64. February 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    “…they’re gone now.”

    The spam-bots are back.

  65. The answer is...
    February 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    HiFi, care to supply a quote from CBS and Dan Rather to support your claim?

  66. Sam Spade
    February 28, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Hi-Fi Can’t always be wrong. His comment about the T-S is spot on. The T-S was terrible before the ER and was driven to a better performance level during that time period. Subsequently, the have slid into the ‘ol Sub-Standard; low pay, under staffed, lack of investigative reporting, largely reprinting or re-writing press releases from governmental agencies and corporate public relations departments, and general cow-towing to advertisers. I find out a lot more from conversations with people whom I know than a local 100+ year old small town newspaper. In a small town, how could so many secrets be kept from the local newspaper? i.e. Statewide Bank’s failure, bankruptcy, and subsequent taxpayer bailout under it’s CEO, Robyn Arkley Junior?

  67. Big Al
    February 28, 2011 at 11:27 am

    well I would agree with HiFi, Larry and others, the Reporter made local newspapers better, but its like agreeing that its raining…

  68. tra
    February 28, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Certainly competition in the daily newspaper market forced the Time-Standard to try harder. Too bad that competition came from a well-financed but hopelessly ideologically biased offering, bankrolled by a local billionaire who then pulled the plug as soon as it was clear that the ongoing massive subsidization of his pet newspaper was no longer worth the hoped-for public relations benefits to its sponsor.

  69. Truth in information
    February 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Xandra, Does running for council knowing, you didn’t have a chance, and that your action would knock out the best person for the job count as ‘doing the right thing”? You didn’t even try to get in the race. What was that all about Miss Right? You left us with a totally unbalanced council. Nice going, and don’t mind me if I pay no attention to what you say.

  70. March 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    The newspaper business walks on eggs. Look what happened
    to Knight-Ridder Investigative reporters can be slapped down when important people get unfavorably
    featured. And ye//t// we still have exposees in spiteof pressure of “No Need to Know”
    Anyone can write a Letter to the Editor
    Support what you believe in–subscribe and share with others–BELIEVE!!!

  71. March 10, 2011 at 11:15 am

    The spam storm has increased at the NCJ.
    Worse than ever.

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