Monday, October 09, 2006

"Hat's Off" to The Gazette

I've been really concerned about the local media's promotion of gambling in general and the Riverside gambling casino in particular -- primarily by the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

The Press-Citizen's gambling promotion has included pre-opening promotion, a special supplement extolling the casino and explaining how to gamble, a big spread promoting Jay Leno's appearance, page-one stories on a variety of items, all up to and including the suggestion that gambling may be a good way for students to put themselves through college. See Hieu Pham, "Students Find New Ways to Earn Cash," Iowa City Press-Citizen, September 26, 2006, Nicholas Johnson, "Press-Citizen Promotes Student Gambling," September 26, 2006, Nicholas Johnson, "Let's Not Gamble With Students' Lives," Iowa City Press-Citizen, October 3, 2006, and Nicholas Johnson, "Press-Citizen Practices Free Speech Spirit," October 3, 2006.

Today The Gazette offered a page-one piece of its own about gambling. The difference was that the Gazette's story described the bankruptcy and dispair that often accompanies gambling (along with available treatments), rather than the thrill, lights and winnings of this "new way to earn cash." Rod Boshart, "Gamblers can remove temptation; 1,330 have voluntarily banned themselves from Iowa casinos under state program," The Gazette, October 9, 2006.

It didn't hurt that the same day's issue had a major feature on the downside of "health" and "energy" candy bars (rather than promoting a particular brand), Joan Morris [Contra Costa Times], "Bar None; Think Twice Before Consuming Energy and Protein Bars," Accent Section, The Gazette, October 9, 2006, p. D1, "Alcohol: The Ill Effects of Too Much Liquor," on the same page, and "Personal Trainer: Recipe for Cross Training," on p. D3.

In short, this was a paper that was putting its readers' interests first, rather than promoting the interests of gambling casinos, bars, fast food and lethargy.

And that's why today's Gazette gets the FromDC2Iowa Journalism Review's "Hat's Off Award" for October 9, 2006.


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