Editorial: Sticks and Stones


The News & Observer/Herald-Sun recently published an article that calls into question The Local Reporter’s (TLR) independence and promotes allegations that TLR is slanted toward the views of the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT). We do not understand why a large for-profit newspaper has sought to impugn TLR’s integrity. We do know that TLR is helping to fill the gap left by the N&O’s and H-S’s very limited coverage of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.

The essence of the accusations against TLR is that members of TLR who are affiliated with CHALT did not disclose that association. Our readers understand that people can be part of different projects and yet keep them separate. In Chapel Hill and Carrboro, with their engaged citizenry, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t joined some local group. From PTAs to town boards to political groups, many of us want to be part of something larger and to contribute to our community. Thus, people associated with TLR may have other civic affiliations, but these other affiliations have not prevented TLR from publishing factual, unbiased journalism, as the N&O’s review confirms. By contrast, the N&O/H-S article contains factually incorrect statements that mischaracterize the relationship between CHALT and TLR.

In the wake of the publication of the N&O’s article, TLR subscribers have asked how they can show their support for TLR. Consider writing a letter to the editor of the N&O or to other local news sites or posting a statement of support on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.

As our readers know, TLR has published hundreds of articles and opinion pieces that reflect a wide spectrum of views on local issues. We stand by our commitment to provide an open forum for all community members to exchange ideas. TLR volunteers and staff will endeavor to continue to merit the trust and support of local residents as we bring to TLR’s readers news and information about our community.


Rudy Juliano, Fred Lampe and Del Snow on behalf of the Friends of Local Journalism

Share This Article

Scroll down to make a comment.

8 Comments on "Editorial: Sticks and Stones"

  1. We enjoy involvement in our community. We volunteer on county advisory boards. We have a lot of different interests and opinions on many things. Some opinions might be considered liberal, others conservative, but they are the result of reading and understanding. Minds can be changed with reasonable discussion and facts. We are capable of nuanced thought. The N&O needs to recognize us for that and cease branding people for the purpose of profit.

  2. The newspaper got it right you are CHALT voice.

  3. “Have you ever seen a reporter’s political or civic affiliations listed in the N&O?” No, because there would be nothing to list. The N&O ethics policy forbids such activities by their journalists. This includes even simple acts like a placing a yard sign for a candidate.

    A better question: Why does TLR bristle at questions about how it operates? Why is it so defensive? That’s what I see in this response to solid reporting by the N&O and in posts on social media by TLR editors.

    It’s unfortunate because many of us had high hopes for TLR.

  4. CHALT’s goal, according to jargon on its website, is to aid local leadership in managing the town’s growth and creating a sustainable future, including by promoting green infrastructure and a mix of housing choices.

    That all sounds good on paper. In practice, CHALT has fought vigorously against nearly every major development proposal, most recently Aura. When asked what kind of development CHALT supports, McClintock struggled to name a single project (two hours later, she called me back with one example: Glen Lennox, a mixed-use complex approved by the town in 2014).

  5. Perhaps a reason why CHALT has opposed nearly every major development proposal is because of the Town Council encourages developer-friendly investments in luxury apartments and chain restaurants, with no real required stipulations in affordable housing, minority-owned and local commercial space, and traffic and environmental impacts. From what I’ve seen, major developers are able to ignore so-called requirements that the town has for small-scale developers and bypass public discussion of the projects. The Town Council even ignores the years of effort and recommendations that their local boards wrestle over projects.

    I found the article to be pretty terrible, though I thought it was an Indy article. I actually wrote to the Indy expressing my opinion. In any case, I totally agree with TLR when they stated that Chapel Hill/Carrboro is barely ever covered by the H-S/N&O. Perhaps, they should stick with Raleigh and Durham since they love their soulless luxury apartments there.

    As for the connection to CHALT and to The Local Reporter, I don’t know enough to comment much. I do recall a pro-development article written in TLR, and I do see encouragements in TLR to freelance. So, I suppose if there were those enamored with luxury apartments, they can feel free to write for TLR and have a decent chance of being published. I do agree, however, that if TLR had staff writers, they should not have public political opinions (unlike the one-sided Indy/N&O/H-S writer of that dreadful article.

  6. How about, instead, we call you out publicly for your lack of journalistic ethics.

  7. Hey there!

    As a veteran reporter who works in a non-profit newsroom and can’t be tarred with your silly “large, for-profit newspaper” nonsense, let me just say:

    Your publication is what actual journalists like to call “a terrible joke.”

    That’s a technical term. Colloquially, “clown shoes” is also acceptable.

  8. Wait, isn’t the N&O a large for-profit paper, owned by McClatchy? The newsroom does receive 10% of its support through “philanthropy,” but one of the big providers of that is the Koch brothers…so, there’s that. Some of these comments seems like there are some journalists that don’t like scrappy competition. I get it, journalism is a very tough field these days, but if a big, for-profit newspaper doesn’t cover your city, then they shouldn’t get mad if something else crops up. I don’t know enough about TLR to really support it, but the arguments for TLR bashing seem unseemly so far.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.