Roy Herburger, Elk Grove Citizen Address Anonymous Letters

In yesterday’s Elk Grove Citizen , paper owner Roy Herburger addressed the matter of anonymous letters in his weekly “Roy’s Comments” col...

In yesterday’s Elk Grove Citizen, paper owner Roy Herburger addressed the matter of anonymous letters in his weekly “Roy’s Comments” column.

Herburger, who has operated the Citizen for 50 years, said as a matter of policy letters lacking attribution are not published. The reason, Herburger says, are legal and ethical considerations.

"The person [writing the letter] might be someone who was fired, dismissed for a reason, or dismissed for a false cause. If the letter is legit, put your name on it. If it is defamatory we may still not run it until we check both with our attorney and our good conscience.”

The letters Herburger spoke of concerned alleged improprieties at the Elk Grove Unified School District. The letters claim administrators were not doing their job and that a principal should be fired.

What Herburger doesn’t tell us is if in their role as a guardian of public interest, the Citizen looked into the claim and if they did, were they with merit. Curiosity and the willingness to go out on the limb are a big part of serving the publics interest, especially with a paper like the Citizen has greater resources than any other local media outlet.

On a different note, we would like to address a comment Herburger made further in this same column regarding tort reform in the context of President Obama’s health care initiative.

Herburger wrote:
But one of the reason’s insurance premiums are going up is the fear of lawsuits by the health care providers. There is nothing in Obama’s plan for any tort reform.

"It sounds like Herburger has bought in to the fallacy pushed by big insurance. In actuality, less than One Percent of total health care cost are related to medical malpractice suits."

If we are going to have legitimate discussion about health care reform, we need to dispense with all the half-truths being put-forward by self serving public interest groups of all political stripes and, as Joe Friday might say, stick with the facts.

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Anonymous said...

I agree completely with the stand of not publishing (or even giving much credence to) anonymous charges. Anonymous tips are not worth much in the world of investigation.

I do have a problem with this site calling Herberger to task buying into a fallacy and making a statement that provides a "fact" to rebut his editorial stance but not providing anything to back up your own view of the facts. If you want to stick to the facts - provide some valid sources.

Anonymous said...

The one percent you speak of does not include the expenses related to practicing questionably needed defensive medicine to avoid frivilous lawsuits. This can be very expensive.

Side Note: As a web blogger who is interested in local civic issues, I would repectfully request that you review comments made by posters to your site. Many interesting items brought to our attention for consideration devolve into rumor and maligning individuals with innuendo and obvious delusional hatred. I don't believe Elk Grove News.Net can flourish and provide a valuable outlet for differing opinions if this is allowed to continue. That would be a shame because there is tremendous potential for this blog.

I plead with you to consider methods to improve the dialouge by eliminate the abusive comments.

Thank you...

wayne Gallup said...

Herberger makes a point about anonymous postings. But one also has to notice that the Citizen gives a noticeable pass to anything negative, even if true, about the City Council. Two reporters who ventured into that territory were let go "for economic reasons".
Journalism, as we used to know it, is no longer the Citizen's forte. Same for the Bee. Elk Grove News is the only source around willing to turn over rocks. It seems interesting that the two previous posters who are being critical wish to remain anonymous.

Wayne Gallup

Anonymous said...

A reminder that it was an anonymous tip to the Washington Post that brought down Richard Nixon. I wonder what would have happened had Woodward and Bernstein wrote the same type of article Roy Herburger did.

The Elk Grove Citzen is not an investigative paper. It is a community newsletter.

That is why Bobby Wilson got fired because of the Danielson articles. And many a council member has gone to the Citizen threatening to pull the city notices if "certain" articles were going to run. This is so secret because council members have boasted doing as much.

Jeff Forward tried to do investigative journalism and he lost his job as well.

The Herburgers just need to have the integrity to let their readers know that they only cover fluff, feel good stories about the Elk Grove and the City Council and nothing more.

That is why the big cover story yesterday is about the Strauss Festival but not even a mention about Sheryl Bray.

Would have been a good article that even "prominent" people make mistakes and there is lesson here for all of us that drinking and driving isn't just for us mere mortals with no standing in the community. But one call to the Herburgers and the story, if there ever was one, was killed.

Must be nice to control the press. A free press is the cornerstone to a free society.

Anonymous said...

If Bobby and Jeff were truly fired for their investigative articles, why did those articles still run in the paper?

Anonymous said...

Um, maybe because you don't fire somebody who is intimidated enough to NOT publish an embarrassing article??????

Perhaps Bobby and Jeff took their journalistic responsibilities seriously enough that they decided they simply could not turn their backs on what they knew.....

Anonymous said...

What's left for the Citizen?

No one wants to pay for a classified ad with Craiglist at our fingertips.

If you read the book Purple Cow you will understand why print advertising is like the candle industry just refusing to go away even though it's already gone.

Roy owes a debt of thanks to the foreclosure market and the mandatory public printing that goes along with that industry.

So keep printing pictures of kids graduating and people holding up awards. That will sell a few papers per person per picture.

Anonymous said...

Who's drinking the Koolaid? That 1% figure reflects only the cost of judgments against insurers. it does not account for litigation costs by insurers, any of the costs (litigation or judgment) of providers, and most significantly does not reflect the cost of defensive medicine practices. Tort reform is an important element of real health care reform: reducing costs, versus the current effort to create a single-payer national system masquerading as insurance reform.

Anonymous said...

Woodward and Bernstein did not report based upon an anonymous tip. They knew they're source and checked him out, they did not reveal their source. Get your history straight.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Forward was a jackarse!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, but as David Halberstam wrote of journalist/reporters:

"Long ago in the days before journalists became celebrities, their enterprise was reviled and poorly paid, and it was understood by working newspapermen that the presence of more than two people at their funeral could be taken as a sign that they had disgraced the profession."

Anonymous said...

I cant count the number of times that real news has been pushed aside in the Galt Herald=Elk Grove Citizen in order to provide community news letter stuff, such as high school pictures and the latest squabble over who hurt whos' feelings. I refuse to purchase that drivel. If real news that promoted critical thinking and issues of substance like policies that will forever change your life for the worse; i.e. the Elk Grove SOI and the destruction of a precious environmental, economic, and socially important resource such as the Cosumnes Flood Plain or resources for the preservation of rural living were actually being printed in the aforementioned papers I might consider paying for a subscription. The political paralysis of the local press and their devotion to their developer friends and relatives is enough to make one wretch. Anonymous or not, letters to the editor on issues that will inform a sleeping public can not be expected to be printed in the Herberger Press. That has been my observations to date from a involved resident for over 20 years.

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah blabber Lisa blah gave lach Lent yukku a.... Hume.... b j

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