from a soon-to-be-ex-reporter of the Madison Courier|
Hi JB, I don't know you and you don't know me but I want to give you some information that I believe the people of Madison should know. I ask that you please do not ever use my name or say or do anything about it (if you decide to or not) until after my last day (it will be around the 15th of Feb. but I have a feeling they aren't going to let me stay on for that long) or I will be monetarily strapped to move back to Pennsylvania. I've put in my notice and Jane and Elliot are well aware of why I'm leaving. Just a little background - I've been a newspaper reporter for about 11 years now and when I chose to move to Madison I fell in love with the town, but soon found out that the newspaper is extremely biased and caters to certain people, as you know. In all of my years as a reporter I've never dealt with such unethical practices, and because I refused to cater to the biased tone and slant articles the way they wanted them written and trying to get through to Jane and Elliot about how I felt, I had no alternative but to quit.
Remember the Meese Building Project that was front page news just before the Mayoral election? The developers called it River mill Resort. That article was put in to make the Mayor look good before the election, although they would never admit it. They did it to show new growth coming into the area. One night I was researching the development and its progress and found information that David K. Landau, a partner of the project, is wanted in Illinois for over $30,000 in back child support. He is the one who was living in a tent on the property and giving tours. So I thought, woah - huge red flag - a guy comes into town touting a $1.5 million development and promises jobs, revenues and gets handshakes from the Mayor (Al) and he's actually listed on the Governor of Illinois' deadbeat dads web site. HOW COULD THEY NOT REPORT THAT??
So I gave them the benefit of the doubt of not knowing the information and when we had our usual weekly staff meeting to go over the stories we were working on (this was in early Dec.) I brought it up and was told by another reporter (Peggy V.) that it was already known, but Elliot said it wasn't. He said to go ahead with the article. I did. I researched it for a week and even called Landau himself and his partner (Bob Przewlocki) and Landau tried to tell me it wasn't child support he owed, but a business deal that had gone under and his wife was just bitter towards him. Przewlocki told me over the phone that I should "watch myself". Well, I'm the type that if you threaten me, it's just going to make me dig further. I wrote an entire article on it, including quotes from Illinois Enforcement officers who thanked me for telling them where Landau was (I didn't intentionally, it was because I was asking information about him) and said, "he is one of our most egregious offenders when it comes to providing for their child." He also had his license revoked for non-payment yet drove around Madison in a Mercedes. Well, bottom line, I wrote the article and submitted it but it wasn't getting printed. When I asked Elliot why, he kept blowing me off, saying he had to talk to Jane about it first. Then he said he talked to Jane but she hasn't gotten back to him. My article is now deleted from the files at work. They thought it would make certain people look bad. David K. Landau is now nowhere to be found and at a recent staff meeting I again questioned it and was told that it looks like the Meese deal has hit roadblocks but they would look into it, not me. They are covering up the fact that city officials in office at the time the deal was made did not have the intelligence to look into these partners' backgrounds. And the paper got a new reporter fresh out of college to write the story and not ask any questions.
This is just one of many I believe the community should know about. What they did to Dr. Grody is unbelievable and so much more. I will write you another email if you are interested in more things being shoved under the rug, but again, please wait until I leave the paper. I did not hold back when I told Jane and Elliot my reason for leaving and now they are not talking to me at all so I have a funny feeling they won't let me work my entire 3 weeks. I have nothing to gain from any of this, I just believe what they are doing is wrong, bottom line.
I've wanted to write to you because other reporters at the paper and I feel the same about the biased nature there but ultimately, unless we quit, are hands are tied. The city council reporter is one that absolutely sucks up to Jane and will write anything to bash those Jane does not like, hence the election articles on Tim Armstrong, etc.
I've never worked for such an underhanded newspaper before and I hope I never will again. Please let me know you received this and if you'd like to hear more. I don't know what good it could do for you but if anyone can do anything it seems to me from reading your web site, you'd be the one. (and YES they do read oldmadison and can't stand it, so that tells me you are doing a great job in getting to them!) Thanks for your time.
from a soon-to-be-ex-reporter of the Madison Courier
Hi Jeffery, sorry I didn't get right back to you. I was busy briefing other reporters on my articles I was working on because when I met with Jane and Elliot Thursday she said although I had given them more notice that she was accepting my resignation that day. So Thursday was my last day (unexpectedly because I was working on several stories for the paper). She said they would pay me for 2 weeks pay even though I gave 30 day notice due to the length of time it takes to tie up loose ends at work and pack & move back home. I was actually surprised that she gave me any type of pay at all.
She said because of my concerns in my letter of resignation she didn't feel I was a "fit" any longer there. Other reporters feel the same (except Peggy V. & Justin who bow down to her) & are hoping to leave soon as well do to the bias there.
Some other things Jane & her minions have done:
I was given a story by Elliot to do on Dr. Alcorn leaving KDH & taking a position at St. Catherine's Hospital in Charlestown. The photographer was to take a photo to go with the article. Jane said a photo wasn't needed of Dr. Alcorn. In my article Dr. Alcorn expressed strong views of the way KDH is run & said the Board there should be made up of doctors because they know what is best for the patients there. I called the CEO of KDH to give him a chance to respond to Alcorn's comments (I always let every angle of a story be represented because it's only fair). When I talked to the CEO he literally laughed uncontrollably about Alcorn's concerns that KDH doesn't have up-to-date equipment for doctors and proceeded to make fun of St. Catherine's. I even let him off the hook a little and didn't use the worst of his quotes but still put most of what he said in the article. The next day every quote or mention of KDH was taken out of my article and I told Elliot DO NOT put my byline on it because it's not even close to what I wrote. I also called Jane on playing favoritism (in my letter of resignation) The article never ran (it was written first part of January) & what was the lowest part was Jane and Elliot both sucked up to Dr. Alcorn when he came in to advertise in the paper, told him his article would run soon, and then have know intention of running it but have no problem taking his money to advertise in the courier. Absolutely hypocritical. This is how she treats a man whose family has practiced medicine for over 50 years in Madison?
The night Tim was elected mayor, we were all in the office working on our stories for the paper. Jane comes in and asks how it was down at the Democrat headquarters. Someone said they were all very happy with the outcome. She said, "They won't be happy for very long once they realize what they're in for." Her and Peggy then tried to find any loophole they could that showed the election results were wrong. Jane constantly makes comments about how Armstrong doesn't know what he's doing and neither do the others.
I was never allowed to cover any city hall articles, which is fine. But Peggy went on vacation and they asked me to cover the swearing in on Jan. 1st. I took that as my opportunity to set the record straight about Tim and who he hired. Jane didn't like it but she didn't see the article before it went in. I made sure of it:)
After the editorial on the courthouse Christmas tree went in the paper (which I and two other reporters objected to vehemently but had no say so - that was Jane & Elliot's doing) we had a staff meeting. I had put on the photographer's calendar to go down and get photos of the group decorating the tree. He said he didn't have time (He never says that). He called me and said there was nobody there so he couldn't get a photo. I knew that was a lie because another reporter saw the volunteers out there decorating it. He was told not to but I can't prove it. I wanted to do a follow-up story on how some citizens came together and decorated the tree. They said no. Elliot told all of us if we ran into anyone that became angry or threatened us about the editorial to let him or Jane know. I was dumbfounded. That was pretty much the last straw for me. They pruposely put the photo of the Duke Energy guy in rather than the volunteers.
There was an alleged rape on the hilltop. They didn't want it reported on. There are several high profile criminal cases in town. They won't let us get them in the paper. It's ridiculous. If I were in a community where there was an alleged rape I would want to know about it for the safety of others. But, nope, not important. I can't prove this, but I got a tip that Al and Ann Geyman bought property together on Second Street, I believe. The same woman who embezzled money from the Switzerland School District. If I would've looked into that it would have been shot down immediately.
So you tell me what is best to do. Little snippets in posts or one big post? I can't sign it but I can back up pretty much everything else. The rest you'll have to take my word on. Again, I've got nothing to gain from this. I feel sorry for the 2 good reporters there (Sara and Emily) who want to leave but can't for now. It's a shame, Madison is a great town, but the main newspaper here is deceptive. I've worked in city papers that didn't even come close to being corrupt that's why this just blows me away. Sorry for the long email. Talk soon, Laura
all you need to do is read a single copy of the newspaper to know firsthand that what the press is often reporting is pure, unadulterated, mostly baloney, constantly and continually slanted towards singular negative incidents when there are hundreds and thousands of real, accurate, readily-available positive accomplishments and achievements happening all around them every day? These negatives are put out by reporters who, with a straight face, slant their reporting [which is interspersed with a few facts in case anyone checks out the accuracy of their data] as though what is being reported is a true and accurate portrayal of what's really going on
One of the essential elements of an impartial press is the "wall of separation" between the editorial pages and the pages devoted to the news. While the political beliefs of newspaper owners and editors are clearly articulated on opinion pages, their views are not supposed to infiltrate the reporting of the news. What makes the news media do this? What makes them slant the news by reporting only those facts that support their own views in their story [and all too often, their own OPINIONS disguised as facts] and then constantly and continually, ad nauseum, tell us that they're reporting both sides and all the facts.