By Bob Berkowitz – December 7, 2016
Because you asked the question, you deserve an answer. The question you’ve asked is, “Why don’t you write any more Coastal Voices pieces in the Triplicate like you have done for many years?” The short answer is that I have been blackballed from writing anything in the newspaper.
As many of you know, over the years I have written many Coastal Voices pieces and letters to the editor for the Triplicate. When I became a candidate for office, the editor of the Triplicate established a policy that candidates could not write in the Triplicate while they were a candidate. Though I disagreed with the policy, as editor, he could establish any policies he saw fit.
When I could no longer get my ideas in print, I sought out other venues and this internet blog was one of them. Unfortunately, after I had written several pieces for the Crescent City Times, the Triplicate editor came out with a new policy that anyone who writes or is associated with the Crescent City Times could no longer write a Coastal Voices piece or letter to the editor or anything in the Triplicate. I assume that this is a lifetime ban because the editor won’t tell me how long the blacklisting will last.
So here is the point. It looks like my ideas are no longer welcome in the Triplicate. The bottom line is that this attempt to silence the possibility for dialogue with you, the readers, will not prevent me from communicating with you. I would suspect that others on the board of supervisors, the city council, the harbor commission and others will discover the Crescent City Times and subsequently be banned from writing in the Triplicate. Already Supervisor Gitlin has found himself in this situation. He too has been banned by the Triplicate.
From what I can tell, the subscriber base for the Triplicate is dwindling while the readership of the Crescent City Times is increasing. Keep in mind that the Crescent City Times has no paid staff and virtually no overhead. It has volunteer writers who sometimes get things wrong, but that’s the nature of the internet. After all, I have been wrong on my facts a number of times, but I do attempt to correct the record.
There is one great advantage in writing in the Crescent City Times over writing in the Triplicate. It’s this; once an article is printed in the Crescent City Times, you can make a comment on that article immediately. Other than using profanity, the comment will usually not be censored. Contrast this with the Triplicate. If a Triplicate Coastal Voices piece is published on a Thursday, a person’s comments, in the form of a letter to the editor, won’t appear until Saturday at the earliest. Sometimes the letters are even edited so that the original writer can’t even recognize their own letter.
It’s a shame that this current Triplicate editor is forcing more and more readers to the internet to get their local news and views. I for one, am a great believer in newspapers and especially local newspapers like the Triplicate. Each time one goes out of business, it hurts the community, but I fear that the current editor is hastening the demise of this once great local newspaper.
That’s my point of view and I welcome yours.