Monday Poll Day: The Source and Streetsblog

If a Story Is Covered on The Source, Should Streetsblog Still Cover It?

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(Note: Some people found the wording of the poll weird, so I made a new poll and imported the answers from the first one.  Sorry. – DN)

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I like The Source.  As long as readers remember who publishes the website, I think it can be a great resource for news and information about Metro planning and policy.  Plus, how many cities have a writer the caliber of Steve Hymon, to say nothing of Fred Camino or Carter Rubin, writing daily about transit?  I can think of only one.

But The Source creates a challenge for me that the other Streetsblogs don’t have because there is a rival publication that has access that I can only dream of writing about the same issues.  At first, after The Source’s arrival Streetsblog actually wrote less about transit issues.  As time went on, we began writing more and more about Metro, usually looking for something to add to a The Source story,such as a different angle on the same story or talking to a voice you won’t usually hear on a government website.  That has led to more quotes in stories from people considered in opposition to Metro policies, and to the appearance in some sections that Streetsblog is “anti-Metro.”  I’m not and we’re not.

But there are still times that we pass on stories altogether because The Source got to it first.  For example, I was planning on covering this video put out by the Expo Authority on light rail noise, and was considering a story on the options for the L.A. Streetcar, but in both cases Hymon beat me to the story.

But it occurs to me that I’ve never asked you, the people that read and support Streetsblog in so many ways, how you want me to react if The Source beats me to a story that I want to write.  Are you less likely to read the story on Streetsblog?  Do you feel that it would just divide the comments and stifle debate?  Do you want me to just write/publish it anyway because you don’t like The Source or value our opinions and take?  The poll is a simple yes/no.  If you have anything to add more than that, please leave a note in the comments section.  We’re really interested in hearing what you have to say.

  • Steve Hymon

    I voted “No” — Source coverage shouldn’t impact Streetblog’s coverage.

    As I’ve said before, there’s no substitute for outside coverage of any government agency. My primary goal is to inform people what their government is up to.

    Whether we post something first doesn’t really mean much in the cosmic scheme of things. In just about every case, there’s still plenty of room for discussion and debate on most of what we post. Example: the streetcar routes. We showed what’s being considered and really didn’t comment much beyond that, mostly because it wouldn’t be appropriate at this juncture to really advocate for any route.

    Streetsblog is unique because it has a highly informed audience on transpo issues and, in many cases, some of the audience is also in the position to influence policy. So it would be a shame to shy away from coverage and discussion just because some other blog got something posted first.

    Steve Hymon
    Editor, The Source

  • Anonymous

    Keep keeping Metro honest, Damien!

  • In terms of transportation blogs – can’t have enough and I don’t worry about the same story being told from a different POV.  I imagine you and Steve won’t agree on every single thing out there.  

  • I think Steve meant he voted yes…

    I don’t think you can say enough about having a number of different voices covering the same subject.  I imagine that not everyone that follows streetsblog also follows the source and so on.  Need more coverage period, not less.

  • For the record, Steve wrote this before I changed the poll question, so he was write in saying “no.”  I got two letters from people who were confused by the original wording so I made it more straightforward, but it also switched the “yes” and “no’s.”

  • If “The Source” posts a story first and you agree with it, just copy part of it and link to it. It’s part of Metro’s public relations department; they would LOVE you to steal/copy their stuff. If Metro misses some details or if you disagree with their take, then write about that part but link to their story too. And if you have already half-written a story when The Source posts something, just publish your own story.

    I check The Source once a week, but I trust Streetsblog.

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