The publisher of The Albany Herald ran a column yesterday taking aim at WALB’s General Manger, Jim Wilcox. Wilcox apparently signaled the demise of the print newspaper and offered up WALB as an alternative to print media.
Publisher John Hetzler was apparently not amused.
However, I think my colleague should put things in a bit of perspective. The news that the Herald would be focusing more on their web product comes shortly after this publication suspended publishing our print edition.
Hetzler seems taken aback by Wilcox’s comments, saying, “The Herald has routinely beaten WALB and, since we began focusing heavily on our website albanyherald.com, a few years ago, our news team has consistently scooped WALB with only breaking news as well, beating them at their own game.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Hetzler has missed that The Albany Journal has also consistently scooped the Herald on news. Despite the fact that this would actually support his assertion that newspapers aren’t dead, only transforming, he has chosen to pretend that The Herald and WALB are the only two games in town.
In reality, we have broken stories that the Herald has yet to touch, including evidence of voting fraud in last year’s Ward 2 election.
The reality is that Mr. Hetzler is right, newspapers are no on their last legs. As a trailblazer in the future of print media, the Journal is uniquely placed to comment on this. However, The Herald is far from any paragon of journalism either.
No, this is the same paper where a reporter was allegedly receiving favors from someone he was supposed to cover. That reporter is still employed, despite sources from inside the newsroom sharing this reporters comments with me.
Make no mistake folks, the Herald is bigger. They have more resources. That does not make them better. WALB provides a great deal of new coverage to Southwest Georgia. They get some right, and sometimes they are wrong too. Every news agency in town can say the same.
In time, the Herald will take another step in following our lead. They will move exclusively on the web. Either that, or they will close their doors forever. Honestly, that’s fine with me. Less competition will only help the Journal stay afloat even better.
However, Mr. Hetzler may want to tread carefully when touting how excellent his paper is. In truth, many people in Albany know far, far better than that.