The Untold Story Of The McKinleyville Press – July 27, 2011

Editor Jack Durham toiling at the Arcata Union. KLH | Union

Note: Last week, the McKinleyville Press marked its 15th anniversary. In celebration, Press Editor Jack Durham looks back on the newspaper’s history in a four-part series. This is the first installment. – Ed.

By Jack Durham

Press Editor

McKINLEYVILLE – In the fall of 1995, I came home late one evening from a camping trip, turned on the evening news and learned that the Arcata Union was going out of business. Although I didn’t know it at the time, that was a pivotal moment in the birth of the McKinleyville Press.

Upon hearing of the demise of the Union – where I worked as the News Editor – I didn’t think about starting a newspaper; I just worried about the prospect of unemployment.

When I returned to work that Monday morning, I got some good news –  at least good for me. After the final issue of the Union was printed, I would go to work as the Northern Humboldt County Bureau Chief for the Humboldt Beacon. Located in Fortuna, the Humboldt Beacon was the Union’s sister paper, owned by Patrick O’Dell, who also owned the Redwood Record in Garberville.

O’Dell, a second-generation Fortuna business tycoon, had decided to close both the Union and the Redwood Record. The Humboldt Beacon would absorb all subscribers from both the Union and Redwood Record, transforming the Beacon from a Fortuna/Eel River Valley weekly to a county-wide publication. It was a bad idea, and doomed to failure, but I was happy to have a paycheck.

The crew at the Union labored away on the final edition. It was a teary eyed experience putting a 109-year-old paper to bed forever. You couldn’t help but feel you were somehow letting down all the editors, pressmen and reporters who had poured their hearts and souls into the newspaper since 1886.

The idea

The final Union hit the streets, and suddenly I was working for the Humboldt Beacon, happy to have a job, but disgruntled because all but one of my co-workers at the Union had lost their jobs, disgruntled because the closure of the Arcata Union had seemed unnecessary, disgruntled because the mission of the paper I was now working for was doomed to fail.

Nevertheless, I continued to trudge off to work daily, spending three days a week gathering and writing news from my office in Arcata, and two days a week assembling pages in Fortuna.

It was during this time that I began to seriously contemplate starting a small community newspaper in McKinleyville. The idea had simmered in my head for years, but it was always on the level of fantasy. It was never something I seriously thought I’d pursue.

But with the closure of the Union, McKinleyville didn’t have a newspaper it could call its own. The Beacon didn’t fill that need, and never would.

With one reporter (me), a freelance writer or two, and some columnists in charge of covering everything from Eureka to the Del Norte County line, the Beacon was stretched way too thin. It didn’t have any focus.

From an editorial perspective, there was clearly a niche to fill in Mack Town. From a business perspective, the mid-1990s were a time of rapid growth in the bedroom community. More and more businesses were popping up on Central Avenue. There were potential advertisers.


I began thinking about and researching what it would take to start a newspaper. I filled binders with notes and scribbles and lists. I gathered information on what computer programs I would need, where I could obtain newspaper racks, and so on. The process consumed me.

Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night, stare at the ceiling and mentally assemble the puzzle that would become the McKinleyville Press.

At the start of the venture, my biggest advantage was my enthusiasm and starry-eyed optimism, But I had at least two things going against me: I didn’t have much money, and I didn’t know what I was doing.

The money I had available to start the newspaper was less than $3,000 in cash. I also had credit cards – a dangerous way to finance an upstart enterprise.

Lack of knowledge was the more serious hindrance. My newspaper experience was limited to reporting, editing, photography, and page layout on a computer. I had occasionally delivered newspapers as a kid and worked in the mail room during a short stint one summer at the Willits News.

But I didn’t know anything about business, advertising, graphic design, paste up and a million other tasks involved in putting out a paper.

Looking back, being ignorant and naive was probably beneficial at the start. Had I completely grasped what was involved in creating a paper, I probably would have scared myself out of the idea, and instead looked for a nine-to-five job with a steady paycheck.

Green light

At some point in the spring of 1996 I decided, with my then-business partner, Sherilynn Silvernail, to create the McKinleyville Press. I continued to work at the Beacon as I began to assemble the pieces.

First, I built a crude darkroom in my garage using old plywood that had previously been part of the Arcata Union darkroom before it was dismantled and tossed in a dumpster, where I salvaged it. I bought some used darkroom equipment for about $100.

I bought my first computer – an Apple Performa 6200. With Pagemaker, Photoshop, a small scanner and a single laser printer, I was ready to go.

Former Union employee and graphic artist, Grace Kerr, helped create the newspaper’s masthead, which was based on lead type that I had fished out of a trash bin at the Union. That original masthead was a homage to the Union, and a symbolic way of saying, “I’m going to carry on this newspaper tradition started by Austin Wiley back in 1886.”

The entire business occupied a single corner of my living room. There was a desk with a computer, printer and scanner. Nearby was a drafting table, a waxer and an Exacto knife for layout.

I convinced Ethel Wilkins, who had written a column called “McKinleyville Matters” for the Union, to write for me. Ed Estes, a retired teacher and McKinleyville Community Services District boardmember, volunteered to cover sports at Mack High and write a political column. Tim Martin volunteered to write a column of varied topics. I was ready to roll.

Time to hit the streets

Although I had worked at newspapers, I had never actually put together an entire edition from scratch. I didn’t really grasp the enormity of the task.

Had I known what I was getting into, I would have carefully prepared for the first issue of the McKinleyville Press. I would have mocked up most of the pages a week or two ahead of time, like Kevin Hoover did when he started the Arcata Eye nine weeks later.

But that’s not what happened. I declared that within a week and a half, the first edition of the McKinleyville Press would come out. I bought some new clothes and hit the streets. There were stories to be written and ads to be sold.

Keep in mind that while news articles get people to buy and read a  newspaper, it’s advertising that pays most of the bills. So selling ads was, and is, of the utmost importance. Without advertising, there’s no newspaper.

I walked in to Dalianes Travel, which had an office in McKinleyville back then, and asked Dianne Harris if she was interested in advertising. She said yes, and Dalianes became the newspaper’s first advertiser. Fifteen years later, Dalianes is still advertising.

My next stop was Les Schwab Tires, which hadn’t opened yet. They were still putting the finishing touches on the new building. I met outside with manager Pat Sheehy.

As I was giving Pat my sales pitch, a yellow Labrador walked up to me, sniffed my pants, lifted his leg and pissed on me!

Despite standing there with my right pant leg covered in dog piss, I was ecstatic – Pat bought a full page ad, with color. But I wondered: How do I make a color page?

First deadline

The first deadline was a tough one. I had to develop film, make prints and scan them in. Every advertisement had to be made from scratch. There was a load of typing. There were stories to be written. Pages had to be created. We only had a single computer, so we weren’t able to share the page layout duties.

After the pages were created on the computer, I had to print them all out on paper, cut them up, wax them and assemble the pages.

The clock was ticking. I had to get the newspaper done by 7 a.m. that Monday so I could jump in the car and drive to Smith River in Del Norte County, where the paper was printed back then.

I stayed up all night. At about 5 a.m. it occurred to me that there was no way I was going to meet my deadline if I started correcting all the typos. There simply wasn’t time.

I haphazardly finished the pages, placed them in a plastic sleeve and literally ran out the door. I raced up to Smith River and arrived right on time.

Adrenaline was rushing through my veins as I watched and listened to the first issue come off the Del Norte Triplicate’s Goss Community Press. That old press made a wonderful clickety-clackety sound. Since that day, one of my favorite things to listen to is a web press. It’s music to the ears.

That afternoon, the paper was distributed for the first time, dropped in piles all over town. It was free for the first month. After that, we charged 35 cents an issue. Subscriptions were $12 a year.

After delivering the paper, I came home, looked in the mirror and discovered that a single gray hair had sprouted on my head. I was 28 years old, and that was my first gray hair. More would follow.

Next week: The McKinleyville Press grows, and life revolves around the weekly deadline.


Related posts


  1. Ian Ray said:

    Rose, can we not use beg the question outside of its logic nerd definition? I don’t mind when people say for all “intensive” purposes, they “could” care less, it “seems” as how, or even “irregardless”. Begging the question is what homeopathic endometritis advocates, shit tsunamists, and other baseless claim makers do.

    Thank you.

  2. Mitch said:


    I’m not alleging any grand conspiracy, Rose. I’ve said my piece.

  3. Rose said:

    Since the most likely explanation for it not appearing in the paper is that the Times-Standard is short-staffed and way behind on their “On The Record” reports, rather than the grand conspiracy which is alleged, your attacks on Jack are just kind of unnecessary.

    When it came to the last-ditch dirty-tricks peddling, Hank was right.

    But I guess you’d rather have him pushing some inflammatory info without time to vet the info – and that’s a slippery slope, Mitch. Allegations could be slung, and found to be false, too late.

    And your buddy, Sara the Dog was slinging a lot of that kind of garbage last go round.

  4. Mitch said:


    I’ll ignore the fact that you pose the question here after I’ve said I’m really, really done.

    I am not the tipster. Also, I am not Heraldo or one of the Heraldos. Also, I was not involved in anyone’s campaign in this election or (I’m pretty sure) anything since the recall.

    I even think this candidate may well turn out to be a fine official, though his behavior at the start of the campaign was ill-advised and I don’t think people reckless enough to have a DUI should be running for office within the next few years. I understand that people make terrible errors of judgment; unlike Kevin, I think there needs to be at least a period of a few years between an obvious and serious error of judgement and a candidacy for public office.

    But my disgust is not with the candidate, which is why I jump through the ludicrous-appearing hoop of avoiding the candidate’s name. My disgust is with the Humboldt press corpse.

  5. Jack Durham said:

    Those are good points. It would look better if the candidate released info. about his own DUI.

  6. Rose said:

    Mitch is really wedded to this – so I am wondering – remember Hank’s piece on this whole thing?

    “The tipster told us that he was someone “who helps journalists do their jobs,” but it was pretty plain that the opposite was in fact the case: He wanted journalists to help him do his.”

    Begs the question – are you the mysterious “tipster?”

  7. kevpod said:

    I’d argue that is the accused’s responsibility to be on top of their legal situation. Especially if they’re presenting their leadership skills for public consideration. The attorney works for the accused; putting the blame on an employee isn’t a mark of leadership.

  8. Mitch said:

    But, really, really last thing from me… as I understand it, the failure to appear was a screwup by the lawyer, not a show of disrespect by the candidate.

  9. Mitch said:


    Not to mention that the pig should really leave.

  10. Mitch said:

    Just to review some of the sources from which such a story might leak: there’s the neighbors, the CHP officer who did the “arrest,” the CHP officer’s friends, the people who were at the court building when the candidate’s case was called the first time, the people who were in the court building when the candidate was (cited?/had a warrant issue?) for his lawyer’s failure to appear, the people in the DA’s office, the people the candidate told, the people they told, the person who called in the report to the CHP, the people that person told, the person who leaked to the Herald, and so on.

    It seems extraordinarily risky for a campaign to assume that rumors won’t get to the press, somehow, if a reporter is following the campaign. And once a reporter gets the rumor, it’s all public record.

  11. kevpod said:

    I’m with Mitch on this one, but maybe for slightly different reasons.

    “Why would someone in his campaign go around telling the press that he got busted for a DUI? That would be stupid. Really stupid.”

    From a pragmatic sense, I guess they were right since he won. I would have been impressed if this candidate had immediately disclosed the DUI to his would-be constituents, faced it straightforwardly and described how he was addressing his problem. That would have been a fine example for all of us. But he took the low road and went sneaky-sneaky.

    In my opinion, the DUI wasn’t really a dealbreaker as everyone makes mistakes, and bad ones. Fortunately no one got hurt or this would be a very different story. What was far more unsettling was the failure to appear. That shows calculated disregard for the criminal justice system. I wonder what moral authority someone who blows off court dates has to create legislation that requires compliance.

  12. Mitch said:


    I’m sorry, I keep getting drawn back in. I’m amazed by your previous comment. Honestly. I just don’t know what to say. I obviously don’t understand the way things work here; I probably don’t understand the way things work anywhere.

    In my fantasy world, a candidate would be anxious to release this news before it was discovered by a reporter, so that they could spin it in the least disadvantageous way possible. For a candidate to think that reporters might not find out a public record such as this would never happen in my fantasy world. (Actually, in my fantasy world, a candidate would not declare with such a disqualifying situation hanging over him or her.)

  13. Jack Durham said:

    During those six months, we were all putting out newspapers, covering the campaign, photographing fires, delivering newspapers, etc. etc. We didn’t know about the DUI, for reasons I’ve already explained. Then, when we knew about it, we wrote about it.

    While it’s possible that everyone in the Sundberg campaign “knew,” they didn’t tell us. Why would someone in his campaign go around telling the press that he got busted for a DUI? That would be stupid. Really stupid.

  14. Mitch said:


    As I wrote above, not critiquing any articles, not commenting on what may have appeared at or after the primary election, not re-asking the questions you’ve already answered, and not choosing between the incompetence explanation and any other… Now, really, I’m done.

    The incident itself happened, if I recall correctly, in December or January. My question is what the press was doing for the six months prior to the incident appearing on the Herald in June. My question is based on statements from those supporting the candidate that “everybody knew.”

    I’m already used to these questions striking the local press as unreasonable and “there-he-goes-again,” so I’m done. The McKinleyville Press, the Times-Standard, and the North Coast Journal are all magnificent examples of America’s watchdog press in action, and all the kids are above average.

  15. Jack Durham said:

    Mitch, you’re askings questions that I’ve already answered. Go back and read my explanation about how the media learns about DUI charges.

    Also, why are you critiquing articles that you admittedly never read? This reminds me if when Bob Dole lashed out at the movie Trainspotting, which he hadn’t actually seen!

  16. Mitch said:


    The incident itself happened, if I recall correctly, in December or January. My question is what the press was doing for the six months prior to the incident appearing on the Herald in June. My question is based on statements from those supporting the candidate that “everybody knew.”

    I’m already used to these questions striking the local press as unreasonable and “there-he-goes-again,” so I’m done. The McKinleyville Press, the Times-Standard, and the North Coast Journal are all magnificent examples of America’s watchdog press in action, and all the kids are above average.

  17. kevpod said:

    But of course! Logical fallacies don’t play favorites.

    Seriously, I was thinking of something akin to SGU, the gold standard.

    There have to be some fun brainiacs around here who would delight in co-processing Arcata’s surfeit of superstitious silliness. I know a few.

  18. Ian Ray said:

    Kevin, would we not be skeptical of our skeptics group? That should be discussed in the charter.

  19. Ian Ray said:

    Mitcj, this story was splashed on the Humboldt Herald June 4th, 2010. The Times-Standard published June 6th. Last chance for California voting on primaries was Tuesday, June 8th.

    There was likely a short window of opportunity to link facts to the story. My impression is the Times-Standard gathered facts on June 5th to publish.

  20. kevpod said:

    Ian, we should start a skeptic group in Arcata. It’s not like there’s any shortage of topics!

  21. Mitch said:

    Thank you, Ian. I’ve never been on PBS, so I’m probably not whoever you saw.

    I agree with you that journalists have a responsibility to confirm rumors prior to publishing them. But, again, that is not a matter at issue here. If going to the DA and asking for confirmation was too much, and if going through public court records to confirm the court dates was too much, and if going through the CHP arrest logs was too much, it should have sufficed to call Jill Duffy or, perhaps, the campaign manager or, perhaps, the candidate.

    The issue is that this sat there, known to a circle of friends and supporters of a candidate for the area’s highest office, and the set of people who call themselves journalists either did not come upon this fact or, for whatever reason, did not act upon it. At least not until after many people sent in their primary ballots.

    I’d be much less vocal about this if I weren’t aware of the different treatment others have received at the hands of these same people who call themselves journalists. It’s a disgrace, and a major problem for Humboldt County.

  22. Ian Ray said:

    Mitch, it’s the boy who cried wolf syndrome. When real people present facts, they require factual backing. I have watched PBS, so I have a good idea of who you are. (You are doing a great deed, btw)

    Mitch, if you ran this Humboldt Herald, we could fall back on you as a voice for
    anonymous sources. Without a journalist to fall back on, blog information is as reliable homeopathic endometritis treatment. Kevin or Jack wouldn’t print something without probing for evidence first. It’s a matter of ethics.

    When rumors turn out to be facts, journalists publish the facts. To an ethical journalist, there is more to publishing fact or opinion than simply pressing the publish button.

  23. Mitch said:


    This is probably not the finest moment to review the Humboldt Herald.

    I realize newspapers need to confirm facts prior to reporting them, but I’m not clear on how that applies to the incident in question.

    The DUI allegation was public — it just fell within a window when the local press wasn’t being spoon fed. Enough other pols have asserted that they were told that it is very hard to believe that a competent journalist covering the campaign would not have found out prior to the revelation being splashed on the Herald a week before the primary. If a reporter wanted to confirm it, it should only have required a call to the DA’s office or to someone in the court system — this is all public information, or is supposed to be. We are not talking Deep Throat territory or something requiring painstaking work; just the normal competence that can be expected of anyone doing a job.

  24. Ian Ray said:

    Mitch I just perused this blog you speak of and it appears to thrive on innuendo and rumor, at least the last few articles. Kevin’s point is valid, newspapers try to report facts. If a newspaper posted an opinion piece about a rumor that turned out to be baseless, they could be sued for libel. A blog has the option to libel for two reasons: 1. Only blog enthusiasts take it seriously and 2. Nobody knows who the articles are written by.

    In the case of the Arcata Eye and McKinleyville Press, any opinion piece or letter to the editor has a certain amount of courage behind it. Even the comments here are mostly written by real people.

  25. Mitch said:

    More questions, Kevin.

    Since the DUI was sometime in (I think) December or January, when do you think a reporter should have been able to report it, since the campaign said “everyone knew.” Before the primary?

    What do you think of the fact that it didn’t make its way into the T-S until the weekend before the primary?

    Your colleague says he covered it on the front page. I’m supposing that was after the primary — do you think that might reasonably upset a primary voter?

    What do you think of the fact that it was on the Herald before it appeared in any local newspaper?

    Do you think the newspapers would have covered it if the Herald and other blogs had not?

    What do you think of the fact that another of your colleagues compared covering a criminal DUI with covering a candidate’s sexual orientation, as an explanation of why it was not newsworthy?

    And what do you think of the followup, especially when compared with the followup to a phony letter to the editor signed by a political consultant’s dog?

    Oh, I suppose those questions are all just “blog culture.” If so, that’s why newspapers have lost the trust of their readers and former readers.

  26. Mitch said:


    As I recall, your explanation of the Eye’s lack of coverage of the DUI and associated issues was an inability to cover politics for Blue Lake. OK.

    So, since you’re commenting here, I wonder if you’d care to say what you thought of the performance of the other area newspapers in notifying people of the DUI, as compared with what you thought of the Humboldt Herald. If you don’t read the Humboldt Herald, please let us know what you think of the McK Press’ coverage, the North Coast Journal’s, and that of the T-S on this specific issue. How do you think the significance of this compared with the column-inches provided, especially as compared with other “political scandal” type stories?

  27. kevpod said:

    If nothing else, the above is an excellent demonstration of the fundamental differences between blog culture and newspaper culture.

  28. Mitch said:

    I’m afraid we’re going to have to disagree about whether this is a “myth” or not.

    It’s a simple fact that the media has the ability to frame a story how it chooses, and can then issue vague statements that it’s done its job.

    Just compare the local coverage of the DUI with the way such things are covered anywhere else. I cannot guess what the reasoning may be, but I’ll believe “my lying eyes” before I’ll believe this particular failure of the local media is a myth.

    If any local journalist has contacts at the courthouse, or even the ability to discover what “everyone” involved in a local campaign knows (we’ve been told over and over “everyone” knew about this DUI), this would have been news well before the primary, and even those who vote by mail would have been able to analyze the candidates with more complete information. As it was, the first it appeared in the local press was the weekend before the primary, after many people had already mailed in their ballots. And I confess I don’t read the local press much any more, but I’d be surprised if any so-called journalist in this area has actually done any further investigation.

    Now if it involved, say, …. we can be confident it would have been plastered over every rag in the area.

  29. Jack Durham said:

    You may recall that I wrote editorials against the recall effort. I also consider a DUI a serious offense.

    I have a giant pile of papers from 2010. They’re all jumbled up in no particular order. If I when I get around to updating my archives, I’ll be able to pull that story out.

    I don’t remember all the details, but the story did say he got a DUI, etc. etc. So, if you wanted to know that he got a DUI, you would have known he got a DUI.

    So let’s do away with a myth here: Sundberg’s DUI wasn’t covered by the media. That’s false. The problem, as I already explained, was that there was a glitch at the DA’s office, which resulted in the DUI list not going out. (Create your own conspiracy theory here involving Gallegos.)

    But once the DUI became known, thanks to the leaker, it got reported. It was in the papers. It was on TV. It was on the radio. It was blogged about. People talked about it.

    I’m sure we can dig up old stories and nit-pick how they were written, which questions weren’t asked, etc. Hell, I could do that with every article I’ve ever written. There’s almost always some little element that was missed, an angle that deserved further exploration. In a perfect world, we’d have perfectly polished, researched articles. Instead, we usually have a frantic race toward a deadline. There’s always a lack of resources. So we do the best job we can with the resources. (Or, as I did for years, do the best job I can with resources I don’t have. Slap it on the credit card.)

    But the Sundberg story is actually pretty simple. Cocktails were enjoyed, then he drove drunk, then he got busted. (It still weird how the cop was waiting for him. Obviously, someone must have ratted him out. It’s an interesting detail, but hardly the nut of the story.)

    By the way, the whoever leaked the Sundberg DUI didn’t come to me. I think I first read about it in the T-S.

  30. Mitch said:

    I should add that my main connection with Gallegos is that I was one of the people who worked to prevent him from being recalled by Maxxam.

    I would also have worked to prevent Jackson from being recalled by a corporation she’d filed suit against.

  31. Mitch said:

    I’m relieved to hear that I’m wrong and I would be grateful if you’d point me to the dates on which you covered the DUI — I’m curious to read what you reported. Have you investigated the CHP treatment or the behavior of those who were told earlier about the incident? Have you reported on this in a “here are the facts” way? Did you report on this near the time of the primary?

    If Gallegos had been busted for a DUI prior to the election, I would not have voted for him and might well have voted for Jackson. I view a DUI as an extremely serious offense, and I think a DUI conviction should automatically disqualify a person from public office for at least several years. Driving with a high blood alcohol content indicates recklessness and a willingness to endanger others for no purpose. Perhaps others feel differently; I hope they never have close reason to change their opinion.

    I think it would be even more serious if it involved someone connected with law enforcement.

    But really, even if my attitude towards DUI offenses is, in your opinion, wrongheaded, I think I’m entitled to a newspaper telling me that a candidate has committed one. I am not a fan of newspaper editors who think I don’t need to know something, and the argument that a candidate was entitled to personal privacy around a criminal offense (which has been suggested by others) is just plain wrong.

  32. Jack Durham said:


    You’ve got your facts wrong.

    The story did, in fact, appear in the McK Press. On the front page. The DUI arrest was also mentioned in other articles that were printed prior to the November election, and after the November election.

    So anyone who read the Press was well aware of Sundberg’s DUI before they voted in November.

    By the way, if I wanted to curry favor with Sundberg I would have endorsed him. I didn’t.

    Unless I’m mistaken, you’re a Gallegos supporter. Had Gallegos been busted for a DUI prior to the election, you would have voted for Jackson?

  33. Mitch said:


    Thank you for the more reasonable reply.

    I am aware that the normal list from the DA was unavailable. However, I am also aware that one of the defenses the candidate’s supporters used was “everyone knew, he’s already apologized.”

    This makes little sense to me. Apparently, people like Jill Duffy (Geist) and others were informed of the severe DUI, and it was decided that the candidate’s run would continue. There were voters in McKinleyville who ass ume the information to be false; I’m not aware that your paper has ever bothered to report the situation.

    As you know, there remain questions about the apparent kid-gloves treatment the candidate received from CHP — perhaps it’s all legitimate treatment and their are explanations, but it’s odd that you, editor of the local weekly covering the largest swath of territory in the candidate’s district, does not appear to have picked up the phone and asked.

    As you know, there remain questions about whether the candidate was set up. You don’t appear to have investigated that either.

    Someone dropped the rumors to (at least) the Humboldt Herald, which then presented the information shortly before the primary. The Times-Standard, to its credit, ran with the story the weekend before the primary election.

    In most places, a candidate’s DUI — especially one at a blotto level, followed by a technical failure-to-appear — would be front page headline news. This was a candidate for arguably the most important electoral office specifically connected with your readership, and you’ve done, as far as I know, nothing.

    In my opinion, the two possible explanations for the story’s burial and the candidate’s subsequent election are that the local press, taken as a whole, is (1) incompetent and could not discover this “well-known” DUI without the help of a pre-primary tipster dump or (2) is pathetic and “decided” not to run this story.

    You’ve chosen to provide facts that tend to support explanation (1). I’ll assume you’re being truthful. Either way, the local press has utterly failed to do the bare minimum job citizens can expect from a functional institution.

    The Times-Standard did run the story. If they ever did any followup on what should have been one of the most substantial stories of the election, I’m not aware of it. Thus, while I credit the T-S for at least printing the story, I don’t consider the T-S to be much better than you at doing the job expected of a newspaper.

    Good luck with that advertiser. You’ve made friends in the right places to do well with it.

  34. Jack Durham said:

    I think we’ve been over this before, but perhaps it’s worth explaining again why it took so long for Sundberg’s DUI to get media coverage.

    There are basically two ways in which the media are notified of DUI arrests.

    Sometimes there’s accident, like the one yesterday on Broadway, which is significant enough that law enforcement issues a press release. The media outlets can then expand upon that information and create an article, news report, etc.

    Most DUIs, however, aren’t deemed worthy of a press release. So an arrest is made and a report is filed with the DA. The DA then decides whether to press charges. The DA then generates a list.

    This is the list that you read every other week in the T-S. This list is where we should have seen Sundberg’s name. Obviously, after obtaining the list, a reporter would have said “Holy smokes! A candidate’s name is on here!.” That would then result in an article.

    So why didn’t we read an article about Sundberg shortly after his arrest? Because the DA was doing something with his computers. Perhaps an upgrade? The DA didn’t generate a list for that period of time. Therefore, Sundberg and probably a handful of other folks, didn’t get their DUIs announced to the media.

    Had someone tipped us off, we could have looked into the matter and broke the story. However, without a tip, what are you going to do?

    I suppose I could make a long list of names, and call up every law enforcement agency once a week and ask if anyone on that list has been arrested. Can you imagine me calling up the Fortuna Police Department every week and saying “I have a list of 7 candidates. I want to see if they’ve wandered into your town in the last week and gotten arrested for something.” That’s absurd.

    Was Paul Gallegos arrested last week? How about Mark Lovelace? Virginia Bass? Not that I’m aware of. I have no reason to call up the Sheriff’s Dept. and ask if any of these public officials have been arrested. Why would I?

    Then again, if I see there names on an arrest report, or I get a tip, then it’s story time!

  35. Jack Durham said:

    Great idea! Maybe I’ll resurrect The Union Shopper. OK. I need to get back to work being nonfunctional.– Jack

  36. Mitch said:

    No, Jack, I didn’t know about it. Like many McKinleyville residents, I’d heard rumors on the blogs. Unlike many McKinleyville residents, I didn’t assume that the rumors were false because of the apparent press blackout. (They were, of course, true.)

    I don’t understand why anyone would bother pretending to be involved in the news business if they are unable to discover and report on illegal behavior by a candidate within months (weeks? days?) of their declaration of candidacy.

    Is it to sell ads? Why not just produce an advertiser if you are unable or unwilling to report such information. At least then your lack of coverage would not be misleading to people.

    I continue to feel that the lack of a functional press is the single major drawback of this county, and explains a lot about the state of its politics.

  37. Jack Durham said:

    Next time you know about a candidate’s DUI arrest, call me. I always enjoy a good scoop. I would have loved to have had that story earlier, but I didn’t know about it. I’m really curious why people like you, who apparently knew about it and feel passionate about it, didn’t tell me? Or tell another media outlet? Or write a letter? Weird.

    Also, I’m happy that you’re as pleased about the advertising as I am. As you know, without ads there’s no paper. Selling ads may not be the sexiest topic to write about, but I wanted to explain the reality of starting and owning a newspaper.

    The exception to this ad rule was the Eureka Reporter, which had the luxury of being bankrolled by Arkley. But even that was unsustainable.

  38. Mitch said:

    That’s great about selling those ads, congratulations.

    Too bad your community newspaper couldn’t discover and print the deep dark secret about a candidate’s DUI and failure to appear. You know, the one that “everyone already knew.”

    But, yeah, that’s just great about the ads. Glad to hear it. Great work, and all that. Nothing like the free press to give a person pride.

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