Granville Running A Local News Site Is Making Me Feel Weird Things

Should a Fresnan be worried that local dominate developer, Granville Homes, runs a local news based website?

Well, I wasn’t. When I saw GV Wire pop up earlier this year I thought. “Well, this is silly. You guys are covering stories that the Fresno Bee (probably wisely) deemed too boring to post. Have fun with that.” Then I went about my nerdy Fresno Internet day.

Then, last week, came the news that Granville courted the Fresno Bee’s Bill McEwen over to their site. [insert surprised emoji here]

Wait. That’s a real dude who knows what he’s doing. A guy I trust. A guy that has written a lot of columns I like and agree with. And he’s leaving the Bee to work for a developer’s attempt at a news site?

This. Just. Got. Serious.

Granville running a news website brings up questions.

Yeah. Why DOES a developer need a news site? A developer with ownership that fights Fresno’s attempts to not sprawl, every step of the way. Ownership that can be at odds with local media.

The answer is, Granville wants to control the local narrative. Duuuhh.

Them damn liberals at the Fresno Bee won’t talk about the latest cool opening of another development! They like bike lanes and buses and think our air should be cleaner. Yeah, they don’t know what they’re doing. We’ll start a REAL news site. One that covers issues us old dudes care about!

Have fun with that guys. Even with Bill Mac working for ya, people are not going to give a shit.

I can not think of a worse type of company to run a local media website in Fresno, than a housing developer. They have made such a mess of this town over many years, I can not trust that they will be neutral about anything regarding city planning.

Before you say “Hey, but doesn’t the Bee take advertising dollars from Granville?” Sure they do. But being a paper run by journalists with a very serious separation of marketing and reporting:

I trust the Bee has Fresno’s best interest at heart. I do not feel the same about any developer getting into the media game.

*Pic yanked from here.

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Author: The Fresnan

Hey, Mikey Seay here. Local nerd. Longtime blogger and podcaster. I love talking local, Star Wars, beer and other junk. Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat: @thefresnan CHEERS!

7 thoughts on “Granville Running A Local News Site Is Making Me Feel Weird Things”

  1. No offense. But I believe that within a yr the FB will be outta here. Only to be found online. They moved the publishing plant to Sac. The paper gets smaller and smaller and topics that can be found in any newspaper. Local stuff is out by the wayside. George left, Rick left. And now Bill. They see the boat sinking and they’re getting OUT NOW. I happen to like GVW along with CVObserver. Good local topics with good coverage. We will see in a he if I’m right.

    1. I would disagree. While the Bee is getting smaller for sure and getting rid of overhead, they will not be going away anytime soon. That would be devastating for Fresno. George, Rick and Bill left because they got a nice retirement package AND they can find work elsewhere as a bonus.

    2. that would be a huge embarrassment for the 5th biggest city in CA not to have a local paper. Only way I see the FB being gone is if there is a replacement for it.

  2. Ownership only matters if said owner is able to drive content. That’s especially a problem if they can do it without anyone noticing. That would be the worry, anyway.

  3. As is well known, Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post – Stories about Amazon, and now Whole Foods include that disclosure. McEwen undoubtedly has a dusty copy of the Canons of Journalism (Society of Newspaper Editors) somewhere. Adhering to those and disclosing when Granville or any Assemis have interest or influence with a given story… who knows? Sad if it bleeds more revenue from Scoopy. And, admittedly, “GVWire”? seriously? It does set off the crap detector.

  4. As a recovering print journalist and Fresno native, I feel many weird things. On a daily basis. Like the last time I visited the Bee office and saw the once-busy newsroom oddly quiet and sparsely populated. This same phenomenon can be witnessed in countless newsrooms across the country. For better or worse, mainly worse, journalism is changing. Changing into what, exactly, is the operative question.

    1. Journalism is becoming more partisan. I was trained to be an “objective” reporter at Fresno State, part of the broader mandate to separate news from opinion. While some readers struggled to tell the difference 30 years ago, most could follow along. (This is an Opinion page; it has opinions.) These days, all journalists are found guilty of bias by default. Not by their dwindling number of peers, but by readers and viewers who think they know better, or who suspect the “mainstream media” consciously lies to them every day.

    2. Journalism is becoming more fragmented and instantaneous. This blog provides one example. Facebook and Twitter “news” posts provide another. People may pine for the good old days when the stately newspaper was the go-to source for local news, but they sure as hell don’t act like it. Nor do they like to pay for it. You may not like the idea of a developer trying to bootstrap a local news site, but the simple fact is the Bee alone is not up to the task. What’s worse: News that’s reported by a developer, or news that doesn’t get reported at all because of staff layoffs and declining circulation?

    3. There is no simple answer to whether GVWire will succeed as news site. Financially, it will probably be a loss leader as most digital journalism is these days. But just like their print cousins, digital news sites are shaped by those who lead them. There are thousands of developers who try to skew the news on a daily basis, but they work through existing channels of communication, aka the dreaded “mainstream media.” They don’t assemble teams of trained journalists as Mr. Assemi has done with his latest project. Newspaper publishers often have business interests in other areas, and it’s always wise to look for and disclose “hidden agendas” that might otherwise be missed. I don’t get the feeling that Mr. Assemi is hiding much at all with GVWire, and I’m frankly intrigued by its prospects.

    It’s good to ask questions about GVWire and the broader topic of journalism in general. But when asking those questions, one has to understand that we may not have all the answers. Mr. Assemi may well be judged guilty of bias before he puts pen to paper, because that is the sorry lot of all reporters, editors and publishers. That does not mean he should be deprived of the ability to mount a strong defense through fact-based reporting and honestly expressed opinions. I’m pretty sure he knows the difference, even if many of today’s readers (and our sitting president) don’t.

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