To: Patrick J Talamntes, Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zieman, Vice President of Operations, and Donald Bailey, President and Publisher of the Macon Telegraph
We the people of middle Georgia understand that the Macon Telegraph is of far less importance to your company bottom line than your other newspapers like the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, the Charlotte Observer, and others from much larger markets. Nonetheless, as the only newspaper in a metro market of around 500,000 people that you serve, we should at least be entitled to a far better product than the spoon-fed pablum that the once proud Macon Telegraph has now serves. In this letter I will make a few suggestions that I hope you will at the very least investigate further on your end.
Our first objection is to your choice as senior editor. Charles Richardson has simply lost any credibility he might have once enjoyed and has now become a shadow of his former self and is now an old war horse that should have been put out to pasture long ago. Not only do the people of middle Georgia no longer trust anything he has to say due to a major conflict of interest involving the employment of his wife by the former disgraced superintendent Romain Dallemand, but equally as important is the fact that he is just not a good writer.
One can excuse an occasional lapse, poor choice of words, or even a few run-on sentences, but once you see a pattern then you have to question their writing skills. In his latest delusional rant where he invokes Gog and Magog in a confusing attempt to say the church needs to do more to reign in troubled youth, he doesn’t even know the difference between post and posit. In the very first paragraph:
The fight is supposed to pit Magog against Israel. I will not add to the pile of studies here; however, I would post a theory. We are already fully engaged in battle. It has nothing to do with prophesy, but there are similarities.
Normally I would simply let that slide since that is a very common mistake and possibly just a typo. However, these types of mistakes are the rule not the exception. His writing is often sophomoric fluff pieces. Most of his articles in recent years have been about bizarre musings about completely unimportant topics like sagging pants and to support a discredited superintendent now on the lam in Haiti. You can’t consistently publish columns with no substance or intrinsic value to the community or readers and expect us not to take note. The columns by Charles Richardson read more like a dream journal than those of a newspaper editorial. they are often just random thoughts stitched together in a slip shod manner with no real point. Occasionally we might get more than three paragraphs out of him on a good day, but more often or not this is far more typical. He really has absolutely no ability to identify and articulate any issues of real importance facing Macon.
Charles recently wrote a four part series called “The Accounting” In his part 3 of the series of his attempt to completely whitewash the events surrounding the missing $52 million and to protect his wife’s job. I decided to reply to his series with one on my own called There is No Accounting in Macon. Charles them made a very serious error in part 3 of his series in the comment section. He challenged me to find any document that Cliffard Whitby was involved. I accepted that challenge: Here is your document Mr. Richardson. Then Charles did an abrupt turn and his part 4 of the series that was expected to be his coup de grace to silence the naysayers once and for all did nothing of the sort. In fact it had no connection at all to the three prior pieces.
Macon and indeed all of middle Georgia deserve an editor with the ability to avoid heuristics and straw man arguments to make a case. His unwavering support of Romain Dallemand and the boondoggle project known as The Promise Neighborhood prove beyond a shadow of a count that he has a major conflict of interest. Any other town with an unbiased editor would be all over this story. The level of corruption in Macon (in a state which is 1st in the nation for corruption) seems to be invisible to Charles Richardson. He would much rather focus on sagging pants and invoking the church to do more to stop crime.
All journalists must abide by a certain set of rules. If they cross the line then they lose all credibility. Not once have I ever seen Charles print disclaimers that his wife was hired by Dallemand, only in passing in comments. No credible editor would ever dare write about a public agency while his wife is employed there. Here are a few excerpts from the guidelines to avoid a conflict of interest from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
Will the actions of a journalist’s or newsroom manager’s family members with a news source or newsmaker give the appearance of an unprofessional connection? In the same way the personal actions of journalists on their private time may come into question, the actions of their spouses and family members may do the same. How will actions of those close to a journalist be perceived by audience members?
There at least used to be a variety of editorial opinions that made the pablum that Charles dishes out easier to swallow like Kenny Burgamay, Dave Oedel, and others that have now all been run off or fired without any explanation.
This poll should also give you a good indication of public sentiment. If you don’t believe my poll I challenge you to solicit your subscribers directly for their opinion.
Do More Investigative Journalism
Charles Richardson is hardly the only problem facing the Macon telegraph. many people in the comments complain that there are no journalists only stenographers. I wouldn’t go that far. In my previous articles I have singled out Andrea Castillo, Mike Stucka, Phillip Ramati, Jenna Mink, and Oby Brown for some very good work. I think any of these reporters and possibly more could do some actual investigative journalism if they were not busy being forced to act like stenographers. I am not sure where the problem lies. Many commenters seem to think the assistant publisher Sherrie Marshall is responsible for the decline in reporting. I honestly do not know who or what is at fault but I do know that instead of always relying on police reports these journalists need to start asking witnesses directly for their version of crimes. How hard is it to pick up a phone? I do not know if Donald Bailey or Sherrie Marshall are to blame for the lack of any investigative reporting and the blind eye over the egregious conflict of interest.
I also have heard that the Macon Telegraph was handed a mountain of evidence on a silver platter back in March of 2013. It seems they chose to sit on all the evidence collected by Darren Latch and his group called Educating Macon rather than to follow up. If even a small fraction of any of those allegations are true, that is certainly a huge story worthy of more coverage by our only local newspaper. I have only seen a small portion of those documents, but from what little I read it appears the magnitude of corruption in Bibb county is staggering.