Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tulsa Beacon: Reporting Old News After Its Not News Anymore

News is a dynamic commodity. Details change as time passes. It's not difficult; it's the way the world works.

You'd think the folks over at Tulsa Beacon would have figured this out. But no.

Turns out that the Beacon reported today (Thursday, January 22) that the Tulsa World "has filed a defamation lawsuit" against Urban Tulsa Weekly and its columnist Michael Bates.

This isn't exactly breaking news. In fact, the libel suit against UTW has been dropped, a fact that was reported in the World on Tuesday, two days before the Beacon posted its story.

Indeed, UTW publisher Keith Skrzypczak published a retraction of the Bates column on Wednesday, one day before the Beacon story. (AT posted the UTW letter in a previous post.)

The UTW retraction includes this language: "We now understand that information in Michael D. Bates’ column about the Tulsa World’s circulation numbers and audits was incorrect."

And this sentence:
"Further, Urban Tulsa Weekly has no reason to suspect or suggest that the Tulsa World’s circulation figures were inflated. We regret and retract that suggestion."

Some people at the Beacon, apparently, aren't paying attention. Maybe they ought to read the World. If they had, they might not have published the following (outdated) news:

The Tulsa World (World Publishing) has filed a defamation lawsuit against Renegade Publishing, Inc. (Urban Tulsa), its publisher Keith Skrzypczak and columnist Michael D. Bates because of an article by Bates claiming the newspaper hid a drop in its circulation from its advertisers.

According to the suit, the newspaper claims Bates’ story “falsely asserts a steep drop of paid circulation for the Tulsa World from 2005 when compared to the paid circulation for the Tulsa World for 2006, suggesting that the World was inflating its paid circulation by as much as 20 percent.”

The suit claims the newspaper stopped using the Independent Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) “mostly because it had lost faith in it as an auditing group.” A different audit in 2005 showed a daily (Monday through Friday) average paid circulation of 134,945 compared to a 2006 ABC average paid circulation audit of 126,736 - a decline of more than 6 percent. The suit alleges that Bates’ article constitutes “commercial disparagement of the Tulsa World” due to false statements made by Urban Tulsa.

Hello, anybody awake at the Beacon? To be fair, the newspaper got one thing right: The libel suit against Bates has not been dropped.

But hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

3 comments:

Jeff Shaw said...

Isn't the Beacon a weekly paper?

If they are, they are naturally going to be late with the news most of the time. Besides, what's it to you?

He's just a small businessman trying to do what he loves to do, and eek out a living.

Isn't he free to write and publish whatever he wants?

Tulsan said...

You sold me. Sign me up for more of that "late" breaking news.

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victor
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