Press Talk: A fun blog and conspiracies

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, twitter.com/lounews or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.

There are good blogs and bad blogs. And then there is The Vancouver Side.

OK, it's a good blog — but I like it because it's fun. Along the way, it informs us on neat community events, local businesses and our friendly politicians.

Community conquistadors Jim Mains and Gary Bock do the heavy lifting here. They venture into the nooks and crannies of our neighborhoods with a permanent smile and a zest for all things good.

I made a cameo appearance in their latest video. (If I get a second chance, I promise I'll do better!)

You can see it at the bottom of this column or by going to http://www.vancouverside.com.

(Watch it through the end of the credits. There's an outtake where Santa gets down with his elves.)

Conspiracy theory

There are conspirators among us. But The Columbian?

The Internet was abuzz — well a little — over a wire story The Columbian ran on a power shift going on in Olympia.

Two conservative-leaning state Senate Democrats were planning to side with the minority party Senate Republicans. And that was just enough of a swing in numbers to give Republicans some say in what the heck is going on in Olympia.

But here's where it gets interesting with the conspiracy theorists:

We did several stories during the election campaign about how the Republicans disowned Republican County Commissioner Marc Boldt. And our conservative friends thought we were making too big a deal of it.

Now back to the Olympic power shift. The original story we ran made no mention of what the Senate Democrats were thinking of these rogue Democrats siding with the Republicans. And some of my conservative Internet friends found a state wire story that noted the Democratic hierarchy would — indeed — disown them.

And the conspiracy premise? The Columbian "edited out" that information because we wanted to show only Republicans do bad things to their members when they get out of line.

Later — the conspiracy goes — we edited it back in after we saw a few folks had noticed.

So what's the problem with this accusation? Well, it's completely false.

Here's what happened:

Today, stories continually evolve on the Web. Early stories on the Internet are often incomplete.

Because we didn't write this story — again, it was from the wire services — I wanted to make sure I had this right. So I spoke to Chris Grygiel, the Associated Press' state news editor. He said I had the facts correct.

"The version that moved (early in the day) was filed during the press conference, so it didn't yet have comment from Dems."

Then, later in the afternoon — several hours after the first version ran — it "added comment from the Democratic Party disowning the two Democrats," he said.

The Columbian used the updated version later in the day on our website, and it also was the version we used in our print edition.

In other words, we didn't edit the disowning comments out. They simply weren't there in the early version.

Honestly, I don't blame my friends on the Internet. They really do the best they can with the information they have available. But every once in a while, it's good to show the real story behind the story.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian's editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, lou.brancaccio@columbian.com or Twitter: http://twitter.com/lounews