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LETTER: More important topics than Daniel and his girlfriend

Monday, November 10, 2008 | 12:33 p.m. CST

I write to you to take issue with your cover piece published on Friday morning, (Nov. 7, 2008, edition). The piece, dedicated to Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel's girlfriend, continues to the inside pages. What is the necessity for this article? Does it need to be on the cover page? Why does this have such high priority?

To me, it is disappointing that this light-hearted article should be so brazenly featured on the cover of a serious newspaper. For one, it was just two days after one of the biggest elections (both presidential and senatorial) of our lifetime, affecting thousands of the inhabitants of Columbia.

I work over at the MU Veterinary School and we regularly have interactions with the amazing staff and volunteers at the Humane Society.

The fact that this important society requires funds to stay afloat received such little coverage on your front page. To me it is extremely disappointing that as a news organization you do not give credence to such an important story above the article on the football player's girlfriend. The dogs that these people look after require homes. Without the adequate funds the society will not be able to operate, and many dogs will not be looked after or even perish. Yet your news organization finds it appropriate to put a non-relevant article as the main story. I agree that the story maybe of interest to some, but surely the Humane Society story (which I'm purely using as an example) is more important and urgent.

I understand the importance to your business model of selling newspapers, and maybe your Friday morning cover was very successful. But yet in these times when people are already cynical of the media, you are sending a very disappointing message. I am a new reader of the Missourian, but I will find it hard to read this in future should this be the ethos of your organization.

 


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Comments

Ayn Rand November 10, 2008 | 5:03 p.m.

It's a longstanding, widely held practice in journalism to put what the editors consider to be the most important story or stories on the front page, above the fold. So this position tells readers that on this day, the Missourian's editors believed that this was or should have been one of the two most important topics in this community.

Prakash, I'm as puzzled as you are about this choice.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 10, 2008 | 5:24 p.m.

There have been many different types of stories on the front page and above the fold of the hard copy of this newspaper that is distributed.

Alot of those articles I have not liked but I also did not complain about those articles either because all articles are apart of the news media we read from,listen to or watch daily. That is just how it is.

No news service is ever going to get it right or keep doing it wrong over the long run of time. It is impossible no matter who the editors in charge might be at the time. It is called the human factor.

I was once requested to begin reading a book by some friends who really liked this particular book and at first I was not sure I wanted to read their book but they gave me some great advise I carry over to everything I read these days. That advise was "read what you want that is of the most interest to you and skim over the rest but be sure you try to read it".

I found this weird at first as I though I would miss a good portion of the book but I found out that the more I read the more I liked the book even if some parts I did not like. You know I eventually went back and read that entire book and I still go back and read that book for reference as I need to.

The point of this is you do not have to like everything nor like the way the editors do their daily layouts but if you read what does interest you in time you will actually find it all interests you in some way or fashion and you will find yourself being more in acceptance that these editors and reports have a very hard job to bring all of us news in ways they feel that will be beneficial to everybody.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 10, 2008 | 9:21 p.m.

With the Internet, I can get as much or as little information as I want about what's going on in the world. But when I get a subscription to the Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Post-Dispatch and the Star -- yes, I read all of them -- I'm paying for the convenience of having them decide which stories are most important and then ranking them accordingly in order of appearance. (Most people don't have the time or patience to read every story. That's why so many papers have added digests for each section so you can skim the top stories.) I'm paying them -- and trusting them -- to exercise their judgement. That's why it's jarring and downright ridiculous to see a profile of the quarterback's girlfriend ranked ahead of so many other, more important topics.

(Report Comment)
James Patchett November 11, 2008 | 9:23 a.m.

Actually I found the article informative and well written.
Good piece.

Now about the dogs, don't care, euthanize all of 'em if you ask me. Old story, nothing new, who cares.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 11, 2008 | 9:56 a.m.

I do not agree with you James Patchett about the Humane Society issues but the public has been aware of this issue since I first moved here to Columbia in 2001.

The Humane Society lack of funding is no new news by far unless you live in a closet or never watch the news on TV nor read news papers or even go out to the facility once in awhile.

What is new is that due to the Fund Raising Committee that was supposed to be keeping up on that end of the operation is now going to the City Council when they did not do so in the past and asking for what amounts to a "Bail Out" of close to $300k in tax payer funding.

This coming after the fact of the FY2009 City Budget Hearings that saw: vehicles not purchased that needed to be,emergency services not upgraded,the almost closing of Lake of the Woods Facility,no new funding going to hire more police officers,the almost closing of the Adaptive Recreation Program run by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department since 1973 and a slew of other budget cut backs and non funding of City Infrastructures.

If the City of Columbia could not even fund all of the above in it's entirety my question is how does CMHS expect to get almost $300k in funding? Do they expect the City Council to just write them a check and hand it over?

The point is that CMHS has been doing this for how many years with out help from the City Of Columbia and now all of a sudden they can't?

Sure if our economy was not all screwed up funding only one third or half might actually be appropriate in this case but look at our economy we are in.

Let them take the offer of "Life Support" just as other City of Columbia programs had to in this last budget hearing and in turn that will give them time to get themselves together for possible funding in the FY2010 Budget Hearings.

After all why should the City Council just hand out almost $300k in funds for animals when it took protesting,letters,emails,newspaper and TV reports and personal stories as well as hard core and hard fought campaigning to save one tiny program that is geared to humans that costs only $88k to run per year a far cry less than the $300k CMHS is wanting.

Also where does it end if this "Bail Out" is given by the City Council when the next "Non Profit Agency" fails in it's own fund raising activities? Who would have their hand out next and where would it all end?

(Report Comment)
James Patchett November 11, 2008 | 10:35 a.m.

This "bail out" is beginning to have a retch of "perpetual" to me......................

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 11, 2008 | 11:22 a.m.

If the city and county don't want to contribute more to the CMHS, then the CMHS should stop taking animals from them. When the city and county see how much it will cost for them to deal with unwanted and abandoned animals, the CMHS will look like a bargain.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 11, 2008 | 11:31 a.m.

I agree James Patchett and it seems that some are forgetting just how CMHS did all of this in the past before their fund raising went so sour on them.

Sure there are more animals coming into the facility which is understandable since people are obviously alot more careless in not spaying and neutering their animals but this has been going on for a very long time.

I just find it ironic that "CMHS did all of this in the past with out going to the City Council asking for funds" and now they go to them practically demanding almost $300k due to their own Executive Board's lack of maintaining their 501c3 program.

Their 501c3 program seemed to work just fine in the past so what happened and what will they do to fix it in the near and far future?

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 11, 2008 | 11:47 a.m.

Chuck, please provide more details about how exactly the CMHS mismanaged its 501(c)3 program. I haven't seen any details about that in media coverage.

(Report Comment)
Tim Morris November 11, 2008 | 1:05 p.m.

I was wondering what the cities of Centralia, Hallsville and surrounding areas are being charged to house and feed their stray animals. After 5 days they are taken to CMHS.That was never covered to my knowledge.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 11, 2008 | 1:26 p.m.

Ayn Rand for one and mainly they have never had to ask the City of Columbia in the past for this kind of money ever.

They have always been able to come up with all of their money needed in the past.

This down trend started which even their own staff and past employees have admitted openly some years ago when somehow their fund raising committee started dropping the ball on this issue.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 11, 2008 | 1:26 p.m.

Tim, those amounts are the kind of details that need to be made public so taxpayers, the Columbia city council, et al can decide how the CMHS should be funded.

How 'bout it, Missourian? Are you up to the task of ferreting out this information?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 11, 2008 | 1:29 p.m.

Agree Tim Morris and how many animals per month come to CMHS from out of county as well?

Why can't those counties take care of their own thing?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 11, 2008 | 1:42 p.m.

Correction Chuck, CMHS has been paid by the city in the past for its services, they are just requesting more now. Take a look at

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

scroll down about a page and half, and you'll see the city is paying them a "$96,634 contract between the city and the Humane Society includes an annual payment of $56,364 for boarding impounded animals; $19,670 for daytime reception and dispatching; $10,200 for veterinary services; $9,900 for office space; and $500 for reimbursement of license fees paid by the society."

Boone County also kicks in some funds, $10000 or $20000 I think, but I don't know if that covers the costs of animals coming from the county areas outside of Columbia.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 11, 2008 | 1:52 p.m.

Ok good deal John Schultz and thanks for that but to now ask for $300k to be funded when the city cannot afford to hire more police officers or other more important infrastructure that is needed?

(Report Comment)
James Patchett November 13, 2008 | 2:16 p.m.

Yes Mr. Morris, that is a very good question !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Report Comment)

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