Most of my posts are about the creative process. However, I educate and involve myself with many features of the writing life. This blog is about concerns I have about journalistic practices of the local newspaper, The Wake Weekly.
I moved to Wake Forest in 1980 and have read and valued the local newspaper. Over the last few years I have seen a change in its character, evolving from a balanced news entity to one that strongly endorses one political ideology over another. Most of this change is represented in “news” stories that carry the attribution State News Today.
I submitted a brief letter to the editor expressing concern about this change in the paper. For four weeks running I have received feedback from staff at the paper that it was not published due to “space limitations.” Todd Allen, publisher and editor, will not return my phone calls or reply to my emails about my letter.
Curious about the entity named State News Today, which I assumed was a news service like the old AP or UPI, I found that this seems to be the creation of Mr. Allen and a Mr. Robert Morton. A “partner” organization, The John Peter Zenger Foundation, also appears to be Mr. Allen’s property. Both list the local paper’s address for these entities. I could find no listing of officers or board members other than Mr. Allen for either organization.
Further research into some of the State News Today articles finds they were originally published, word for word, by The World Tribune, an organization that lists among its contributors several organizations that have been said to produce highly “flavored” if not fake news articles. Robert Morton is also the editor of The World Tribune.
The first amendment allows Mr. Allen and Mr. Morton freedom to publish ideological tabloids. My key concern is that the Wake Weekly did not fully disclose the original source of the articles. Attribution of authorship and source is a fundamental of Journalism 101.
State News Today and The John Peter Zenger Foundation appear to be mostly instruments of Mr. Allen, so conceived to give the appearance of gravitas to a single individual’s political ideology. They also seem to exist to allow misrepresentation of the sources of Wake Weekly articles. While none of this is technically illegal, the Wake Forest Community deserves better journalistic practices.