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A Newspaper Unafraid

Iusa_400x400.50865376_bhi0In an interesting critique of Music Reviews, the Wall Street Journal's Neil Shah recently suggested that today's critics may be more interested in not burning a relationship with artists than in doing their job. 

I wonder if that's the case with so many reporters that take the "party line" from government sources hook, line and sinker without so much of an attempt to peek under the tent to see if there is another side to the story. They know they'll need that source again and, thus, critical thought ceases to exist...even in the face of a head-scratching development.

I have watched that dynamic unfold in several destinations over the past few months where the media has simply gone along with stories of accomplished Destination Marketers being shown the door. The back story that isn't being told in several instances should have the media howling foul...but, instead, we hear crickets.

Except from Lackawanna County PA, where the Editorial Board of the Times-Tribune shot a cannonball through the CVB Board's recent explanation of why it chose to not renew the contract of CEO Susan Estler. While they were silent on the subject when it happened a few months ago, the announcement of her replacement set off the klaxons.

From the scathing editorial: “'No one could give me a clear indication as to the reason for the change,' said Estler, whose big mistake was leaving Florida for the position here with the belief that Lackawanna County politicians would act in good faith and reward performance."

After Susan built a rock solid DMO and blew past goals and expectations, the CVB Board Thursday announced that they would be replacing the accomplished veteran with an employee of the local Triple-A baseball franchise.

The editorial goes on to say that the Board Chair claimed they "wanted to take it to another level." The headline of the column says it all:

"Next Level is a Step Down."

While it doesn't return the top job to an experienced, accomplished professional, the column closes with a bang: "The Convention & Visitors Bureau’s job is to attract people from elsewhere to Lackawanna County. Estler’s dismissal demonstrates a big part of the reason that so many young professionals from Lackawanna County permanently head in the opposite direction."

Sad...but true.

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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