Dear San Francisco Chronicle,
This is an open letter from just a single reader who goes by the name of TwistNHook on an unimportant blog you've probably never heard of. I can only speak for myself. This is what I want to say.
A newspaper is ultimately a representation not only of the people who write for it, but also those who read it. It represents an area, a location. We all want to have pride in our newspapers, especially the one with the highest circulation and biggest voice in our region. Bay Area residents look to the Chronicle to uphold the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Bay Area residents look to the Chronicle to represent ourselves well to people from other areas looking to learn more about our region. You can imagine the frustration when I feel as if the Chronicle has failed to uphold the highest standards of journalistic integrity. You can imagine the frustration when I feel as if the Chronicle has failed to represent our fair region in a positive manner.
I speak generally of the coverage of the UC Berkeley Memorial Stadium Upgrade project. This was a highly controversial project that involved a lengthy lawsuit and an 18 month long tree-sit in trees next to the stadium. Certainly, there are many sides to this multi-faceted and complex issue. An objective reporter following the highest standards of journalistic integrity would certainly endeavor to present both sides of the story. An objective reporter following the highest standards of journalistic integrity would certainly endeavor to research claims made by all sides for their validity.
However, the reporter assigned to this particular story, Carolyn Jones, has failed to uphold the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Instead of maintaining objectivity, she has editorialized. For example, in one well-known incident she described the oak grove as "sacred" in a photo caption. The "sacredness" of the grove is a scurrilous claim by the opponents of the upgrade project that bears little resemblance with reality.
In another well-known example, her original Chronicle story regarding the release of Judge Miller's 128 page ruling was notoriously one-sided. This ruling was intricate and extremely complex. Look, I understand the pressures of the news business nowadays are brutal. Certainly, nobody could be expected to give a complete nuanced account of this legal dissertation in a first draft. However, Ms. Jones again merely accepted the plaintiff's wholly unfounded claims of "total victory" as fact, reporting as such.
These are merely two examples in a continuing pattern of editorializing by Ms. Jones. I feel confident that this pattern will unfortunately continue into the future. It is with great sadness that I regret to inform you that I feel strongly that Ms. Jones (and the Chronicle by extension) failed to represent me and the Bay Area as a whole with this quality of reporting. She has compromised not only her own reputation and the reputation of the San Francisco Chronicle, but also that of the greater Bay Area. Ms. Jones cannot be trusted to uphold the highest levels of journalistic integrity. I feel strongly that it would be best for all involved if another reporter was assigned to cover this story. One who can represent us all with class and dignity.
Until then, I will most likely find my news from any of the other myriad news sources available to a modern day reader.
Very Truly Yours,