If you compare the Joplin Globe's coverage of a major gift to Missouri Southern State University to the coverage offered by the upstart Joplin Daily's coverage, one thing is obvious: The Daily had a reporter at the meeting; The Globe relied on a press release.
Regular Turner Report readers know one of my major complaints is area newspaper editors' habits of affixing the byline "From staff reports" to a story.
For some reason, they do not seem to understand that "from staff reports" is a lie. It means either that you are running a news release in its entirety, which appears to be what the Globe did with the MSSU story, you're running an edited news release, or you found some additional information in one of your old stories (or in an old news release) and added it to the story.
The main thing is the Globe was not there. The Globe not only did not follow the MSSU Board of Governors to Springfield for the "retreat" meeting last week, but it didn't follow the board to Joplin Thursday.
And while the Daily was there in person, landing stories on the gift from Robert Plaster and on the three-year extension to University President Julio Leon's contract, what did the Globe have its reporters covering in person?
-Andy Ostmeyer covered the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting. You can't argue with that assignment.
-Jeff Lehr was covering the conclusion of the Jim Edward Ryan murder trial. It's an interesting story, but it is questionable whether it was an efficient use of the Globe's money, especially when you are sending your go-to reporter to Stockton instead of using him on a story that would have more impact locally.
-Though it appears to have been based on information initially received from a news release, Ostmeyer did a story on a bequest from a Pittsburg State University alumnus. That lives up to the Globe's reputation for stressing out-of-town stories and neglecting similar Joplin stories of equal importance.
-Mike Pound handled a Carthage story concerning residents of the Super Six Motel and some mobile homes who might have to leave because of a contaminated water system. This is a much better use of Pound's time than having him write a column, but at the same time, just what the heck is the Department of Natural Recourses?
-Derek Spellman provided coverage of the decision by Joplin R-8 school officials not to pursue ownership of the Social Security Building on Main. Again, it is hard to argue with this story.
-Various and sundry other stories, some interesting, but none of overwhelming importance.
The Globe is in a difficult position. No one expects the Joplin Daily to beat the Globe on stories. The Globe has the manpower (though it is being woefully misused), the Globe has the money; the Globe is expected to land every major story. All the Daily has to do is carve its niche, something it has been slow in doing, but has done with a vengeance recently.
Of course, maybe all of these stories will be covered in depth by the Joplin Herald. What a brilliant strategy that would be, brilliant, that is, if the Globe is pulling for the Joplin Daily to succeed.