Thomas Jefferson said, "I have sworn eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
No response from GANNETT to my January 13, 2022 e-mails about possible unfair and deceptive trade practices involving the incredible shrinking St. Augustine Record, a/k/a Mullet Wrapper,, a/k/a Wreckord:
From: Ed Slavin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, Jan 13, 2022 2:50 pm
Subject: Re: URGENT: Declining Quality of St. Augustine Record: Is It An Unfair Trade Practice?
Please call to discuss today.
From: Ed Slavin <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Sent: Thu, Jan 13, 2022 12:16 pm
Subject: URGENT: Declining Quality of St. Augustine Record: Is It An Unfair Trade Practice?
- I've written some 70+ letters and columns printed in the Record since 2000. Some may no longer be on-line. How much is archived and how much is deleted and why? Who decides?
- I would like to discuss the sadly declining quality of the St. Augustine Record, whose last several editors were abruptly sacked or left. Were any of these "resignations in protest" of Gannett's eviscerating our hometown newspaper?
- May I ask you to please call me to discuss my concerns?
- I have lived in St. Augustine since 1999. I am chagrined by the Record's longtime decline under three (3) successive absentee corporate owners.
- This decline is preventable with more investigative reporting, as I informed the court in the Morris Communications bankruptcy case.
- As was reported in Editor & Publisher, I predicted the Record's further decline, absent more investigative reporting.
- Now more than ever, the Record is increasingly a dull, tepid, uninformative newspaper that favors the status quo.
- As Editor of the Appalachian Observer, 1981-1983, I won declassification of the world's largest mercury pollution event at Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee -- leading to massive ongoing cleanups in Oak Ridge and nationwide in eleven (11) states -- a feat recommended by the local DA for a Pulitzer Prize. Fifteen years later, the Tennessean did excellent Pulitzer-worthy series work on the sequelae of Oak Ridge pollution -- sick workers and residents. (The Tennessean deserved a Pulitzer, but Oak Ridge influencers lobbied the Pulitzer Committee at Columbia University.). The AO showed what reporters can do with few resources is they merely ask questions and demand answers.
- Our once-local paper no longer prints much local news.
- There are government meetings without a Record reporter, and meetings where little of the news is reported.
- Local columnists and reporters have been cancelled.
- Why does Gannett advertise its contributions to local communities, when the case is exactly opposite?
- In 2020, there were no Record endorsements of local political candidates, and no interviews of candidates. Why? Cui bono?
- Under prior owners, the Record ignored and then attempted to trivialize the September 2, 2010 homicide of Ms. Michelle O'Connell in the home of a Sheriff's deputy, requiring New York Times stories with four inside pages in 2013 and 2017.
- Under Gannett, there is no followup on the Michelle O'Connell case and the case of Eli Washtock, who was murdered while investigating Michelle's murder.
- Who benefits from destroying our once-local St. Augustine, Florida newspaper and replacing it with a thin gruel of USA Today and press releases?
- Who benefits from answering machines and no people answering telephones in a newsroom?
- Who benefits from bored readers, bad morale and sloppiness? (No Publix supermarket ad supplement today for the first time since 1999).
- There are now "temporarily" no more editorials or letters in the Record, except on Sundays!
- Our once-thriving Sunday Op-Ed pages were a bouquet of free voices.
- The Sunday editorial page is now, dull, one page, with only one or two letters, and with editorials from other Gannett papers, few of which have anything to do with St. Augustine.
- We deserve better for the culture and politics of Our Nation's Oldest City and St. Johns County, which are besieged by secretive, clear-cutting, wetland-filling and wildlife killing by developers and one-party-rule by the politicians whose campaigns they fund (barely covered by the dumbed-down Record).
- There were four (4) days without print newspapers on December 24-25, December 31 and January 1 -- first time in anyone's memory. I called Gannett's call center (now located in Colombia, South America and got credit for the four (4) undelivered newspapers.
- Today, January 13, 2022, we learned that our Saturday print edition is being ended March 26. Why? https://www.staugustine.com/story/business/2022/01/12/record-change-its-print-delivery-schedule-march/9183933002/
- Monopolization and unfair trade practices are no way to run our local newspaper.
- It appears that Gannett hedge fund owners' intention is to run the St. Augustine Record into the ground. If otherwise, please explain it to me, as if I were a six-year old.
- Is Gannett fulfilling its "watchdog" function under our First Amendment here in St. Augustine? You tell me.
- Ms. Sack, would you please be so kind as to call me today to discuss whether Gannett is in possible violation Section 5 of our Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 or the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, both of which forbid unfair and deceptive trade practices?