All the news that's fit to... um?

Some of the news that's fit to... um?

A HODGEPODGE of News that's fit for Soccer Moms!

When I grew up we had my local paper, which we referred to as The Star Regret but my Mom devoured daily. I haven't lived in that area in 20 years or so, but I still check it online every day. We had 2 TV affiliates based in my hometown... CBS and PBS's affiliates were 60 miles away, everything else was out of New York city. When I'm home I never miss the 11pm news, if only as comedic relief, because it always looks more like a college journalism class than a serious news broadcast. There are technical glitches, errors in information and, of course, enough grammar mistakes to make any English teacher cringe. But it's a local broadcast with reporters who speak my home-town accent and I love the sound they make. You can click on the local NBC affiliate here for a sample.

In Bridgewater I often feel disconnected. There is no local TV news just for Somerset County, despite the fact that the population base and the income level are much higher here than in rural New York State. Yes, I listen to NJN daily (the PBS/NPR affiliate) and on occasion News 12 New Jersey. But both of these sources seem to focus on Trenton, Newark and fluff from around the state. (NJN is actually quite good about state-wide school information). NJN is partially supported by the NJEA (the teachers' union for the state) and so I wonder if they are biased, but I don't mind, since it is often critical analysis of Christie vis-a-vis the education budget - and my Biggest Beef.

I also hear about "stuff" from New Jersey 101.5. They do focus on the whole state (again, mostly Trenton-based) but I find them at best challenging, at worst offensive and can't listen to them much beyond the 20 minutes or so when Jim G wakes me up raving about the Governor and beating up the teachers union each morning. It's not healthy to hear conflict as the first voices in my brain each day.

I must admit that I don't get the Courier News as a daily paper, but I do read it daily online, always clicking on Bridgewater under the Somerset News section. Often in vain. A week can go by before there is anything related to the school or the township. I realize that the Courier has very tight allocation of resources. Kara Richardson, who is the only reporter I know on the Bridgewater beat, is a nice woman, generally fair in her reporting, but she can't be everywhere. I also read the Bridgewater blog. But as a retired non-parent (his kids are grown) who is looking to control taxes at any cost, we sometimes attend the same meetings and walk away with very different opinions. He's a nice guy in person, but we can't help it - we see things very differently.

As far as the New Jersey's premier paper The Star Ledger - I read it through  only when I know there is an issue I want to follow up on, but not as my go-to news source. There is also the Messenger Gazette. I don't read that either daily, but always enjoy the free copy in my driveway every week (or two?). Finally, on occasion once a month I read BReeze. To me it seems like a High School paper. A friend suggested that it is actually run via the BREA (Teachers' Union for BRRSD). It doesn't appear to be  formally linked, but I don't know.  Do you?

Recently I've started to get news through Patch. They seem to be where the other papers aren't. And at a minimum, they focus on Bridgewater, so all news is local. There is a lot of sports coverage, and not having an athlete or a child in the High School means I'm only minimally interested, but they seem to send someone to every BOE meeting, regardless of the issues. The other papers are there on an as-needed basis.  I must admit that I haven't been to a single BOE meeting all fall as it conflicts with my C's TKD schedule and lately we've been with ES every Tuesday.

I do have one source that never fails: I have the network of local parents who know I'm interested and never seem to fail to keep me informed. Like it or not, they put a mirror of sorts in my face and make me see things critically that I've missed. I have a couple of friends who are especially well-tuned to what is going on in the area and keep me in touch. They e-mail me links, they post things on Facebook and the call with an appropriate "did you hear...?" It is through these kind of sources that I became aware of the local world and the politics surrounding the district. A Truman Show moment where I realized that things aren't as they appear.

So with so many sources, why isn't there one source that can streamline my needs for local news?  Something that filters for everything Bridgewater, but focus on the school district and township without a bias or a mandate? To facilitate this, I'm adding a news link section to the right on my blog. You can go here to find all the sources listed above.

Anyway, this is a long blog and not necessarily of interest to my F&F. I find that with all these sources, I am still best informed by my friends. People who ask questions and inform. Isn't that what a good source of journalism does? Thank you parent-journalists and paid journalists! I need you.

I'll end with the most important news: Diego seems much better today! He woke up doing a happy dance and that's the best news I can think of!


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