A Letter to Local Media

This is in regards to this “gem” of an article on Access North GA.

“I am writing in regards to the article about abortion rates written by Ms. Alyson Shields. This is single-handly the most skewed reporting I have read in local media in years.

First of all I think it is appropriate to disclose that the director of Choices, Ann Gainey, is the wife of Al Gainey – a community member who has had a longstanding relationship with WDUN both on-air and off-air. This creates a blatant conflict of interest and deserves some disclosure within the article.
Also, the article only reviews the opinions of an incredibly biased, religious-based source. By simply interviewing or discussing decreased abortion rates with Planned Parenthood or the CDC  would have created more balance.
The reasons Ms. Gainey has cited are rooted in bias. Abortion rates are indeed down, but the reasons are not those cited by Gainey. Sex education, more access to birth control, over-the-counter availablity of Plan B, and access to women’s health care and free birth control thanks to the Affordable Care Act have decreased abortion rates.
I feel this pathetic piece of “journalism” Ms. Shields has written warrants a more balanced perspective. I expect to see a retraction and a new article with  the element of research, quailty of journalism, and an eye to truth. I will be sharing my email to you on social media.
It should also be noted that leading scientists in women’s health and mental health decry the false information and shaming provided by these “crisis pregnancy centers” (check out the article by Bryant et al, in the peer-reviewed journal Contraception published in 2014). This a start, but any investigation into current scientific or public health literature refutes crisis pregnancy center claims.”
Share the hell out of this.
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24 comments

  1. Ma’am she is an employee of Jacobs Media and was assigned this piece.

    You don’t understand Alyson’s motivations and don’t need to be criticizing her work for the newsroom.

    It would behoove you to contact Jacobs Media instead.

  2. Are we reading the same articles at all?

    Alyson gave you a summary of a radio interview and your perception morphed the article into an agenda piece like some national news outlet.

    You are so immature, you probably listened to the interview and got mad about whatever your agenda is and then decided to lambaste a young employee of a benign local business.

    Good job broadcasting your own immaturity. It took Ms. Shields 308 words to tell you what happened on the radio waves. You only needed 306 to tell the internet that you have poor reading comprehension skills, pent up aggression, and way too much time on your hands.

    1. Already email. Note that Ms. Shields has also misspelled “refrigerator.” I didn’t listen to the interview, but it should be noted that Ms. Shields offers no informed information, opposite viewpoint, and displays compromised journalistic integrity. I will not respond to any more of your comments because I like to use my time speaking to people who have an iota of intelligence. Enjoy your day.

  3. No you apparently like to spend your time on the internet slandering reporters in your community the second they mention a topic you think you have an opinion on.

    What you fail to understand is that the opinions expressed in the article are not Alyson’s, they are Mrs. Gainey’s. Alyson is a reporter who was assigned the task of writing a reaction piece. That is, she was to summarize the radio interview and follow it with the reactions of the public who listened to it. Alyson provided the source material given by the expert being interviewed and wrote the piece the way her superiors at Jacobs Media approved.

    Again, I say if you have such a problem with it then stop hiding behind your screen and use your voice on the telephone with the radio station. However I think you’ll find that they feel as I do that you are making a mountain out of a mole-hill and ignoring the important content of the article. How does her summarizing an interview compromise journalistic integrity?

    You have chosen to overlook these things and use your mommy blog to criticize someone you don’t even know.

    Also for all your, “oooh look theres a typo” whining bullshit, you are still ok posting the oh so colloquial “Already email.” at me like its a complete sentence and you’re so proper.

    And as for all the “I’m not going to respond to all your comments” bullshit, you already have with your half-ass hide your face in the dark bullshit reply. If you really didn’t want to respond to the comments you would have deleted them and disabled comments from this post. but the truth is you like the drama don’t you? Uh huh sure, if you didn’t want to interact at all you wouldn’t have this two bit blog anyways. So stfu amanda and stop smearing people for the sake of smearing people, especially when they’re just doing their jobs and you didn’t even listen to the first half of the conversation which was the whole interview. I bet these comments on how stupid your posts on Ms. Shields is the most interaction your blog has had in its existence.

    I hope this drama that you feed on ruins your whole week and gives you a nasty feeling in your stomach.

    1. Sorry for the typos on my previous response. I am not a member of the professional media and do not make my living by writing for the public. 1) I have emailed Jacobs media group. 2) I do not like drama and I would appreciate you not swearing. 3) I would like to apologize for pointing out the typo and if you think my anger is of a personal nature. If you like I will delete my angrier reply, but I do not want to be accused of self-editing. 4) I only delete spam comments and it never occured to me to close comments. That would kinda be jerky if I only let people talk who agree with me.

      Now, I gather Ms. Shields is young, but I am also sure she is bright. I completely believe that this was an assignment that she executed to the satisfaction of her employer.

      Let me see if I can explain my position about the article. Most news sources, especially print news sources, have a place for letters to the editor. In letters to the editor community members voice their opinions and express their viewpoints on news coverage. Online platforms usually have a comment section, but I did not see a place to comment, so I wrote an email and blogged about it. My blog is tiny. You are right, I blog about being a mom, books, knitting silly things…. nothing of import. I rarely venture into politics or controversial material. There is no way Ms. sheilds is going to have a ruined career by my blog. additionally members of the press are in the public eye and held to a certain standard. Their job is to report the truth or CLEARLY indicate that they are writing an opinion piece. All to would have taken was a phone call to Planned Parenthood or the Center for Disease Control to add a different perspective… something like, “while abortion rates are down, the CDC says it is beacuse of X,Y, and Z.” Perhaps her employer did not want that opinion and that means the public must ask why.

      Or it was just a write up of an interview then I wonder why it was published as news or why the person interviewing didn’t ask Ms. Gainey her opinions of the claims of the science and public health community. There were no studies cited in the interview or the article (I didn’t listen to the interview, so correct me if Ms. Gainey had some objective studies she refered to during the interview).

      This leads into my big issue. Al Gainey has had a direct relationship with WDUN and that should have been disclosed. Without full disclosure, objectivity, and clear language indicating this is a summary of an opinion, the article is erroneous and skewed. I am sure Ms. Shields did not do it on purpose, but journalists are supposed to fact check and ask questions to ensure correct information. That entire Spider-Man adage, “with great power comes great responsibility” is true here. We count on our media to provide truth and balance.

      I hope you will understand that I bear Ms. Shields no animosity. I am just functioning as a member of the community who would like an opportunity to express my disagreement and hold Jacobs media accountable. Her editor should have insisted on disclosure of Al Gainey and either clearly stated this is an opinion piece or insist on fact checking the expert.

      I do not have a nasty feeling in my stomach from speaking my mind, but I do worry about hurting someone’s feelings. Think of it this way, musicians face music critics and they have to roll with comments good and bad. Reporters and journalists will be questioned in letters to the editor and, increasingly, in social media. My probelm is with this one article and my concern is valid. My issue is not with Ms. Shields a valuable and loved human with intrinsic worth.

      Please respond if you like, as I hope you will see my point of view

    2. You sir are extremely rude. Your girlfriend deserves someone who will support her career positively, not be a jerk to anyone who dislikes or disagrees with her articles. Any decent journalist knows that to put your words out there and truly make a career out of it requires a thick skin and the forethought that not everyone is going to like what you have to say. If you go around blasting and threatening everyone who critiques her work, you are either going to destroy her career, your relationship or both.

  4. Where are your sources btw? I choose to believe the expert in the field who brought evidence and expertise to a respectable news outlet not the amateur blogger who’s claimed expertise is voctorian novels and coffee

    1. LOL. Okay. It should be noted that I have worked in an academic library for almost 11 years and I am familiar with research. Okay, sources: The Centers for Disease Control, Planned Parenthood, and several scholarly sources from journals such as Contraception and a report from the Guttmacher Institute that was reported on by the NY Times. That is from a 5 minute search on Google. I didn’t even tap into my university’s scholarly databases.

  5. From the onset of your initial post you chose to rake shields over the coals for opinions that were not hers and you criticized her work as integrally compromised.

    If you have no animosity towards alyson then you will edit your post to reflect that your views are in conflict of Gainey’s statements.

    Alyson’s article shows no skew and does link the resources provided by Gainey.

    I apologize for the swearing.

    1. Thank you for the apology. I am not editing my posts as I feel these comments warrant enough explaination. A two-second facebook search tells me that you are her boyfriend and very sweetly are sticking up for her because you love her. I understand and my husband would do the same for me. I wanted to check and see, just in case I was conversing with an axe murderer and it seemed weird that you were so defensive. Now I understand that you are just caring for the person you love. However, you should know that this could be a career-killer for Ms. Shields. This will happen in her career, people will disagree with her articles and voice that disagreement. I too, am a graduate from the same University and that university produces strong women, so I am sure she can handle my disagreeing with her on her article. Please back-off, she chose her career and I am sure she understands the implications of working in a newsroom.

  6. Just read the original article. Whatever breathless indignation you have seems justified. Not only does the reporter use no other sources, the whole thing reads like a press release for the pregnancy center. This impression is reinforced by the fact that the article has a giant picture of the pregnancy center’s logo. The whole thing looks and sounds like an advertorial without, I don’t think, being labeled as one. If, as the reporter’s boyfriend says, the piece was just meant to summarize an interview, the piece should have been written to indicate that. The conflict of interest issue makes it all even more troubling. Then add the undisclosed conflict of interest in the boyfriend’s comments here and it gets even worse.

  7. I think you’re totally justified in your anger, Amanda. I was a communication major in college and took a class on media ethics, and one of the things I remember learning is that journalists are responsible for writing articles that are objective, balanced, and present both sides of a story. It’s fine for this journalist to summarize the radio interview — but for her to do so without also presenting opposing arguments is a breech of journalistic ethics, and really, just poor reporting. You can’t just take the stats of an organization that clearly has an anti-abortion agenda at face value; you need stats and opinions from other sources in order for readers to make an informed opinion — and that is what news articles are for: informing readers. This article reads like a press release, and no journalist worth their salt would publish a press release as is.

    (I also didn’t read your response as a personal attack on the journalist; you simply called out bad reporting. I hope Chip’s ridiculous responses didn’t ruin your day!)

  8. All of you are missing the point entirely.

    There was an interview on local radio and her boss assigned her to summarize it.

    Alyson was not assigned to editorialize or bring opposing views. She was assigned to bring the news to you.

    The news was that there was an interview. In that interview speculation was made about certain data from the AP which the station has reported on before.

    Your post is a direct attack on her and her work but you fail to realize that those are not her opinions and she is not an expert in the field of abortion and you attributed Gainey’s comments to her.

    You are right this could be a career killer for any journalist, but only because you all are misreading the article and creating false negative traffic on it.

    Now apologize and redirect your anger at the radio station, Gainey or the actual interviewer not the hourly employee who got handed an assignment half an hour before she was supposed to leave for the weekend.

  9. Oh and you’re a brenau alum so why do you want to smear other alums while they’re doin their job… the first job they have obtained. If only you actually knew alyson you would know what kind of stress you heaped on her just out of happen stance.

    But what do you care? You didn’t even listen to the interview that she had to write about in the first place

  10. The stats were taken from the AP and Gainey’s organization provides abortion services. How can you say that they are anti abortion?

    All of you are just as misinformed as mrs. Roper

  11. Tell me how is it a conflict of interests to have interacted with the Gainey family in the past? Umm they are public figures in Gainesville. Get off your high horses

  12. I will not back off, you still have your comments section open and my mission was to give you more drama then you can handle.

    You want me to leave baby doll you’re gonna have to shut this thing down…

    Do it quick before 4chan and reddit gets involved.

    1. That last remark was sarcastic and childish.

      I bow out.

      You all have your opinions and I have mine.

      May we meet one day under happier circumstance.

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