Signs of the DNR

DebSF -- August 12th, 2008

Anyone have a comment about the photo associated with this DNR article, top of the fold on page B1 in today’s paper, Tuesday August 12?

It accompanies a story about a local law office and the increased demand in the Hispanic community for legal advice. The photo prominently displays a campaign sign for a Republican running for city office – who happens to be a member of the same firm, but is barely mentioned in the story.

39 Responses to “Signs of the DNR”

  1. Gene Hart says:

    One must commend Mr. Elledge for great product placement.

  2. Emmy says:

    What Gene said.

    But, I didn’t notice it when I first looked at the article. John Elledge always displays campaign signs in his office windows. If you use him as a lawyer, then you know who he supports. There are some other businesses who do the same. I assume he has the signs up in a number of places in his office. Did he put this one in this place for the photo? Maybe. But then I’d have to assume he knew where they would be taking the picture. If he did, like Gene said, good product placement.

  3. Mike says:

    If only there were someone with the job of looking over articles and pictures and deciding if anything might need to be edited. Maybe his or her title could be Looker Overer.

    p.s. I’m tired of “free sample” newspapers. If anyone else came by and threw that crap in my yard it would be called littering.

  4. Emmy says:

    But that’s assuming it wasn’t looked over. Editing is part of my job. I miss things. Many times, I miss the most obvious things. I’m not defending the DNR, just saying.

  5. JGFitzgerald says:

    The job is called editor. The editor who let that sign in was either a partisan or a fool. Knowing the DNR, I’m guessing the former. But you can’t rule anything out.

  6. Emmy says:

    This doesn’t bother me, but I was irritated by the poor baseball player who had a huge picture of himself with his fly down on the front page of the sports section last year. High school is tough enough!

  7. Grendel says:

    Well it is certainly not as bad as the frequent tie into a rabid liberal website like Cobalt 6 to this website that proposes to be “Harrisonburg News”. Perhaps the name should be reconsidered.

    I think it hypocritical to address the political biases of others when ones own political prejudice goes unmentioned.

  8. Evan says:

    This is a non-issue. Photojournalists document the moments and environments that make the world what it is. The publication of a sign or campaign material in that environment doesn’t necessarily advocate for or against that campaign by the publishing party. It’s just showing it like it is and allows the viewer to gain a sense of place from the image. Do some people take advantage of the knowledge that a photographer will be stopping by? Of course they do, although I’d like to think most people appreciate the documentation of reality as it normally is. If a sign is on a wall, that alone doesn’t justify the addition of any section to that story devoted to the source of the sign. My 2 cents.

  9. Emmy says:

    I just re-read my first comment and realized that I need to sleep before I post. I read Deb’s question all wrong the first time. I think I got it right later.

    If not, then go with what Evan said because I agree with him.

    I just edited myself. Tee hee. Going to bed now.

  10. JGFitzgerald says:

    It’s not the the photojournalist, Evan. This isn’t a random web page. This is the writer, the photog, and the editor allowing themselves to be used with a story and picture that could just as easily have run in December. The DNR has gone out of its way to not cover council campaigns in the past, settling for tepid, out-of-context quotes from forums and occasional, again contextless, lists of campaign donations. This was not an accidental shot of something in the environment. This was product placement by the DNR’s house brand. A fluff piece on a law firm, that just happens to mention a candidate in a favorable way, and runs a photo of his campaign sign? That’s not just naturalistic reporting. And it’s not being viewed by a hundred people on a web site, it’s going out to 30,000 homes.

    Im sure John Elledge understands the advantage to his candidate, but he’s not at all to blame here. The reason for the story is commendable and admirable, and any advantage he can gain is one I’d hope the Dem candidates would seek just as hard. But the story itself is still a gift, albeit a small one, from people who almost certainly couldn’t have been unaware of what they were doing.

    This is a relatively small thing in the campaign, but a rather large indication of the DNR’s likely ethical approach to the fall. Let’s all hope it was a harmless, accidental, coincidental passing mention. And that John doesn’t laugh so hard he hurts himself. If a Dem got so lucky, I would. But as a former newspaper editor, I cringe.

  11. Emmy says:

    Well I’ve never worked in a newspaper, so I guess I’ll just agree to disagree with you. You can barely read the sign. I think it was an accident. I doubt even a fraction of the readers noticed it. To be honest, they were probably to busy being outraged that someone would actually want to help the Spanish speaking community.

    By the way…did you notice the bumper stickers on the desk? I just did and now I’ve looked at it three times. Glad I’m slightly better at editing in my job!

  12. Emmy says:

    Grendal, your comment was stuck in moderation. Could you please explain when this site has ever referenced the blog you speak of?

    If you are referring to the bar on the left of the page, then that is a feed from a number of local blogs.

  13. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    I was just amazed that the article presented Spanish-speaking people in a relatively positive light. And praised a local business that seeks bilingual employees.

  14. Bubby says:

    I’m more struck by the trajectory of the two lives: Ms. Rodriguez’s life – immigration from Cuba, to public education and JMU degree, while the Mexican, Mr. Juarez, who arrived 3 years before her, struggles to speak the language; apparently uneducated. Why is that?

  15. Brooke says:

    Oh, I don’t know…probably because they’re two different people?

  16. cook says:

    Bubby, our immigration policy with regard to Cubans is very, very different than our immigration policy with regard to Mexicans. For example, the average person born in Cuba who makes it to American soil is usually given an immigration status and permission to work; that same immigrant if born in Mexico is, always has been, and always will be ineligible (under current American immigration law) to obtain ANY valid status in the United States.

  17. Brooke says:

    I guess my thought is there are so many interconnected factors that can go into why one person finishes school, goes to college and is well-spoken in a language (be it their own, or another 2nd language) and why another struggles more just to get by.

    You can take any two people from any set of ethnic backgrounds, or even the *same* country of origin, or even the same *family* and still get two different results.

    It depends on that person’s aptitude for learning (quick learner, slower learner), what kind of jobs and assistance were available to the person (which would allow time and money for attending classes). Also playing a role is the kind of support system a person has, and their family’s educational background.

    For all we know Mr. Juarez would like nothing more than to get a degree and be fluent in English, but maybe he’s working too long of hours to have the time to devote to study.

    While I’m sure variances in immigration policies for the two countries does play a role, I disagree with Bubby’s implication that which country you come from is the sole or even main factor here.

  18. Jeremy Aldrich says:

    I’m going to take an educated guess here and say that the Cuban woman, who arrived from Cuba at age 15, was settled by the refugee resettlement office and sponsored by a church. She also apparently came with her family and had the resources to go to an expensive private high school where the school provides 1-on-1 English tutors for non-English speaking students. She must have passed her TOEFL, and she had enough support to go to a four-year college.

    The Mexican man, who arrived from Mexico in North Carolina at age 17, probably never attended school in the US and had no church sponsorship or resettlement assistance. He may not have even come with his parents. Any English study would have been conducted on his own dime and his own time, balanced with a work schedule.

    I’d be interested to know how far off from the truth these guesses are.

  19. Bubby says:

    You can take any two people from any set of ethnic backgrounds, or even the *same* country of origin, or even the same *family* and still get two different results.

    Yeah, especially when you welcome one of those people to the US and make full educational opportunities available….and not the other.

  20. Brooke says:

    I agree, inequities in the immigration system most definitely does play a role, and most definitely needs to be addressed.

    It sounded to me like you were making a statement about the differences between Mexicans, as people, and Cubans, as people. If that was not your point, then I misunderstood your intent, and I apologize, Bubby.

  21. Bubby says:

    Brooke: I read my post again and can see how you would reach that conclusion. But, I’m a different kind of hillbilly – I believe that ethnic and cultural diversity is one of America’s greatest strengths. Then again, I’m one of the few that has left his comfortable hollow and traveled abroad to experience how other people live.

  22. Brooke says:

    Then again, I apologize for misunderstanding what you were saying. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think people, in general need to excercise a LOT more understanding with the reasons it takes folks a while to learn English. It just doesn’t happen overnight – or even in a few years – especially if the person is working their tail off, has no time and money to devote to it, perhaps has some learning disabilities that make it a bit more difficult, and has little in the way of a support system in place.

  23. seth says:

    so wait,
    i thought republicans were supposed to hate illegal immigrants. can someone please reconcile this for me? i’m concerned that it could become very difficult to tell good guys from bad guys if this kind of propaganda from the dnr continues to subvert our party stereotypes.

  24. Lowell says:

    It’s a seasonal phenomenon Seth.
    Election season that is.
    After Labor Day it becomes very fashionable to fan up the flames.
    They’re really handy in that regard.
    But just until the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
    The rest of the year they come in pretty handy for cheap labor and such…

  25. Emmy says:

    John is a good guy. This won’t change once the election is over. I do think he’s an exception to the rules though.

  26. Bubby says:

    Mr. Juarez is a “resident alien”, he’s not “illegal”. He’s also a paying customer, fighting a driver license issue…hardly enough to warrant the scorn of the Republican purity squad.

  27. Draegn88 says:

    Brooke writes:

    “Then again, I apologize for misunderstanding what you were saying. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think people, in general need to excercise a LOT more understanding with the reasons it takes folks a while to learn English. It just doesn’t happen overnight – …”

    Beyond “overnight” everything is an excuse. Excuses are not needed or wanted. So long as a person makes a reasonable effort I have no problems with their level of English. It is the few who refuse to learn English, who refuse to assimilate, and make racist/ethnocentric statements such as those made by La Raza “For the race everything for the others nothing”, Mecha and Aztlan “Gringos/Whites go back to Europe”

    Unfortunately far too many of those people who are trying to learn English deem themselves fit to remain complacent with regards to the remarks made by the aforementioned groups. Perhaps if they stood up and confronted the racists/ethnocentrists within their realm they might not have as difficult a time as some would have us believe they have.

    As for Mr. Juarez, good luck. He has as much chance as anyone else in the same predictament.

  28. Brooke says:

    Pardon my bluntness but bullcrap.

    It can take YEARS to become fluent in another language, particularly if you are an adult, and working long hours in a job, meaning you have very little time (and often money) to devote to study.

    The problem with YOUR statement is people like you hear someone speaking Spanish, or struggling to speak English and you *ass*ume that they are refusing to learn. Are there some who refuse to learn Enlgish? I am quite sure there are, but it’s not something you can ascertain without knowing the individual and their story, personally. Other than that, you have absolutely no idea whether or not they are putting forth a “reasonable effort” or not.

    Oh, and National Council de la Raza, does NOT use that slogan. You might want to get your facts straight, and find some factual, non-biased information. In other words not from Atlas Shrugs or something by the Minutemen, or similar, CLEARLY biased sites/groups that twist the facts to suit their xenophobic agendas.

  29. David Miller says:

    Clearly; generalizations about people, their skin color, their nation of origin….etc are ignorant and useless. Clearly each person brings their own game to the table. Clearly there is no ethnic war. Clearly this is a wedge issue. Clearly this is an “issue” that stuck to the wall like so much other shit thrown. Clearly no one is going back to their country of origin (Centuries of melting pot illustrations in our great Nation exemplify this). Clearly there are groups with both white and brown skin that are fully ready to hate the other. Clearly any conversation between someone who chooses this outlook and someone who doesn’t is about as productive as scratching a mosquito bite.

  30. Draegn88 says:

    Brooke

    If you care to argue with wikipedia and call them racist be my guest.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Council_of_La_Raza

    2. Denounce the statement “Por La Raza todo [sic]. Fuera de La Raza nada” [“For the race everything, outside the race nothing”] as repugnant, racist, and totally incompatible with American society or citizenship.

    The quote above is from the criticism section contained in the link.

    Further below there is La Raza’s response:

    NCLR responded to Norwood’s conditions apology in a point-by-point press release defending its policies, which it claims have never been racially or ethnically exclusionary, never supported and does not endorse the notion of a “Reconquista” or “Aztlán,” has never used, and unequivocally rejects, the motto “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada”,

    However there are people in La Raza who do use and support the motto. Unless the National Council leaders toss these people out on their ass, then they are being complacent and approving of it.

    Now Brooke, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I am going to grant that our views on what is fluent differ. To me being fluent is being able to hold a conversation on any topic from a game to quantum physics without any difficulty. I do not expect this of people. What I do expect is for them to be profienct in everyday usage of the language. IE, they can make their business transactions, order in a restaurant, shop, ask directions, etc….

    As for those who refuse to learn English, I think it’s pretty clear that they have no intention when they address you in Spanish. A person who was making a reasonable effort, could at the very least address you with “Excuse me, could you help ….” Is one sentence too much to ask for Brooke?

  31. David Miller says:

    Furthermore (while I’m scratching that itch) I’d like to state to persons like you Draegnn89 that normal people don’t care what everyone else is doing with their lives. Normal people couldn’t care less what language their neighbor speaks, what color their skin is, with whom they have sexual relations with, where they came from, where they work, how much they make. All because we have discovered that we really don’t want our neighbors analyzing our lives and in the end it just doesn’t matter. I really don’t care what you do with your life (unless you’re in need then some sort of bleeding heart gene activates within me), just don’t mess up mine.

  32. David Miller says:

    “What I do expect is for them to be profienct in everyday usage of the language.”

    Who are you to make demands on people, since when do you have this right?

  33. Draegn88 says:

    David Miller,

    By your definition of “normal people”: I could fly the US flag outside my home and no one should care. Oh someone might honk if it was the 4th of July, but overall no one would care.

    On the other hand, if I were to fly the flag of National Socialist Germany, I think there would be a vastly different response. How many good citizens of Harrisonburg would come out to protest the local nazi? What kind of vandalism would I find in the morning?

    Is your “normal person” a lemming who blindly follows political correctness, the multiCULTural, enforced diversity agenda that’s being shoved down the collective throats of the Western World?

    If you don’t care what I do with my life, does that mean, I can enjoy a meal in your restaurant while wearing a full SS uniform, and that under the law you will ensure that I am protected from any form of harassment while on your premises? Or will you toss me out the door?

    Do you see that it’s a two way street? That you have to give and take. If someone uses “broken English” to convey some thought to me, I’ll use my “broken Spanish” or another language that we might both be able to use. But, if someone tells me that I “need to learn Spanish”, I will respond with speak English.

  34. David Miller says:

    There is a natural order to society that tends to self-control. That is, don’t remind people that you’re an asshole who celebrates the death of over 10 million people and people normally won’t mess with you. That’s not the conversation though is it? You can demand all you want but I still don’t care what you want, your opinions appear (within the realm of my reality) invalid.

  35. JGFitzgerald says:

    It’s fascinating to observe someone commenting with so much detail and so little nuance. The one is a poor substitute for the other, especially when it’s wrong.

  36. Brooke says:

    Draegn,

    I’m sorry, but having members that have some sketchy views and actually wrongfully accusing an entire organization of having and PROMOTING those views, when even according to YOUR OWN post, they vehemently deny holding those views, are two entirely different things.

    By your extremely flawed “logic” I guess I can accuse the GOP of being a party that supports outright racism and bigotry because some of it’s members do and haven’t been kicked out of the party yet?

  37. Brooke says:

    (And everything David said, too. Goes double for me)

  38. Underdog says:

    This is such a non-issue.

    Small Market news organization have ZERO time to intentionally plot these placements out. Reporters and photojournalists have wayy too much on their plates everyday.

    By the way, it’s not even that great of a picture!

  39. JGFitzgerald says:

    Underdog,

    This is a relatively small thing in the campaign, but a rather large indication of the DNR’s likely ethical approach to the fall. The ethics of the largest local news organization aren’t a non-issue.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.