Boycott Gannett!

I like to be informed about my community, so I have appreciated being able to hop online at any time to check out, and the Asheville FM News Hour and Little Shop of Attitude show [“To Air is Human,” April 4 Xpress].

Having said that, now I think its finally time to boycott the Citizen-Times. It really irks me that the Citizen-Times online has silenced my voice by not allowing me to comment just because I don't participate in Facebook. I should not have to participate in a for-profit advertising tool just to comment on local news.

But the final straw for me is that now, not only does the Citizen-Times block you from commenting, but they block you from navigating their website if you do not fill out a quick profiling survey or log in so they can track your interest based on your profile. This, as stated in the link titled "Why are we asking you for this?" is for the sole purpose of selling advertising. Interestingly this only happens on my main computer, and not when I use a computer that does not regularly visit the site. While I respect the right of a for-profit agency to have advertisements on their website, I do not approve of the press putting profit before duty. It is in the interest of the people that local news is always accessible.
  I recognize the Citizen-Times and Gannett (the parent corporation) have the right to make money, but I will be keeping my money where my heart is, and that is in my community. I [am happy] that Asheville Free Media reached its Kickstarter fundraising goal.

— Matthew Burd


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6 thoughts on “Boycott Gannett!

  1. UNaffiliated Voter

    THANKS for making this HUGE point about the AC-T.
    Such FB ‘control’ has SEVERELY affected the comments and the wide variety of feedback on newstories and letters. SHAME on them for this heinous restriction!

    • Media Watcher

      Neither the Citizen-Times nor the Mountain Xpress for that matter has any obligation to let people comment anonymously and without editing or restriction, anymore than they have an obligation to publish every letter that comes in completely as written, without verification. Anyone who wants to comment on the news and opinions in any newspaper can start his or her own blog and develop a readership. The Mountain X opinion section is often hijacked by two or three regular commenters who are having a conversation/argument with themselves. As someone once said, Freedom of the press is free for whoever owns the printing press. Now, with the Internet, anyone can publish if not exactly own the press.

  2. bill smith

    Media watcher- The complaint isnt about ‘anonymous comments’.

    It’s about having to be a member of Facebook to post.

    Many people dont want to be on facebook for very good reasons of privacy.

  3. Barry Summers

    Keep in mind that this FB commenting was foisted onto all Gannett papers at the same time. I did an informal survey of the 100 or so Gannett papers, and only a handful, including the AC-T, tried to lead their readers to believe it was a local decision.

    FB’s own data shows that they have crested at about 50% of Americans having an account. They don’t expect that to go up much. The notion that a newspaper chain would cheerfully exclude a huge portion of their readership from participating in the online discussions should concern all of us.

    And consider the make-up of non-FB’ers – other than the elderly or the poor, it’s likely to be made up of people who are media savvy and/or averse to commercial manipulation, like the author. Those people (and I count myself among them), are increasingly shut out of the mainstream political discourse. Coincidence?

  4. john5

    Many newspapers and online new sites do this, have sign-ups and consumer surveys. It is more common than not. My advice? Do as I do and make stuff up. Protect your privacy, that’s YOUR responsibility.

  5. invisiblefriend

    I find Media Watchers comment brought up a good point about two or three commenters hijacking the opinion section. I have a feeling that we are not the only two that feel this way. I am actually torn with this. We wont name names (its not necessary at this point), but they seem to be very opinionated, fairly well educated, and evidently have way too much time on their hands. They are very entertaining at times, and boring emotional drones at other times. So my conclusion is that because they talk way more than they listen, and they are extremely closed minded no matter which way they lean, they are merely characters at this point. Noone really listens to what they say, but they make people smile. So im all for it, even though they are annoyning. This is just my opinion. I could be wrong. If any of you three want to have a logical discussion about the validity of this, please come forward and lets talk.

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