Just The Facts - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1668599

Just The Facts

The Press, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, offered up a prayer-ish editorial of gratitude for the continuance of print journalism, local readership and their nascent merger. In language redolent of the Bible — “The first Thanksgiving after the creation …” of the Express News Group, the editorial continues, and feeling its way like pilgrims on “new ground” — it richly compliments its new provenance and looks to a future of renewed purpose and vigor, committed to “doing even better work together than [we] were doing separately.”

Unfortunately, where some see this concentration as more effective, others see various changes as dilution and distraction. “Vibrant” is not how I would describe the new website, except as a pejorative. And if the ultimate goal is a “deeper connection with a readership that is more engaged than most” then perhaps a deeper housecleaning after the dust settles is necessary. Has some dross from this amalgam of resources and talent settled in as well?

I refer to the “reporting” of Kitty Merrill, an import from the East Hampton Independent, now covering Southampton Village. New to the village, and not knowing much about it or the cast of characters, by her own admission, she has in her last two over-reaching articles thrown herself into the conundrums facing the new board and archly editorialized, disparaging and lauding, by default.

Specifically, in her article of December 19 [“Board Clashes Over Position”], she postulates a legal opinion on whether decisions affecting the employment of Russell Kratoville could “spur legal action.” When asked on what basis she included this, she said she “spoke to someone” without identifying her source, in print or otherwise.

In her article of December 26, ostensibly to report on two “neglected” (derelict) village properties in need of attention [“Southampton Village Board Considers Action On Two Neglected Properties,” 27east.com, December 20], she reprises her sentiments about the same meeting with a long lead-in, and gets entangled in verbal pirouettes by repeating and conflating the word “neglect,” as in “neglected could be the ‘buzzword’ for a recent meeting of the Village Board.” That “buzzword,” as she employs it, belongs more properly in an editorial, opinion piece or letter.

She then goes on to say that the mayor “neglected” to include the neglected properties on the agenda. In fact, they were listed under “communications by the board.”

Goings on in the village are contentious and of concern. The last thing we need is for a reporter, preening in print, to jump in on one side or the other with two left feet. She should be advised to “Just report the facts, ma’am,” or move on to a blog.

Frances Genovese



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