Skip to comments.Report: (Houston) Chronicle will no longer cover METRO accidents
Posted on 08/06/2004 12:24:58 PM PDT by weegee
ChronicallyBiased.com has learned of an apparent new Houston Chronicle policy regarding light rail's notorious accident rate. The Chronicle will no provide coverage of many Metrorail collisions. News of the policy appears in an message by the Chronicle's Lucas Wall on Wednesday:
From: Wall, Lucas; XXXX@XXXXX
Date: Wed Aug 4, 2004 3:46 pm
Subject: MetroRail Crash Numbers
Im not going to continue this debate. But FYI, the Chronicle is no longer reporting every light rail collision in the paper. This decision has to do with space constraints and the fact we do not report on every fender bender car crash. But we are keeping a database on every light rail crash. So just because you havent seen 55 crashes in the paper doesnt mean thats not the current total.
Read my Move It! column every Monday on Page B2.
Wall's message was received and circulated over e-mail by Spence Kerrigan, a longtime activist and critic of MetroRail.
The Chronicle's new policy is by no means the first time that the paper has apparently sought to keep news of MetroRail collisions off the front page. As we reported last May, the Chronicle's coverage of MetroRail accidents has been the least in depth of any major Houston media outlet.
Of 24 MetroRail collisions examined at the time, the Chronicle omitted significant details that were reported by one or more television stations in over half of the accidents (specifically 14 out of the 24). The Chronicle's coverage style also tended to favor the "News Brief" format over full length articles, which were employed on TV station news websites for a majority of the cases. "News Briefs" provide few details, seldom exceed three or four sentences, and appear buried deep within the back pages of the newspaper.
While space is indeed a concern of any news outlet, the Chronicle's decision to cut back on its coverage of MetroRail collisions runs counter to the public interest due to the importance of the policies at stake. MetroRail's abnormal propensity for collisions has far exceeded the nation's average for light rail systems and is on track to set a new record for collisions in its first year of operation. The collision-prone trains are also at the center of an ongoing debate involving the design of future expansions to the MetroRail system.
The fact that the Chronicle frequently devotes entire full length stories to minor and inconsequential route alterations, fare changes, special event schedules, and operating hour modifications by the Metropolitan Transit Authority further demonstrates that the "lack of space" excuse is a red herring. The Chronicle bends over backwards to regurgitate virtually every positive press release to emerge from the Lee P. Brown METRO Transportation Building, yet they suddenly cannot find room to cover accidents, which reflect poorly on MetroRail. Given the Chronicle's past policy of intentionally skewing its news coverage to promote MetroRail, the true reason for its decision to cut back on accident coverage is all the more obvious.
One of the only reason I read the Houston Barnicle is for the newest victims of the "Train of Pain".
Media Schadenfreude and Media Shenanigans PING
I stopped my subscription four years ago. This is a Democrat rag and will do anything to get Democrats into office.
When the DNC convention started, I found a Houston Commiecal in my front yard every day. In all fairness, I still find the Commiecal in the yard every morning. I wonder if this will continue through the RNC convention.
By the way. The garbage man finds the unopened newspaper bag every Monday and Thursday.
On an unrelated note, this paper really needs to be shut down.
I assume that the "Train of Pain" is the same one that is also refered to as the "Wham Bamm Tram"
The Columbia Tribune drops a free one on my doorstep every Wednesday, even though I cancelled my subscription months ago.
I suspect it is so they can fraudulently claim me as a subscriber to keep their advertising rates up.
Meanwhile, here in Austin, a recall drive has begun on the Mayor of Austin and one City Councilman who okayed the new regional toll road plan.
And the rest of the "metro" crowd is now pushing blight rail, metrorail, cable cars, trams, segues and bike lines.
August 06, 2004, 07:02 AM
DMN admits to inflated circulation numbers
By Anne Linehan
Kind of interesting to see this in the Chronicle today:
The Dallas Morning News overstated circulation for its daily and Sunday editions, and its top circulation executive has resigned, the paper's parent company said Thursday.
Belo Corp. said the newspaper overstated its daily circulation by 1.5 percent and Sunday circulation by 5 percent, mostly because of a 1999 change in the way the paper counted unsold returned copies.
And then this hilarious paragraph:
Based on a revision of those figures, the Houston Chronicle would have moved ahead of the Morning News in Sunday circulation and extended its lead daily.
Because we all know the Chronicle doesn't inflate its numbers!
Only a handful of bicyclists ever use the "bike lanes" and many of these are people trying to get an exercise workout, not commuters going to work.
Many of the stripped lanes have since been repainted.
In Amsterdam, the bicyclists actually have the right of way over pedestrians and they let you know it.
I enjoy reading about socialist mass transit boondoggles, and like the "Train of Pain" and "Wham Bamm Tram" monickers.
Do you have other names for this train I can add to my list ?
Not really, I just kinda dreamed up the "Wham Bamm Tram" thingy the last time an accident was reported here on FR.
Houston, has/had a bus system the last time I was down there. Appeared to do what it was supposed to do.
Never figured out why they thought they needed a "danged ole train"
Betcha if you looked deep you will find a bunch of fat cats in the local government that made fortunes off this boondoggle
My family refers to the train as "The Grim Reaper". I have never seen one piece of equipment claim so many lives.
Worst paper in Texas Bump!
Glad I move from Houston after all those forkers moved in!
BTW, Bender does not speak for me, Houston is my favorite city in the whole world! If only those forkers hadn't moved in...
If this wasn't a "public utility", the N.S.T.B. would have stopped this operation long ago.
Because Dallas has a train. When one toddler has a toy, then the other toddler wants the same toy.
The same reason we needed 4 domed stadiums with a trolley that goes only a few miles between them; it was designed to make Houston a "viable" city to host the summer Olympics (and it didn't happen). Meanwhile the downtown business partnership has lined their pockets with millions of taxpayer dollars.
If the goal of Houston rail was to get people out of cars, shouldn't there be a line to the 2 outlying airports instead of making sure that visitors rent cars? Houston has something like a 20% car rental tax which goes towards paying for the stadiums. Can't keep the out of towners off the road if we are needing that much money from car rental fees.