Chris Graham: Still get no respect
It’s the 10th anniversary year for Augusta Free Press, and the occasion has had me at various times this year reminiscing about the good old days.
Back in 2002, when we first threw the AFP up online, it was hard to explain to people what we were exactly.
“Are you a newspaper?”
“Well, kinda. A newspaper on the Internet.”
“OK. Where can I get a copy?”
“On the Internet.”
“No, I mean, where can I get a copy?”
Getting people to read us was one thing. Getting people to give up their time for us to do interviews was another.
“So let me get this straight. You’re writing a story …”
“But the only people who can read it are those with Internet access.”
It took awhile in particular for the people that we really wanted to interview, the politicians – elected leaders and those asipiring to be among them – to give us time.
One reason I’ll always respect Mark Warner, then Virginia’s governor, now a United States senator, was that he got us early on, and directed his communications team to treat AFP like any other news organization.
Eventually most others fell in line. I say most, really meaning to say everybody, but I can’t say everybody and be 100 percent factual on that point.
Scanning the local news websites on Saturday, I learned that U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine had been in town the day before, visiting with the editorial boards of the News Virginian and the News Leader.
Missing from that list, I quickly surmised – Augusta Free Press.
A contact on the campaign has assured me since that no slight was intended, that the schedule on Friday was tight, and that they’ll try to get us on the schedule the next time they swing through the area.
Which is all fine to say, but this isn’t the first time this exact issue with regard to the Kaine campaign has happened. The last time, back in January, I threw a bit of a fit in an email and phone call to a Kaine campaign staffer, and the campaign was able to find a few minutes for me for an interview the next day.
I guess I figured that there wouldn’t be a next time, that next time the campaign would make sure to steal away a few minutes to give AFP a shot at asking hard questions of the Senate nominee.
And I was wrong.
Bringing back from the memory banks to the realm of the current events those good ol’ days when we had to practically beg people for a few minutes to let us take a stab at telling their stories.
Or to borrow from the late Rodney Dangerfield … uh, I tell you, we get no respect.