Portland's city auditor Gary Blackmer (pictured), angry about his treatment in a story in the Portland Mercury, approached reporter Matt Davis in City Hall, called him "despicable," and threw in a "fuck you" for good measure, according to the Mercury. Blackmer's beef comes down to the question of whether or not he provided comment for Davis' story on racial profiling by the city's cops. The story noted that Blackmer "declined to comment," yet he and a colleague both seem to think they provided enough comment by quoting from an earlier report. "To say [they] declined comment is fair, and I would challenge them to state publicly, here, why they did not," Davis writes. The Willamette Week's Ian Gillingham thinks that Blackmer's explosion was inspired by the newly released film The Bucket List, "in which two geezers start doing all the things they want to do before they die."

Continue ReadingPortland Official to Reporter: ‘I Think You’re Despicable’

The Mercury caused quite a stir when they organized a freelance janitorial crew Friday evening to put an end to a Rose Parade tradition: the "reserved" seat. In the City of Roses, people tape off sidewalk spots up to a week in advance of the annual parade, and, according to KOIN-TV, some were even selling their spaces on Craigslist. "If you go to the DMV or the bank, you don't get to tape your spot off in advance and then come back the next day," the Mercury's Matt Davis explains. "It's ridiculous." But as a local TV news reporter says, some folks "really don't care for the idea of messing with tradition." One inexplicably frightened bystander tells KATU-TV that the Merc's peaceful group of tape-and-chalk exterminators had her a little rattled: "It is quite interesting; kind of scary. I was worried for a second what might happen."

Continue ReadingPortland Mercury Organizes ‘Civic Clean-Up Squad’

When law professor-turned-blogger Jack Bogdanski posted an item about a shooting outside a downtown hip-hop club, the Mercury's Matt Davis accused him of inciting racism, leading to a flame war that spread to other local sites, reports the Oregonian. Bogdanski responded by blocking the alt-weekly's IP address, preventing Mercury employees from posting comments on his site. "It's like a jihad, when these guys (at the Mercury) get going, they just pour it on," Bogdanski tells the Oregonian. To which Davis responds: "Regardless of (Bogdanski's) readership or our readership, I don't think we should be cutting conversation down. It's important that Portland have a conversation about race."

Continue ReadingPortland Mercury Incites Local Blog War

They need to make a living but can't afford to let the conformity demanded by some day jobs sap their creative spirit. Independent Weekly's Leslie Land, Tucson Weekly's Marc Desilets and others explain the migration of musicians to the classified sales departments of alternative newsweeklies. What's the appeal? Good pay, good vibes -- altogether a decent daylight gig for a breed that Cincinnati CityBeat's Chuck Davis has dubbed "rawker-ad-hawkers."

Continue ReadingReal Musicians Have Day Jobs

Two New Times investigative series were selected as winners in the 2002 John Bartlow Martin Awards, sponsored by Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. First place went to "Fallout," a look at the U.S. Navy's radioactive legacy in the Bay Area by SF Weekly's Lisa Davis. Phoenix New Times staff writer Amy Silverman captured third place for her special series "Slammed," which exposed abuses in Arizona's juvenile justice system. Sandwiched between them was Katherine Boo, former managing editor of Washington City Paper, for her story in The New Yorker on welfare mothers.

Continue ReadingNew Times Dominates John Bartlow Martin Awards

Lisa Davis' "Fallout" series, which won a George Polk Award a few weeks ago, wins a 2002 IRE Award for investigative journalism. Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. honors Davis and John Mecklin of the SF Weekly for “Fallout,” which reveals "how a Bayfront property about to be turned over to the city by the Navy may be far more contaminated with radioactive waste than current cleanup plans acknowledge." Other AAN members Phoenix New Times and New Times Los Angeles were the two finalists in the local circulation weekly division, giving New Times a lock on the division.

Continue Reading“Fallout” Takes Another Award

Lisa Davis joins writers from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker in winning a prestigious George Polk Award. Her two-part series, "Fallout", which won in the environmental reporting category, exposed mishandled radioactive waste at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunter's Point.

Continue ReadingSF Weekly Reporter Wins George Polk Award