Whose bad news is top news?

August 20th, 2008 by Ken

I was saddened to hear that the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce owed the IRS $200,000 in back taxes and penalties.  It’s tough enough for a non-profit to operate on a daily basis without having to pay large sums of money for back taxes.  Thank goodness the Thurston Chamber had reserves it could draw from and the back tax issue shouldn’t impact the future operations of the organization.

But I was most interested in how the story was played on the pages of The Olympian.  Realize that John Winn Miller, publisher of The Olympian is also on the board of directors of the Thurston County Chamber.

The story ran on the back page of the first section with the headline “Chamber to enlist new rules.”  The secondary headline read “County commerce group aims to prevent tax omission with revised policies.”

Think about that for a minute.  Every word, every phrase is positive with positive implications.   You had to read the story to understand that the Thurston County chamber owed the IRS $200,000 in back taxes and penalties.

If it had been the Lacey Chamber of Commerce, the headline would have read “Lacey Chamber owes IRS $200,000 in back taxes.”  The secondary headline would have read “Lacey commerce group taps reserves to pay penalties.

And the headline would have run on the front page of the paper in a 72 point headline.

That’s the advantage of having the publisher of the newspaper on your board of directors and having no representative of the hometown newspaper even remotely involved in Lacey business interests.

Posted in Business, The Real News

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