Credentials

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Credentials

Lotta huffin' 'n' puffin' this past weekend over the revelatory OtBB item involving the rela­tionship between The Independent's area cor­respondent Lisa Finn, members of the West­hampton Beach Police Department and wanna­be Mayor Hank Tucker.

It became more interesting when Ms. Finn's editor, Rick Murphy, got involved late Saturday night and made a series of indignant, blustery and threatening comments to the blog.

The initial one was not published as it did not have the required E-dress for purposes of con­firmation. But an excerpt read:

"Dean is a gregarious man with no creden­tials -- he's a blogger."

Setting aside the bluster and quill-rattling, let's examine the puffery.

Mr. Murphy wrote:

"I am the editor of a multi-award winning newspaper, a former NY Times journalist with two dozen awards, including NATIONAL awards for best In Depth news{sic} Reporting and Best News Story."

(As one of his real journalistic colleagues has noted: "like a hundred other people out here who like to say they used to 'write for the Times.'")

In the age of the Internet, it's very easy to track down such claims.

Some of Mr. Murphy's New York Times by-lines, circa 1997-1999, had headlines like:

(Ain't Google grand?)

This was affirmed by an NY Times source:

"(Murphy) wrote for the Long Island Section only, which means he was not on staff. His stories were mostly about the East End and ran from January 1997 until May 1999.

To say he was a feature writer for TNYT is stretching it a bit... but legally correct... all freelancers do it to some extent to boost their credentials."

None of those... I stopped counting at 50... stories are the stuff of Pulitizers, but he does have those Times bylines while I have none.

Mr. Murphy also wrote of his correspondent:

"Lisa Finn is our Southampton editor, a professional journalist with 15 years experience."

Okay, let's look at that claim in a little more depth.

Ms. Finn is certainly not some Remsenburg hausfrau who, her progeny off to school, "always wanted to try writing."

Her byline, sometimes as Lisa Rabidoux or Lisa Rabidoux-Finn, appeared regularly in "True Story Magazine," whose publisher also had titles like "True Confessions," "True Romance," "True Love," and "True Experience."

(Not exactly my "thing," but then Ms. Finn probably wouldn't make out too well in titles like "Gun Week" and "American Handgunner.")

The simple fact is that virtually everyone em­bellishes their résumé to some degree.

But when one comes onto the blog and tries to use that résumé as a cudgel to intimidate me into backing off the facts, that's w-r-o-n-g!

So I'll match the accuracy of OtBB's informa­tion against Mr. Murphy's professional résumé.

But none of this, despite Mr. Murphy's arm-flapping bluster, has been about "credentials."

It's about "credibility," and it's up to readers of The Independent and OtBB to decide who's got it and who doesn't.

Aside from whatever else he might partake of late at night, I think Mr. Murphy has been sipping too much of his own bathwater.

Comments

1. Eyes on 6 Corners said...

I went back and re-read it, and yes, Rick, you did dis this blog and try to get Steve McManus to jump to the Indy!

"...not in this venue but in a reputable forum."
Dude, have some class!
That might be a little much to ask at this point.
Dean

2. First Hampton said...

"Beaches Beckon, but oh, Where to Park?"

With a PBA card, anywhere!

You wag!
Dean

3. EastEnd68 said...

I didn't see any stories by Lisa Finn in today's paper -- is she still with The Independent?

Ho ho!

Look more closely.
Dean

4. EastEnd68 said...

My mistake -- Lisa did write columns today -- sorry.

Columns? No, but at least one story... and one for which her years of journalistic training at "True Story Magazine" made Ms. Finn the natural choice to write: "Heartbroken Mom Reacts to DWI Sentencing."

And that's not a shot.

What I don't think she should be covering is Westhampton Beach politics given the obvious appearance of a conflict.
Dean

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