Monday, February 16, 2015

Run dwn

Seen here is the announcement from Sunday afternoon that RIPTA was ending service for the day at five. While appearing in what is technically a newspaper it is pretty much pure press release. The reasons for the move are stated - mainly safety of the drivers and passengers - but not interrogated.

Whether or not RIPTA was justified, there seem to be some non-valid assumptions here. Mainly that passengers would be at or near home when the abnormally early stop time came. That they'd know ahead of time the stoppage was coming. So that if on the off chance they were out, they'd be on the available bus back home, and if they were home they'd know to stay in.

In reality passengers were stranded in places it was difficult to get home from in this weather. (Me, I was able to walk home, but it wasn't fun.) People waited at stops for buses that weren't coming in sub zero temperatures. And you can bet they were pissed.

Sunday night and all day Monday I've searched in vain for stories on customer complaints, or anything on public reaction at all. The story is certainly there to be told. But no local - or "local" - media outlets are telling it.

This is the essential problem with media consolidation. Providence is a decent sized market. But our one daily newspaper is owned by a Texan corporation that manifestly doesn't care about original content. The TV stations all belong to out of state conglomerates. The main alternative weekly went under a couple of months ago. And there's no "new media" innovator to take up the slack, certainly none with the requisite following.

How many stories fall into a journalistic dead space as a result?


susan said...

That was a very horrible thing for RIPTA to do with almost no prior notice. How could they not understand that people would suffer terribly out there waiting for buses that would never come? Things have been very bad here with street and sidewalk clearing, but so far as I know the buses didn't stop running their usual schedules.

Yeah, we've noticed the same problem here regarding finding places where complaints can be written and read by those in authority. There seems to be some underlying message that everyone is (or should be) connected to FB and Twitter.

There was an interesting article in The Guardian this morning about the problems of media companies (in this case, The Telegraph) not being responsible to their readership.

Ben said...

I know in Boston the MBTA trains have been cancelled or curtailed some days. Not sure about the buses. But yeah, to me the reasoning is pretty weak and people wind up getting screwed.

Even if you're connected to FB and Twitter, the odds are you're not getting heard that much. I mean, a few people have thousands of followers, but most regular people on those sites will only have a small circle of friends.

Media consolidation has been happening all over, so I can see how England would have a lot of the same problems we do. And Rupert Murdoch seems to be doing very well for himself both places.