Jennifer Schubert-Akin: Lack of coverage

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The Steamboat Institute’s third annual Freedom Conference was held last Friday and Saturday and included speakers and registrants from all across the U.S. —three state attorneys general, congressmen, Pulitzer-nominated authors and pundits of national prominence. Of particular note, our Saturday speakers included Congressmen Joe Walsh, of Illinois, and Todd Rokita, of Indiana; Grace-Marie Turner, founder and president of the Galen Institute and frequent columnist for the Wall Street Journal; Robert Goldberg, of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest; Dr. Hal Scherz, founder of Docs 4 Patient Care and recipient of the prestigious Salvatori Prize awarded by the Heritage Foundation; former Congressman Bob Beauprez; John Harpole, founder and CEO of Mercator Energy; former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer; Lt. Col. Steve Russell, leader of the troops who captured Saddam Hussein; and Steve Moore, senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal. As if that weren’t enough, Saturday’s events concluded with a fundraiser for the Rocky Mountain USO, which netted nearly $2,000.

On Sunday morning, I anxiously unfolded my copy of the Steamboat Pilot & Today to see which speakers the newspaper had chosen to feature. Imagine my surprise when I saw the front-page headline “Ski Town with a sweet tooth,” a report on Steamboat’s many ice cream shops. Now don’t get me wrong, we salute the entrepreneurial, free-market spirit of our local ice cream shop owners. However, it was shocking that the Pilot & Today made an obvious editorial decision to completely ignore an event that just last year the newspaper’s Editorial Board called “an event worthy of national attention.”

As Thomas Jefferson observed, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The Steamboat Institute does its best to provide information and foster informed discussion. The point of this is to aid everyone in employing the needed vigilance. Check your talking points at the door, please.

Anyone who suggests that the Steamboat Institute is some sort of marketing arm of a political party or that we merely conduct pep rallies plainly has not attended any of our monthly or annual events. Our attendees include conservatives, Libertarians, objectivists, and self-described liberals — people who disagree profoundly on a variety of basic issues. Speakers at last week’s conference were questioned, sometimes contentiously.

We are trying to contribute to the dialogue that is essential to the vigilance that Jefferson cites. Do we have a point of view? Certainly. The large majority of people who attend our events would agree with our five principles — limited government, lower taxes, free market capitalism, strong national defense, and personal rights and responsibilities.

We can’t, and wouldn’t, compel anyone to agree with us, but these are essential elements of the national discussion.

Ignoring the necessary discussion is a bad idea. Trying to marginalize those with whom we disagree is a bad idea. Whatever the reasons, failing to cover a national-level event, held right here in Steamboat Springs, is a bad idea.

The Steamboat Institute welcomes people of all ideologies to our events and encourages participation in the discussion. This includes Pilot & Today reporters. Just check your talking points at the door, no matter what side you are on.

Jennifer Schubert-Akin

Chairwoman of the Steamboat Institute

Comments

Scott Ford 3 years, 3 months ago

Hi Jennifer - I am sure that if there would have been a speaker at the Freedom Conference addressing the important role the bicycle could play in the future of American Politics there would have been a lot of press coverage.

The secret to getting press coverage is to reference something related to bicycling. The conference could have had the tag line, "The Uphill Ride Ahead to Freedom." Or, "The Dangers Of Navigating Single Track Thinking In A Complex World"

One just needs to put a two wheel spin on things to move them forward.

Better luck next year!

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago

Well, if it was really that worthy of national attention then at the very least there would have been coverage from the Denver press and other regional press. It was blatant local boosterism last year when the paper suggested this was of any national interest. There was no national interest last year or this year. Reason is simple, people on the lecture circuit raking in fees are not news unless they say something truly new.

So Jennifer, what happened there that you think was newsworthy? Did anyone really say anything newsworthy?

And maybe if the Steamboat Institute actually engaged itself with Steamboat issues and showed that it had a local following then it's views on local issues would probably be covered. If they were to say something about BTUSA or bike races then they'd probably get coverage. Or if it was to include local elected officials whose views on many issues may not be well known then it'd probably get coverage.

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hereandthere 3 years, 3 months ago

"limited govt., personal freedom"? And what do we think the main sentiment of the attendees toward mmj is?

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seeuski 3 years, 3 months ago

1 out of the first 3 ain't bad, that is 1 person with a reasonable response. The reason that the Pilot ignored this event and fully covers the speaking events at the Strings is obvious, the political slant in the media is a natural phenomena. Scott Wedel never would complain about the lack of local content when the Strings event is of the left wing variety,but the Steamboat Institute actually having multiple speakers on similar subjects are criticized why? Because these speakers don't blow the Liberal smoke up everyone's rear end like the Strings event speakers do. Anyway, it is typical Liberal journalism that we are seeing here as usual.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 3 months ago

Jennifer says - "The large majority of people who attend our events would agree with our five principles — limited government, lower taxes, free market capitalism, strong national defense, and personal rights and responsibilities."

Anyone else get a chuckle out of the hypocrisy in this sentence? Think the panels discussed how to remove the giant subsidies and tax breaks for large corporations (corporate jet tax anyone?) to get a free market economy? How about paying for wars with tax breaks?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago

The talks at Strings are certainly never claimed to be worthy of national interest because even though they are typically nationally recognized figures, they are also on the paid lecture circuit and thus what they say is not new.

I note how many people attend the lectures at Strings and so presumably it qualifies as a local event and thus gets covered as a well attended local event, not because the speakers say something newsworthy.

If the Freedom Conference was as well attended as the lectures at Strings then it certainly deserved more coverage as a well attended local event.

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steamboatsconscience 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh you poor baby, nobody paid attention to you, sooo sorry....... Or is this possibly about not enough people paying to attend and they didn't cover the speakers fees??? Hmmmm..... skibob... I'll bet they got a lot of Daddy Warbucks' ( you know, the fat cats that will create billions of jobs with their tax cut money) smoke up their "self described" conservative rear ends. What a bunch of self serving whiners....

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 3 months ago

Journalists and educators are overwhelmingly liberal and anyone proposing an opposing view is deserving of fair and balanced neglect.

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Troutguy 3 years, 3 months ago

And your source on this 'liberal media bias' is..............? Fox News? Could be, since they have the 4th most watched channel on Cable. Or could it be that they have 9 of the 10 most watched news shows on Cable? Yep. That's liberal media bias for ya. Oh, how ever do the Conservatives get their message out?

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seeuski 3 years, 3 months ago

I think the Liberal bias in the media is well documented and the fact that the Pilot covers all the little speeches by Liberal spewers of the Progressive agenda in their fishbag, answers the question loud and clear. Now for the Troutguy types out there here is some fish food for ya.

Bush Bush Bush. FOX NEWS FOX NEWS FOX NEWS, Tea Party terrorists Tea Party terrorists, Sarah Palin is dumb Sarah Palin is dumb, Obama inherited Obama inherited, Tax the Rich Tax the Rich, Jet tax Jet tax, Obama said so Obama said so. I love Obama. Obama Obama Obama. ;(

In leaving, Obama is hitting his all time lows in ratings and so he went on a photo op today to the hurricane center, look for the Soros bought and paid for media to try and get browny points and revive his dying self. Remember the quote "never let a crisis go to waste".

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 3 months ago

Let's apply data to Jennifer's claim of "lack of coverage". The Pilot staff published 3 articles and one news brief during the week preceding the "Freedom" Conference. The Pilot also published a full length opinion piece by a speaker at the "Freedom" conference, as well as 2 lengthy letters to the editor deriding the Pilot for lack of coverage (Jennifer's letter, plus I'm a Republican, no I'm not, wait, I am Bob McConnell). The "Freedom" Conference was a high $$, political opinion roundtable for like minded, hardly a news event. In my opinion, the conference deserved no more coverage in a local paper than a concert at Strings or a large group visiting the ski area. The Pilot has long been a local paper reporting on local issues. Wonder what would have made Jennifer happy? A daily synopsis with a Pilot written editorial confirming the national worthiness of of the discussion? A "Freedom" conference special insert? Certainly 7 "Freedom" Conference related articles didn't make Jennifer happy. She thinks these articles are the same as "ignoring" her event. Her words, not mine. Perhaps whining is a form of happiness.

Hey Scott Ford, nice cynicism on everything bike related. Since you seem(ed) to be a respected local economist without an axe to grind, why don't you give us your opinion on the "Freedom" conference local economic impact against, say, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage Four finish and Stage Five start local economic impact. I'm sure the national and international television coverage Steamboat got during the past week, plus the couple hundred tourists that came to town for the stages, is neglible compared the tourist $$ a respected journalist like Jonah Goldberg and the "Freedom" Conference brings to Steamboat.

Events like the Ride 4 Yellow (2010 donation to the community - $133,000, hats off to Dave Nagel and the entire Ride/Ski for Yellow team) and the new Steamboat Stinger mtb race are just hype about bikes and bike trails. The new downhill trails being built on the ski mountain won't bring anymore $$ to town, it's all marketing hype. OK, enough sarcasm. Bike Town USA and the marketing there of, will bring more tourists and money to our town, a lot more, in an economy where every little bit helps. Local businesses should be going to the Bike Town USA group and asking, "how can we help?". I am sorry to have to call you out Scott Ford. I usually respect your comments and learn something, but your comment this morning was way off base.

By the way, my quotes around Freedom are intentional, The topic of freedom at this conference is directed to the few rather than the many, and in my view hardly indicative of freedom and the values America stands for. This conference was group think and bravo to you for making it work here in Steamboat. However, the topics presented based on the multiple articles I read, plus your complaints about coverage, are much ado about nothing.

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Troutguy 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't see it. How is the 'liberal media' bias "well documented"? Where's the proof? Where's the data that backs up your claim?
Haven't all Presidents shown up at a major catastrophe when they happen on US soil for a so called 'photo-op', or does it just bother you that Obama showed up? "Heck of a job, Brownie" ring a bell?? Didn't Bush show up after Katrina, 9/11,..........oh, never mind. The irony is always a little too thick around here. How about the Murdoch bought and paid for media? Koch brothers? (How is Mr. Murdoch doing these days? Hope all is well with his media empire. Wait. They did what???) What is it with the selective memory of some of the GOteaParty? It's 'liberal media bias' if they don't agree with their point of view. It's only 'judicial activism' if the courts rule against their beliefs. They didn't take my point of view, so I'm going to sit in the corner and pout, stomp up and down, and claim bias. It's just much easier that way than to make clear points and have facts to back them up.

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trump_suit 3 years, 3 months ago

Liberal Media Bias = Any opinion or point of view that disagrees with Fox News.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 3 months ago

If the freedom conference group hadn't dominated the last election we wouldn't have all this venom to denounce them. They would not be worthy of comment.

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Scott Ford 3 years, 3 months ago

Good Morning Just Some Joe -

I am not anti-bike by any means. I am the first to admit I sometimes make silly comments. My comments to Jennifer where more of asking her, What did you expect?"

At our very core we have been moving for the past two decades to an amenity based economy and the expansion of bicycling recreation opportunities only strengthens the recreation infrastructure. This is very smart because cycling leverages existing recreational infrastructure. We would be considered foolish not to take advantage of this leverage.

Anytime as a community we can get positive media exposure, it has some level of benefit. Although it may be difficult to quantify, it definitely has value. I am fully aware that not everything that can be measured is meaningful and not everything that is meaningful can be measured.

Without question, we live in the house that tourism built; it is a great house! I am of the opinion that focusing on what makes this a great town to live in benefits the economy. Simply put, great towns to live in are typically wonderful places to visit as well. -

There is a lot going on in this economy beyond tourism. In some resort towns, this is not true. I was a bit surprised, however, at the number of folks that responded to the Pilot's Question of the week, who looking forward to the event just being over. The challenge is always balance an appreciation of all perspectives.

Overall, I think the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will likely have the greatest long-term tangible benefit for Colorado as a whole. The weeklong event highlighted the state very well. Nationally, anyone that followed the media coverage would have to agree that Colorado is a very pretty place. If this event nudges some folks that live outside the state to consider visiting Colorado, the communities in NW Colorado hopefully will get their share. In this respect, the national media exposure was very valuable. . I am glad I get to call Steamboat Springs home and I felt some great community pride as we welcomed the racers on Friday. What a party!!!

I know as a community we had to come-up with some sponsorship dollars to host the two stages. If the promoters of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge felt it was a success as well, I think it is reasonable that they will expect a higher sponsorship from us. How much are we willing to pay? Who benefits and who pays? It is not a simple question to answer. However, this is the question that keeps economist busy.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the thoughtful response Scott. I look forward to potential future discussions whether our investment in getting a start and finish here in Steamboat during the PCC was worth the investment. It will be a difficult thing to measure exactly. However, I bet the number of pillows occupied this past weekend with the same weekend in 2010 and 2009 for one potential comparative measurement. Anectdotally, one downtown business owner in food service told me his receipts were double the same day last year. I suspect the receipts for food service were up all around.

I took offense to your post because more than a handful of steamboattoday.com posters have expressed the same sort of cynicism around Steamboat marketing its existing bike infrastructure to potential visitors and investing in more bike infrastructure. I feel the cynicism is unwarranted based on what biking has already brought to this community and what biking will bring it in the future.

The poll on steamboattoday.com is a very unreliable indicator of public sentiment, statistically speaking. I'm not too perplexed about the results, as someone who feels strongly about a topic on a poll can easily skew the results by voting multiple times. At the end of the day, the steamboattoday.com poll measures the opinions of those willing to visit the website and vote -- with no control or correlation on sample size or sample population. Poll results are hardly a correlated measurement of public sentiment.

My main comment to Jennifer Schubert-Akin is still outstanding. If three feature articles, a news brief, a full op-ed piece by a speaker of the "freedom" conference, plus two published letters to the editors represent a "lack of coverage" or even better "a liberal media bias", what exactly would satisfy Ms. Schubert-Akin? What else does the local paper owe the organizers of the nationally relevant "freedom" conference?

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mtntrekker 3 years, 3 months ago

I do not read the paper very often so I had no idea the conference was that weekend.
I think having national speakers come to our little town in Colorado instead of Denver is a big deal. I remember reading about the first conferences in the paper and thought 'wow, some big name people were here to talk to us'! State and national attention is good for Steamboat.

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Scott Ford 3 years, 3 months ago

Hi Just Some Joe -

One of the largest benefits I see with the Bike Town USA initiative is that it introduces more folks to our wonderful town. More importantly, it may introduce visitors with slightly different motivations for coming here.

If we do not do things that expand "motivators" of why folks come, eventually our visitor base begins to erode. I am not advocating that it is necessary to have wall-to-wall non-stop special events during the summer. The challenge is not to have events that target the same general visitor demographic.

A good example of a special event that provided a unique "motivator" was the Vintage Car races. The Vintage Car weekend, which better describes the event, was awesome. For several years this event was unique to Steamboat Springs. It became an annual three day event that became a tradition. Folks would return year after year for this signature event.

I would love to see a professional or semi-pro cycling event that was anchored in Steamboat Springs. I think it would be possible to leverage the Pro Cycling Challenge excitement but it cannot be the event itself because it is not here long enough. One day is just not enough. I am not familiar enough with the cycling world to understand if such an event is even possible. I know this much folks love to watch a good race. Whether it is cars, horses, skiers, runners or bikes.

With respect to the others that are participating in this blog, our exchange has nothing to do with the topic of Jennifer's letter to the editor. Therefore, I am going to bow out. I am sure you and I will have opportunity to have an informed and civil exchange of views on this topic in the future. Good Evening.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 3 months ago

Scott - most blog discussions here are almost immediately off topic. Plus I don't really expect a response from Jennifer.

You should check out the Steamboat Springs Stage Race, now headed for it's third year Last year it brought 350 racers and over $10,000 in prizes. This is a great multi-day stage race happening right here this weekend.

http://www.bikesteamboat.com/2011-steamboat-stage-race/latest-news/

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1999 3 years, 3 months ago

yes Joe...and we did it all WITHOUT being BTUSA> the steamboat stage race is a perfect example. super great event and super successful.

we do not need BTUSA to be a great bike destination which has been proven by the success of the many bike events we have so far.

down with BTUSA.

it's cheap and tawdry

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 3 months ago

Is the sale of an average house in town news? They seem to rate an article in the paper.

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