This morning NCPR aired my interview with Dan McClelland, the sometimes controversial editor of the Tupper Lake Free Press.
McClelland is an unabashed economic-development booster, who has spared no ink in pushing for support of the Adirondack Club and Resort.
The veteran publisher — he’s owned the paper since the 1970s — told me that he thinks he’s generally fair, but he acknowledged that advocacy is his main purpose.
“I’ve never considered myself first a journalist,” McClelland said. “I consider myself a community promoter, a community leader. I’ve tried to do things that I thought in my humble opinion would be the best for Tupper Lake. I’m not reluctant to editorialize on what I believe in and I think my record speaks for itself. I’ve championed good things.”
Some critics, such as environmental advocate David Gibson, think McClelland crosses the line, denying his readers key information. This from an essay he wrote in the Adirondack Almanack.
Dan McClelland unabashedly and uncritically shouts loudly for the ACR, shouts down anybody with concerns, and not just on the editorial pages. Would that the Free Press more broadly represent the community it serves and be reasonably impartial, knowing how many in town may badly want the ski area redeveloped, but who may be skeptical about ACR claims.
Jessica Collier took up the debate last week in her blog in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Much has been made over the years about media bias in reporting on the ACR. We’ve regularly seen people try to discredit reports of potential issues with the project, as well as potential benefits of the project, with, “Oh, he’s just an ACR cheerleader,” or, “Oh, he’s just a tree-hugger.”
To sample some of McClelland’s coverage, in particular, you can go here to his blog (scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the Adirondack Club and Resort sections).
So what do you think? Can a newspaper still fulfill its function as watchdog and objective observer while also pushing hard for a project like the Big Tupper resort?
Is Tupper Lake at a point where it needs cheerleaders more than watchdogs? And what do you think of the journalistic treatment and coverage of the ACR issue overall, including here at NCPR?
This is sensitive terrain, so as always, please keep it civil. No name calling, no ad hominen stuff.