Comments by smithchuck

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Posted on August 13 at 4:18 p.m.

Ray: I think an important but perhaps subtle distinction should be made here between the "quantity" of information and the "presentation" of that information. I think the issue with version 1 of the story wasn't so much "too much information" vs. "too little," as: was it accurate, was it reasonably objectively worded, was it biased (even unintentionally) or not, etc. When I read the earlier version of the story it did strike me as somewhat alarming. The current version is much less so. I think the difference probably has less to do with the *amount* of info presented than with the wording. E.g., I think it originally said the fire could ultimately consume over 25% of SB County (my reaction: wow!! that's huge!!) and now it says "it could consume a large part of SB County" (reaction: hmmm). Molumby's quote about not being able to go back after you pull the switch and speaking to a "stunned" crowd sounded somewhat alarming, but if the quote was accurate and not pulled out of some important qualifying context, that's fair. "Stunned" is probably a bit of a subjective evaluation--if instead you'd chosen the word "attentive" the tone of the sentence would have been different, less alarming. And finally, the original article said (if I remember correctly) that they were already committed to doing the huge planned burn, whereas subsequent version(s) say it's being considered. Big difference in meaning, and big difference in the reaction it produces (at least to me).

In general I'd say you're doing a terrific job of covering this fire. That one article (version 1) did have a much more alarming tone & wording than any others I can remember reading, but I'll leave it to those closer to the action to decide if it was fair or not--I'm certainly no firefighting expert or disaster planner! My guess is that the fact that the current version has been reworded to be somewhat less alarming suggests that you and others agreed it had room for improvement.

On How Much Info Should the Public Know?

Posted on August 3 at 11:30 p.m.

At the end of the article, the link for Inciweb is incorrect. It should be (not .com). If you want to go straight to the Zaca Fire part of that website, use this link:

Thanks so much for the correction; the article has been fixed. --WebAdmin.

On Zaca Update:<br />Friday takes a turn for the worse

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