Should a political lobbyist and real estate investor also be the owner of a major regional newspaper that happens to have bought up the most of the competition? Northern California’s Sonoma County provides a case study: lobbyist/investor Darius Anderson is also a principal owner of the county’s largest and primary daily newspaper for all of Northern California (and most of its other print media too).
Today’s guests are longtime independent, investigative reporters Will Carruthers and Peter Byrne. They return to the program to discuss their recent reporting which further examines some of Anderson’s ethically-questionable activities, and why the people of the area are likely to be kept uninformed about them. Then Peter Byrne stays for the second half of the program, and explains the now-widespread and dubious practice of “native advertising:” advertisements in the format of news stories, sometimes written by the newspaper’s own reporters, thereby pulling down the traditional ‘firewall’ between the editorial and business sides of journalism.
Will Carruthers is a staff reporter for the North Bay Bohemian and Pacific Sun weekly newspapers, serving Northern California’s Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. He has two recent articles on Darius Anderson’s dealings involving a local rail agency; they can be read here.
Peter Byrne is an investigative journalist who has written on a wide array of topics, from science and medicine to public finance. Byrne’s work can be found here.