I Don't Trust Newspapers Anyway 

What the man and woman in the street think about media consolidation.

Are East Bay consumers riled up about the growing MediaNews empire? To find out, we asked people about their media consumption habits at Lake Merritt, a West Oakland liquor store, the La Peña Cultural Center, and Ashby, MacArthur, and Dublin/Pleasanton BART stations.

Michael Jeffers

Student and hotel clerk, 25, Berkeley

Q: Do you know what major event happened in the local newspaper industry lately?

A: I don't get the newspaper and I don't have a TV in my house, so I don't know what's going on. Nobody said, "Hey, did you hear about this?"

Q: Where do you get your news?

A: At the moment, I really don't. Occasionally I go on the Internet at work. If a friend goes, "Hey, did you hear about this?" then I'll find out.

Chris Fable

Ad agency project manager, 26, San Francisco

Q: Are you familiar with the name Dean Singleton?

A: Well, you know, I might have heard it before. Does he write for some kind of government ...?

Q: Do you think this merger affects you?

A: To be honest, I don't read the paper too much. I get most of my news from the Web. Yahoo News or Google News. That's about it. I just don't have time to read the paper. It's easier for me to just check the Web during the day at work.

Robert Fellows

Salesman, 34, San Francisco

Q: Do you think this takeover affects you?

A: It doesn't affect me because I didn't have much faith in news to begin with.

Q: Do you think newspapers are more credible than politicians?

A: If I'm answering for the East Bay, newspapers are more credible.

Q: Where do you get your news?

A: I get my news from Randi Rhodes' talk radio show on AM 960. She's worth checking out; you should listen to her.

Darlene Nguyen

Student, 24, Newark

Q: Do you think this merger affects you?

A: No, not personally.

Q: Where do you get most of your news?

A: New York Times and BBC News. I don't watch TV.

John Beebe

Sales estimator, 61, Livermore

Q: Where do you get most of your news?

A: Either from the Herald or from television. Channels 3, 4, or 5. It depends. Channel 5 [CBS] has more Livermore news than any of the others.

Q: Do you think newspapers are more credible than politicians?

A: This day and age, no — they're about the same, to be honest with you. They don't report the news. They report what they want to report. Just like the politicians tell us what they want to tell us. What they think we want to hear. And believe me — you can even write this down — we're not stupid. They think we are. ... There are stories that don't tell me anything. They're just a lot of blah blah blah. What happened? Why did it happen? They give you all these statistics and stuff, but they don't really tell you anything about the story. It's like pulling teeth trying to find out really what's going on.

Ishandi Pipers

CD and DVD sales, 27, East Oakland

Q: Where do you get your news?

A: I get my news from TV — Channel 7, Channel 2, Channel 5, PBS, stuff like that. I get my news from the streets, you know, family members.

Q: Do you think newspapers are trustworthy?

A: Sometimes. I think they lie about the crime, you know, us committing crimes and beating girls up. I think they lie about the money they're making. Like, for instance, the gas price is too high, and they're saying they need more gas because the war is going on. But we've been having wars in the cities for a while, and they need to lower it down. They lie about gas, tax prices, all that stuff.

Q: So ... everything?

A: Basically, yeah.

Mondré Wilson

Illustrator, 28, Oakland

Q: Where do you get your news?

A: Usually Channel 5. And I keep my ear to the ground.

Q: Do you read the paper?

A: Sometimes.

Q: Which section do you like the most?

A: Actually [laughs], probably the entertainment. I don't like negativity.

Bochan Hui

Youth and family counselor, 26, East Oakland

Q: What's your favorite part of the paper?

A: My favorite part of the paper is the comics. I love doing Hocus Pocus. That's why I subscribe to the newspaper. Everything else is too depressing. Also the news I always think is always biased. So if one company is monopolizing all the other companies, I don't know if I would believe everything I read.

Laura Balderree

Computer tech support, 50, Emeryville

Q: Do you think newspapers are credible?

A: No, newspapers aren't credible because they don't have fact-checkers anymore. When I read about topics about which I have some knowledge, I can tell they didn't bother to fact-check.

Norman

Burnette

Retiree and Jehovah's Witness missionary,

54, Berkeley

Q: Where do you get your news?

A: I read a lot of the papers, you know what I'm saying? I really do. [Holds up copies of Awake and The Watchtower. ]

I'll tell you what. You ever seen this right here? This is news, too, called "Watching the World." Look at this, hold on, let me find it for you. This is some good news. [Calls to friend: "Hey, where is 'Watching the World' at?"] It's pretty interesting stuff.

Q: It's about nuclear explosions.

A: It's about everything. [Friend interjects: "Why Japanese live so long ..."] See what I'm saying?

Q: So it's international news?

A: Yeah. "Watching the World." I like reading that.

Q: And it comes out every month? And there's different content?

A: Yeah, we get those in the back of the magazine every month. You know what I'm saying?

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