By Steven Tavares

Quirk is a likely candidate
 for assembly in 2012

As reported last week in The Citizen, Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk took a sharp jab at the lack of local coverage in The Daily Review. It took a week, but the Hayward beat reporter for the paper finally fought back, although the retaliation was hardly convincing.

During a council meeting Mar. 22 Quirk voiced criticism against the much-maligned Media News outlet after a comment was made regarding public outreach. “First of all, anyone who’s waiting for the Daily Review to tell you what’s happening, that was 10 years ago,” Quirk said in response. He then went on to single out the Tri-City Voice as an alternative while erroneously noted the Review’s reporter Eric Kurhi was not present when he was, indeed, sitting among the audience.

“Well, it’s not Eric’s fault,” said Quirk, “the problem is they won’t give him the column inches to report that he would like to have and he has to cover the whole city which used to be covered by like four reporters. So it’s not his fault but it’s just — we don’t have the coverage we used to have.”

In a blog posting for the Review today, Kurhi took umbrage at Quirk’s depiction of the paper’s coverage of Hayward and was particularly upset with the notion the Tri-City Voice provided more coverage of the city council. “it’s not fair to herald coverage in another publication when that coverage doesn’t exist,” wrote Kurhi. Quirk apologized, according to the reporter, and pledge to offer a retraction during the next council session.

To be fair, the coverage of any local issue in the Tri-City Voice is non-existent on all counts. The weekly publication is a weird hodge-podge of press releases featuring a layout with more fonts than you can count. That being sad, the Daily Review is not off the hook. While Kurhi laid out a very short and recent account by the paper on recent Hayward issues, the paper’s deepening irrelevance is nearly past the point of reversibility. What some former staff writers once called the “Daily Disappointment” has become the ugly stepchild of Media News’troubled local papers, including the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times.

Two reporters generally cover both San Leandro and Hayward and some of their reporters when queried by me about stories such as the saga at San Leandro Hospital and the demise of the Association Community Action Program, seemed to draw a blank on the subject despite recently writing articles on the subjects.

Quirk is correct when he did not place blame on the reporter for the lack of coverage. The problem lies with the editors, who do not reside in the area, but call shots from Walnut Creek. Over the past two years, it is obviously the notoriously stingy Media News values time over quality journalism. Their reporters seldom attend events and often times leave before the conclusion on meetings as if they are on the clock. This sort of journalism merely reports what’s on the surface. It may be better than nothing, but hardly makes the community better.

Part of the criticism against the paper emanating from leaders in Hayward has been long simmering—not out of anything it has written, but out of concern for the loss of the outlet for conveying basic information to its residents. Last year, former Councilman Kevin Dowling lamented a similar charge against the Review, albeit without the perceived rancor Quirk’s made towards the paper. Dowling said the city believed the Daily Review’s number of subscribers had dwindled to just over 10,000. Both he and another former member, Anna May, urged the city to find methods such as social media to communicate with residents instead of utilizing the Daily Review.

There is very little hope for a rebound from the Daily Review. It’s own television commercial highlight its package of coupons and circulars in its Sunday edition as a top seller point over the San Francisco Chronicle “articles.” Somwhere along the line, the sales at Target trumped the Review’s front page. I’m pretty sure Floyd Sparks, the founder of the Daily Review, would be ashamed of what has become of his beloved newspaper.