Why Talk of the Sound is Not Going Away

Written By: Robert Cox


Some people – especially the apparatchiks in the New Rochelle School District and various government officials in New Rochelle – have expressed some surprise that Talk of the Sound has been so successful since its launch last summer. We are now getting about 8-10,000 readers a month (and growing) and have a Google Page Rank of 4 (out of 10) which makes Talk of the Sound the #1 New Rochelle hyper-local news site on the Internet and one of the most widely read “New Rochelle” web sites period (e.g., the City’s own web site has a Google Page Rank of 5 and the School District’s web site is a “4”).

Believe it or not Talk of the Sound is a side project for me. Most of my time is spent running an organization called the Media Bloggers Association which has, as its primary mission, to provide legal support services to bloggers. We have defended bloggers in cases involving The New York Times, Associated Press, the State of Maine, Oprah Winfrey and hundreds of others.

As part of that work I am often ask to speak at conferences on journalism, new media/blogging and the law/courts. A couple weeks ago I was asked to speak at a conference called NewsVision. The panel was “News in Transition,” where panelists were asked to talk about trends in Internet journalism. In the photo above are, left to right, Jeff Birnbaum of The Washington Times and Fox News, me, Kinsey Wilson of NPR and Ju-Don Roberts of washingtonpost.com, Lou Ferrara of the Associated Press/Sports. Event sponsors were the Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, the Newspaper Guild, the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, the Knight Foundation, and the Online News Organization. Some of the other speakers included John Harris who runs Politico and Vivisn Schiller who runs NPR.

The event was held at the Newseum which is an incredible new museum which focuses on journalism where I am part of the “We Media” exhibit for my work obtaining full media credentials for bloggers from the U.S. District Court in Washington for the “Scooter” Libby Trial. I was the first blogger so credentialed — all in all, my organization obtained credentials for 22 bloggers. We have done similar work for presidential debates and sporting events including the NFL Super Bowl.

I mention all of this because I wanted the kooks and trolls (and various public officials) who routinely seek to attack this site that I routinely deal with such nonsense and have been for many years. I am pretty sure if I can take on major corporations including large media companies, state governments, federal agencies and all manner of litigant in defending other bloggers right to run their blogs as they see fit then I am not likely to be terribly worried about dealing with the pack of liars, crooks and thieves who have operated in the dark for far too long here in New Rochelle. Our City is a municipality of 75,000 people (or more), the 7th largest City in the state and yet for many years there has been no daily paper covering New Rochelle. Neither the Journal News or Channel 12 News — the closest thing we have to local media — have a “beat reporter” assigned to New Rochelle so unless you shoot someone or shoot the winning basket at a high school basketball game you are going to hard pressed to get coverage of local issues.

It has been too ridiculous for too long that a City the size of New Rochelle does not have its own local media. We aim to change that. From what I can see, we are starting to succeed – and 40,000 visitors since September 1, 2008 would suggest that I am not alone.

11 thoughts on “Why Talk of the Sound is Not Going Away”

  1. mr cox why is everyone so
    mr cox why is everyone so concerned with poor little frank demasi when i have been ripping the board of education for years i hardly ever leave my office on grove street in fact on tax payers money i got all new office furniture this year 5000$ worth its public knowlege you can look it up besides i have my men do the over time work and i put myself in as doing the work when i dont even show up most times im not even in new rochelle up in the catskills hunting or goofing off i get anthony regis to cover for me
    scott impara

    1. Well it sound to me like if
      Well it sound to me like if you are going to spend so much time in your office you really should have nice office furniture.

      You must be an excellent manager if you can convince your men to work overtime hours on your behalf.

      With all the stress of sitting around the office dealing with unpacking crates of new furniture I think you deserve time off — so long as you get someone to cover for you.

  2. Keep up the good work. We
    Keep up the good work. We need to know more about what is going on in the community.

  3. at the risk of being seen as
    at the risk of being seen as a syncopant which can be added to my total lack of computer skills, you have been a fantastic asset to this community. hope you continue doing what you are doing so well

    warren gross

  4. Big deal…The National
    Big deal…The National Enquier has 75 million plus readers. That doesn’t make it credible! While I agree New Rochelle could use its own local media source, this site has not shown to be responsible, fair or accurate in a number of stories. The stories posted are biased, frequently inaccurate, lack balance and are quite often rushed to publication. The regular “journalist” or “posters” write gossip, loosely based in fact. Please people, believe little of what you read here. The stories published in The Journal News are far more accurate.

    Mr. Cox, at this point, you are not a journalist…you are a “blogger”. Your rights as a blogger are on the mark, say whatever you want…free speech…I get it. Just don’t try and pass this site off, as is, as a credible news source. Doing so is irresponsible and laughable!!!

    If it is your intention to make this a credible source of NR news, please, report the facts known, not the rumors “going around”.

    Good for all of us if you make this the site where people turn…but not as is. Also, one other note, site posts should not be removed when posted OR censored. The people have a right to comment.

    As I said earlier, New Rochelle needs a CREDIBLE NEWS SOURCE. Are you going to step up and do it right? As you said, Talk of the Sound is a “side project” for you. How credible can it be??

    1. The mission of this site has
      The mission of this site has been clearly stated since the site was launched last summer: serve as New Rochelle’s public square on the web.

      As is quite clear, we welcome anyone to register and within some very permissive policies will allow anyone to have their registered comments appear without moderation. If you feel that a story is inaccurate or misleading you are more than welcome to correct the record by adding a comment or writing your own blog post. If you feel the stories on the site are biased you are welcome to write your own.

      Your notion of “credibility” is uninformed, to be polite. Individual readers make their own determinations as to what they do and do not find credible. It is not up to you or the Journal News or some consortium of news organizations or the government to decide what is credible or not credible. By definition, the term refers to whether something is believable. If you do not believe a particular post or comment on this site you are free to dismiss it. But you don’t want that right? You talk about free speech but want to be the one who says what speech should be free. That’s not how it works so, to the extent, you DON’T get it.

      You wrote “stories posted are biased, frequently inaccurate, lack balance and are quite often rushed to publication”. I take it then you do not watch cable news or read the websites of major newspapers which can be described the same way. The difference is that this site does not advertise itself as “fair” or “objective. Much of what appears on this site is opinion so no one should be surprised that posts and comments are “biased”. There is nothing wrong with bias; the problem comes in when people pretend to be neutral when they are not. No one here that I know of is pretending to be neutral.

      You are one of a small group of people who seem to obsess about this site. You are what is referred to as a “troll”. That is why most of your comments are not published because you are simply seeking to hijack this site for your own purposes, really to attempt to tear it down because you do not like the idea that people other than government officials have the ability to express their point of view to a wide audience. All of which belies your claims to “get” free speech. You don’t get it all. If you did you would realize that the solution you seek is to counter what you view as “bad” speech with “good” speech. You can refute posts and comments here, you can write your own articles, you can start your own blog. Too lazy to do any of that you demand as a “right” to be able to use someone else’s web site as a platform to flail around with personal insults, foul language and baseless assertions about “credibility”.

      I have no problem fixing an error or correcting an omission if one is pointed out. I have run many blogs over the past 7 years and have always had that policy. The problem is that people like you are not coming to this site with corrections or facts but rather ad hominem attacks and innuendo or simply inane rants that do not make sense.

      If you prefer the Journal News then by all means read it and enjoy. If you have some specific corrections you would like to see made then feel free to identify them. Shouting “liar” is not what I would a consider a compelling argument.

      You wrote “If it is your intention to make this a credible source of NR news, please, report the facts known, not the rumors “going around”.

      My intention is what has been stated from the outset – to provide a public square on the web for people and organizations in New Rochelle to have a soapbox upon which to share stories, promote events or activities, or howl at the moon. It is the nature of such an endeavor that submissions to the site will run the gauntlet from the good, to the bad, to the ugly. It is up to each reader — not you — to make their own determination of what they find credible.

      Over the past week we have had the following stories run on Talk on the Sound:

      1. New Rochelle Tea Party Today 5 PM at “On The Waterfront” at New Rochelle Marina
      2. An Interview with “Save Our Armory” Co-Chair Peter Parente
      3. Have you been to these venues lately?
      4. Why Talk of the Sound is Not Going Away
      5. Public meetings for the Memorial Day
      6. How strict is the Calton Court co-ops on the no pet rule?
      7. Jazz @ Habitats First Friday Series – May1st
      8. Closing of Don Coqui-MacMenamin’s Grill Leaves Trail of Wreckage
      9. Mayor Looks “Foolish” in his Remarks on Downtown Business Plan
      10. Walkable Communities! April 10th 2009
      11.News12 Interviews New Rochelle Middle School Student about Alleged Abuse
      12.New Rochelle BID Announces Downtown Dining Stimulus Package
      13.Free Rabies Vaccinations Available at Stamen Animal Hospital in New Rochelle
      14.Mom Brings Down Drug Ring at Albert Leonard Middle School
      15. Growth in the Arts and business in SoNo

      There seems to be little here to substantiate your claims that “stories posted are biased, frequently inaccurate, lack balance and are quite often rushed to publication”.

      I see an interview with a community leader, several Public Service Announcements, several event announcements promoting downtown New Rochelle, a clip from Channel 12 News, a story on MacMenamin’s Grill based on a Journal News article (your favorite) and court documents, a story on Albert Leonard Middle School based on an NRPD incident report, an op-ed by me about Talk of the Sound providing some background about me, a question about pets, and the publication of a Journal News Letter to the Editor.

      As for stories being “rushed to publication”, blog posts and comments do not go through several layers of editing like at a newspaper and so articles will often have grammatical errors, misspellings and typos. Playing “gotcha” with typos and grammatical lapses is a favorite pastime of trolls and not a game that I care to play. So long as the reader can understand the author and no one violates the NO SHOUTING rule by typing only capital letters then I am not particularly concerned. It is the nature of blogging to have these sort of errors.

      You wrote “site posts should not be removed when posted OR censored. The people have a right to comment.”

      Actually, no. People do not have a “right” to comment. Also, only governments “censor” so perhaps while lecturing me about accuracy you might take a moment to look in the mirror. Why don’t you run your novel legal theories by your favorite newspaper, the Journal News and see if they will allow anyone to write anything on their site. As someone who has done their share of consulting to news organizations on this very topic, I can assure you that every news organization from CNN to The Washington Post has a set of policies about who can comment and how. We are no different here.

      I will close by noting as I often have that this site is not going anywhere and were certainly not going to change our policies to suit ever crank and crackpot with access to the web. If you do not like this site try “changing the channel”. If you feel there are errors or omissions on this site add a comment with a correction, if you want your comments to appear without moderation then register like everyone else, if you believe stories that should be published here are not being published then roll up your sleeves and write them. Whatever you do, please stop coming here and whining like a spoiled child about how the people on this site do not all see the world the same way you do. Welcome to America!

      1. Very well said Robert.

        Very well said Robert.

        My wish is for the invidual(s) that share their oppositions to this site to NOT STOP contributing to the ’cause’.

        Think about this Robert – WHO are those opposed to this site? Answer: the same people you speak of; politicians, investors, educators, authorities, etc. In some way (and pardon my spiritual thinking) we are fighting ourselves. It is this town that we want to change and WE ARE this town. How noble can our intentions be if we want to burn the opposition at the stake – throw them out – or simply ask them to change the channel. You are not only privileged with having a large audience of people supporting you: you are also privileged in having a large audience of people challenging your opinions. Good for everyone!

        When a child is being sexually abused in a family, it is almost always difficult for the parent(s) to accept this as true. There are folks in this town that have a hard time believing some of these stories can actually be true. Be sensitive to their reactions and continue to share your findings – with care – with a vision of making this town the best that it can be. The best that WE can be. Together.

        The true enemy will not show his face here. He is the one who seeks to do things to his best interest – not others. If you defend and marvel at the creation of such a forum as this one your credebility will begin to be questioned. Visitors will stop visiting. The thought will surrender to the question – are you working on this website for “your best interest”?

        IMO, you are doing a great job and so are the hundreds of people (if not thousands) who are also contributing to the health and care of New Rochelle. Don’t let this go to your head.

        Thank you.

        APBC – anonymous person by choice

    2. Anonymous is a coward

      Anonymous is a coward

      How can anyone have the chutzpah to criticize others about credibility when they hide behind the moniker of Anonymous? If you feel so strongly sign in so the public can determine the source and credibility of your comments. Or at the very least register as COWARD!

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