Michelle Shocked Interview: No, Todd Vogt Does Not Tell SF Weekly What to Publish

Categories: Local News, Media

Never let a good story die, apparently:

michelleshocked.jpg
Black-faced and white and read all over

ABC 7's Dan Noyes is running a story with a tantalizing claim: That Todd Vogt, president of the SF Examiner, SF Bay Guardian, and SF Weekly, planned for SF Weekly to run a cover story on Michelle Shocked in exchange for her buying an ad. As evidence for this, Noyes cites an email from Vogt to Shocked in which Vogt basically says as much.

But here's the thing: At no point was SF Weekly ever planning to run a cover story on Michelle Shocked. We thought the matter of what happened between us and Shocked was more or less settled by the long story we ran on it earlier this week. But since apparently it isn't, here are the facts:

- SF Weekly never planned to run a cover story on Michelle Shocked.

- Todd Vogt never told SF Weekly to run a cover story on Michelle Shocked. He never told SF Weekly he expected a cover story, or wanted one, or anything like that.

- SF Weekly came up with the idea to interview Shocked after Vogt told us about her being interested in an ad. We tried to talk to her for a (non-cover) story. The interview, as we explained, did not happen. We ran a lengthy (non-cover) story anyway.

- Todd Vogt did not and does not dictate the editorial content of SF Weekly. Yes, Vogt signs our paychecks and owns a large stake in our parent company. He walks around the office and casually talks with us. Sometimes we even talk about the stories we're working on! But, as is traditional in this business, editors direct the content of their editorial pages. This also is the case at SF Weekly.

On Friday afternoon, after we heard ABC's Noyes was doing a story on the Shocked thing, SF Weekly editor Brandon Reynolds and music editor Ian Port called him. Apparently Noyes hadn't talked to Vogt, and he certainly hadn't talked to anyone on the editorial side of SF Weekly. He said he had read all the stories written about it. Noyes had unsuccessfully tried to reach Vogt for comment by phone, and on Thursday he dropped by our office with cameraman in tow (ambush-style), again asking after Vogt, who wasn't around.

Yet on Friday when we called, Noyes asked no questions. He said tonight's report was already pretty far along, took down Brandon's number, and said he might call back.

Now, call us crazy, but if we're working on a story, and someone involved in it calls us out of the blue, we do this thing: We talk to them. We try to find out why they called. What they have to say. What they know about this story we're reporting. Often that complicates our story. Sometimes it ends up killing the story. But by talking to people, we generally get closer to the truth.

If Noyes had asked us questions, or even let us talk, here's what we would have said: Vogt doesn't dictate what runs in SF Weekly, and we don't dictate what runs in his emails. We never planned to do a cover story on her, were never told to do a cover story on her, and in fact we already had a cover story planned for this week's issue months ago. (In case you think we found four transgender Latin@ immigrants, interviewed them in Spanish, translated and edited their interviews, and then photographed them -- as a hurried replacement to a supposed Shocked cover story -- let us assure you: We didn't.)

There's a saying reporters have for salacious but inaccurate journalism: "Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story." Unfortunately, that's exactly what ABC 7 "investigative reporter" Dan Noyes did.



My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
bellisimachica
bellisimachica

I notice you never deny that Todd Vogt offered Michele Shocked a story if she bought an ad. Can you refute that claim? It doesn't matter that you didn't run a cover story or hadn't planned one because Michelle Shocked refused the deal so Todd Vogt never had the chance to go to his editors and demand a story, as he did when he messed with Tim Redmond at theGuardian and demanded that the Guardian not endorse Christina Olague. So your column length defense of your boss--a man who knows nothing about journalism--rings false and jejune and pathetic.

David Waggoner
David Waggoner

right? no ethical standards violated at all right here. nothing to see here folks. keep moving.

Patrick Carroll
Patrick Carroll

I wouldn't trust a story about Todd Vogt by someone whose paycheck is signed by Todd Vogt...

David Waggoner
David Waggoner

some reason this piece has no writer's name on it? hmm.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

Vogt doesn't tell anyone what to publish, he just fires people who disagree with him.  Totally different!

BeckyBayside
BeckyBayside

Dan Noyes' schtick was entertaining the first few times I saw it but now it's just tedious.  Like Chris Daly, Noyes became utterly uninteresting when Newsom fled town.


His bosses must know it too.  I mean, who runs an important investigative news piece on Friday night?  No one.  Get over yourself Noyes.  Nightline isn't calling because your work isn't exceptional. 


It's also pretty funny that the Weekly is getting pissy about a reporter not taking their call the day after the same reporter came to their office with a camera.  First of all, if you had something to say, the time to say it to a tv guy is when that guy has a camera with him.  In my experience, a tv guy will take some footage over no footage, especially if he has pointed questions to ask.  His story needs reaction.

 Second, how many times has the Weekly's reporters ignored pr calls or listened with a hollow ear to someone trying to explain why reality didn't match with the reporter's narrative?  Frustrating, isn't it guys?  A learning moment for you perhaps?

Now, let's cut to the meat of the matter.  Todd Voight seems to be doing something exceptional - he's actually trying to make a sustainable business out of the City's free dailies/weeklies.  He's taking chances, making moves and adjusting along the way.  Redmond's departure was long overdue and reflects the city's change as much as anything else we see - the guy simply no longer represented the progressive movement in SF and hadn't for nearly a decade.  The Michelle Shocked thing was stupid and poorly handled by Voight and company but people trying to make big plays will make big errors along the way.  Our city is very forgiving of people who make big blunders so long as they keep at it.

Voight's big problem is that his life is in Canada and he's trying to build a business in SF that requires full immersion in the community.  Four days a week isn't going to cut it.  Something will have to give...


ben09
ben09

You can keep publishing more words about Michelle Shocked but you do not have any news, you do not have anything to add, you do not have a story, you've got nothing. Your "long story" was a non-story.

keepnitreal
keepnitreal

looking for the truth is a full time job, good luck to sfweekly and mr noyes

dan.noyes
dan.noyes

By the way, why don't you sign your name to your work?

dan.noyes
dan.noyes

Nice.  You don't even know what the story is and you're already slamming it.  I can't expect you to understand the deadline pressures of modern television, but in addition to reporting, producing and writing the story, I shot it and am responsible for the editing, graphics -- all aspects of the story.  You'll see it has very little to do with your music reporter and mostly to do with your boss.  Sorry you were offended I didn't have the time to speak with you.

Dan Noyes 

JackJett
JackJett

@Patrick Carroll You should write for the blog.  I could have saved myself the time of reading this nepotistic drivel by reading your comment first.

Vogt does not dictate but signs the check is as full of crap.  They are all Shocked!  And to think the public would fall for any of it is is a tad demeaning.  

Bottom line they were all willing, ready, and able to get in bed with a Xtian Homophobe for a couple of bucks.  To quote someone from the Michelle Shocked era.....gag me with a spoon.

ben09
ben09

@dan.noyes I'm sure your story about SF Weekly not running a Michelle Shocked story would have been almost as interesting as the non-story about Michelle Shocked which SF Weekly inexplicably ran and is still somehow trying to get mileage out of.

njudah
njudah

@dan.noyes once again, you're doing that Actual Journalism thing. High five.

A pity that since being bought both the Guardian and the Weekly are now endlessly writing about themselves. I expect crap like that from the Guaridan, but not my favorite, the Weekly, which I hold in high regard. Do better, guys and gals. You are better than this.

Now Trending

San Francisco Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...