Voice of OC Changes Headline Story After 13 Days


If you take a peak at Voice of OC’s site today you’ll notice that after a stunning 13 Days (Or was it 14 Days?), it has finally replaced it’s “front page” story about a mother’s crusade against infections.  What has VOC replaced it with, you might ask? A story about OCEA’s hotdogs being served at the State Capitol.

The story itself is actually not that bad.   It’s penned by Norberto Santana, Jr and basically takes stock of Orange County Labor’s newly acquired and recently unprecedented influence in Sacramento.   Santana also mentions that “Voice of OC will be covering Brown’s inauguration events live in Sacramento aiming to talk to Orange County politicos about what’s in store for them and the county’s three million residents in the next few years…”  A pretty good idea considering the concentration of OC Labor Reps and OC Politicos who are sure to be in the area.

But honestly, this is stuff that the local blogs can cover without a nice fat $140,000 check from the Orange County Employees Association. Obviously, OCEA can spend its money however it sees fit, but is Voice of OC really delivering on its promise to deliver political intel not found anywhere else?

If you asked other leaders in OC Media’s left side, the answer would surely be a resounding “Yes!”  OC Weekly’s Scott Moxley, just lauded VOC in a story that was so laden with compliments and exaltations that it was hard-to-read without gagging. And before I was ousted at Liberal OC, I had a conversation with its Editor, Chris Prevatt (who, I might add, works obsessively on his site without $140,000 from OCEA) about the perceived “lack of value and significant content” Voice had in the current OC political media atmosphere, it was an opinion that I felt was shared at the time by some of OC’s biggest shakers. Chris, of course, denied that it lacked anything at all and that it “brought a new perspective” to the scene. Chris, I might mention, is a former OCEA Treasurer.  That was some time in June, and Voice has only gone downhill since.

Below, I’ve listed ideas for improvements, as well as moderate criticisms that I’ve collected from myself, and politicos around the county.

Archaic/Confusing Layout– Voice features an inefficient layout. It’s very newspaper like, and that’s not a complement for an online news site. It has a main page where a main story and it’s accompanying picture capture your attention and dominate the center column of it’s layout (often for way too long, see my comment on the 13 day headline record), and a typical directional bar that gives you the option of navigating the site’s stories by regional, and story-type categories. But, quixotically, the stories on it’s front page are just scattered in a blog-like fashion, with some having a categorical header, and most not, making searching for stories you’d be interested in reading a tedious task.

Basically, the entire site is arranged like a newspaper, except the front page which sees very little change on a daily basis and has stories arrayed in a seemingly random and nonsensical fashion. For example, the story on OCEA’s trip to the Capital is categorized under the site’s “healthy communities” section (I have to use the term ‘section’ loosely because unless your smart enough to click on the healthy communities header that runs above each of these specific stories, you won’t find them in a centralized location because the section has no spot on the site’s navigation bar. (Interesting, considering the grant they recently to cover the area, you’d think they’d want to push it.)

Another big omission, the lack of some kind of video tab on the navigational bar, directing visitors to their video section. Most readers don’t even know they have videos posted… seriously!

VOC has a Hard-On for Curt Pringle- I was a part of a particularly interesting conversation with respected Anaheim community members, when one of them brought up the fact that while Curt Pringle is set to be leaving office, VOC seemed “dogmatic in their attempts to smear him on the way out” another agreed, and stated “Yeah, Voice of OC has a hard-on for Curt Pringle” and that then incoming Mayor Tom Tait had “significant issues regarding his previous record as council-member that hasn’t even been mentioned by the site”. Criticism runs high about VOC’s seemingly ignoring individuals deserving of an ‘investigative approach’ and it seems to be a re-occurring theme with them. This became clear to me when someone else brought up the fact that LT. Craig Hunter, who was running for OC Sheriff at the time, had “Serious issues with Latino relations* in Anaheim which stem from a brutal police beating in ’94 while Craig was on duty as supervisor, but this Santana and Tracy Wood seem blind to all that.”

Personally I cared less about their pursuit of the then Mayor, and more about the general misinformation that Voice of OC was putting out about Anaheim. They ran a story lambasting Anaheim’s City Clerk, Linda Andal, alleging incompetence on her part. It’s a claim I and many others find ludicrous considering the level of access to public documents she’s provided Anaheim residents. Her office is, by far, the most professional I’ve dealt with. When VOC’s Tracey Wood ran the story which centered around her requests for public documents, specifically the conflict of interest forms Council Members are required to file, she insinuated that the records were not made available to her… I literally walked down to city hall and found those filings, going back 8 years sitting in a binder on the counter of the City Clerk’s office. Same Day. Did she even visit the office? Who knows, but she didn’t state that she actually physically visited the office in the post.

Ultra-lame Topics It’s a re-occurring problem with them. See here, here, and here to see what I mean for various “duh” stories, dumb focuses, or “political intel” you could have gathered being Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray’s friend on facebook.

Transparency I didn’t think was an issue until they posted a story about a California Endowment Grant they were receiving which they stated “will help us fund a beat dedicated to community health reporting”. What was noticeably missing from the article you might ask? Oh… just the amount that they were receiving to fund this new “beat”.

There’s other small issues I could bring up, but I’d rather not nitpick, and there’s more than enough to get on with here.

* Basically, Latinos despise him in Anaheim.

About Luke Skywalker