When The Rochester Voice confronted Rochester's city manager about his refusal to speak with the digital newspaper about an upcoming vote till AFTER THE VOTE he responded that he didn't have to because he does not consider The Voice a legitimate news source.
On Thursday the city employee who produces press releases for the public emailed The Rochester Voice for information about our digital daily.
"I'm working on a blog post that lists regional news outlets by popularity," read the email from public information officer Matt Wyatt. "We ran web traffic reports on several news websites, obtained analytics, and unique clicks/visits/how long readers stay on pages, etc. I'd like to do something to highlight the many news sources that are out there, for those that are unaware. Everyone knows about Foster's and WMUR but there are a few others that are also good sources of information. I want to make sure our citizens are made aware of the many choices, such as The Rochester Voice."
So apparently the public information officer considers us a legitimate news site, but City Manager Blaine Cox does not. Interesting.
Another disturbing tidbit. When Wyatt released the press release titled, "Mayor condemns councilor Christopher Rice following City Council trial" on May 12, he referred to The Rochester Voice as a "local news blog" while referring to Foster's Daily Democrat by its proper name.
In The Voice's reply to Wyatt's Thursday email, we said we would consider supplying the info he requested if he changed "local news blog" to The Rochester Voice.
Wyatt's reply? "I would consider that. Are you willing to make any concessions?"
Is this the kind of government we can be proud of. How demeaning. Or is this attempted coercion, intimidation?
We can't imagine Wyatt demeaning The Rochester Voice, the city's 2021 business of the year and a 10-time New Hampshire Press Association honoree, without the knowledge of his boss, Cox, who believes we are not a "legitimate" news site.
But it's not just Cox and Wyatt at City Hall that cast aspersions on The Rochester Voice.
After a Right To Know filing for information on work the city did at 13-17 Hanson St. that led to the flooding of Porters Pub earlier this year, the city's Economic Development Director, Mike Scala, unaware he had been cc'd on the request, replied to the city attorney, "All set, no more questions. His 5 readers will be riveted by his thorough expose lol"
Minutes later both Scala and the city attorney sent an additional email to The Rochester Voice, saying, "We would like to recall the message."
They never apologized in writing or in person. Just "We would like to recall the message."
That's the government that runs this city. Such hubris is disturbing to say the least.
But trust me, valued readers of The Rochester Voice. One thing we can assure you. We will never make concessions.