Media Vultures Swoop Into Town

I’m glad I didn’t have an open wound July 15 because if I had, I probably would have had my flesh tour from my bones even as I screamed for help.


That’s easy. The media vultures from Wichita and Hutchinson came to town searching for blood and tears.

Some how they caught wind that Moundridge was without power due to approximately 20 power poles being splintered apart like a soggy toothpick in the mouth of a portly fellow.

The winds were undoubtedly strong to knock that many poles down and keep Moundridge in the dark for 28 hours, but it is a shame that wind also scooped up KAKE Channel 10, KWCH Channel 12, KSN Channel 3 and The Hutchinson News and dropped them into our laps as well.

These big-media vultures smelled the potential for a hot story. They came to town expecting to see people struggling to get by and probably hoped for a few tears.

They were disappointed I’m sure.

Granted, the shear number of poles knocked down warrants a story and having a whole town living by candle light for a couple nights isn’t too bad either, but these city slickers underestimate the fortitude of small-town America.

Out of everyone I talked to, the power outage was little more than an inconvenience.

No one was terribly bothered by it. They just wanted it back on as soon as possible, primarily to protect their freezers full of food.

It allowed some people to get some chores done around the house, such as mowing the lawn or doing some of that light repair work that they had been successfully avoiding.

The vultures didn’t want to see that. They wanted emotion for their video cameras to capture, not hard work and never-say-quit attitudes.

They all spent a few hours in town, picked what meat they wanted from the exposed bones of Moundridge, and then blew away again with the wind.

It’s pathetic.

Those big-media people are just a bunch of opportunistic vultures. They only come to town when it is something less than positive.

Where they hear during the Black Kettle Festival? I didn’t see any cameras besides my own.

Have they covered the fact that a dentist is coming to town, which is big deal for a small community? Nope.

Will they cover happenings at our local library? No way, no chance.

All they want is something juicy, much like a vulture that flies around looking for a road-kill raccoon or skunk to scavenge from.

But here’s the thing, we aren’t road kill in a small town. We are the engines that keep the country running because unlike the big-city people, we understand how to work.

The big-media people don’t understand how to relate to people and actually carry on a conversation. All they know is that they have to get a certain sound bit to put in their story package.

They could really care less about what the person being interviewed is saying. They are just listening for that perfect quote to come out of the person’s mouth so they can go produce the story.

I have zero respect for people who claim to be journalists that storm into a town just to get what they need and then leave again.

They don’t really care about the community. They don’t cover the local government, local businesses, local school, local clubs and organizations or anything else local.

In fact, they probably just came to town to do a story on the storm in an attempt to boost viewer ship for that day.

Of course, they were all probably too narrow minded to realize that we didn’t have power, so no one was going to be tuning in from Moundridge.

And that’s what I mean, they have no concept of how small towns work. If they did, they would spend more than five minutes standing on the corner of the main intersection shooting B-roll video for use under a voice over.

A prime example of just not getting it was The Hutchinson News reporter. She parked her car in front of Goering Hardware to go speak with Mike Kauffman.

That’s fine, except she parked perpendicular to the curb as if it were slant parking in front of the hardware store.

News flash: that is parallel parking there, genius.

Also, it annoys me when the outside media tries to talk to me. Not because I don’t like to converse with other journalists, because I do, but because they always try to make me think they are better than me.

Take the KAKE dweeb.

He came up to me as I sat in front of The Ledger’s office reading a book and asked me if I got the paper out this week yet.

I said I had.

Then he asked if I was able to get any of the storm coverage in.

I said I hadn’t and would be doing it the following week.

He said that was too bad and then talked about having to get his story ready for that night.

See how he was trying to rub in the fact that they were walking all over The Ledger’s territory?

I don’t like that.

Should I be this territorial?

Absolutely yes.

This is my home, and I am here everyday covering the good and the bad.

These jerks just come to town when they smell blood.


Of course, one news outlet that didn’t come and bother the town was The McPherson Sentinel.

Maybe they didn’t know how to get to Moundridge since Old 81 Highway was closed off.

They sure did have a nice, itty-bitty story in the paper, though.

Good work, gang.

Your sister paper, The Newton Kansan, even had more than you, and they are in a different county.

Moundridge gets its power from the town in which you are based for goodness sake.

Way to hit a homerun.

I realize this isn’t first, nor will it be the last, time other media outlets try to come in and big-foot the hometown paper, and I’m OK with that because I know The Ledger will do better here at home than anyone other news organization.

As long as I am here, The Ledger will constantly strive to cover Moundridge and Inman better than anyone else. That’s a promise.

And if nothing else, The Ledger can be rolled up and used to shoo away those pesky vultures.

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About toddvogts 843 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at or via his website at