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Do the Write Thing

Syracuse media, community can learn from Lonsberry

There’s a big voice coming to Syracuse airwaves.

Though he has big shoes to fill, Rochester’s Bob Lonsberry seems to be the perfect addition to the Syracuse media corps and the talk-radio troops.

I hadn’t met Lonsberry until last week, but over the years I’ve become very familiar with his work — as a student at The College at Brockport, the decisions and actions of our student newspaper editors were the subject of his segments at least twice. His daughter, Aubrey, was my classmate and coworker at the dining hall. After college, I became a Rochester reporter and often read his columns and listened to portions of the show. If not to catch up on news I had missed, to keep up with how people were feeling about the hot issues of the day.

As a journalist, I have always respected the work done on his show. His voice has been instrumental in local elections and influential in local politics. I have always been impressed by his ability to articulate thoughts and take a stand on a topic — at times, the opinion and stance was strong. I haven’t always agreed with his opinion, nor that of those who call in, but Rochester politics, community and ultimately, the media, have all been strengthened by Lonsberry.

His passion for the media industry and for sharing, reporting and commentary on the news is something that Syracuse and Central New York needs.

Syracuse is a city with plenty of talented journalists and prestigious news outlets, but I’ve often been dumbfounded at how little intelligent feedback there is regarding the news of the day. The city’s news corps puts out the latest headlines, and generally speaking, there’s little-to-no substantive feedback. Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous baseless comments made on various news websites — one thing leads to another and there’s always a national politician to blame. But the comments, for the most part, lack substance and don’t exactly display critical thinking.

Lonsberry, however, has always spurred debate that brings out the passionate. Passion breeds interest. Interest breeds change. Change breeds community betterment.

I can only hope Lonsberry will affect the Syracuse community as much as he has touched the Rochester community. I know he has been a role model for numerous reporters in the Rochester-area, myself included — I can only hope his style and ability to speak about all news in a variety of ways can freshen the Syracuse media scene, too.

Love him or hate him — Central New York radio, and media, will be a better place with Lonsberry on-air.

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