FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK: Sun Rises to Stand Against the LCN

The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Dougherty’s leadership has continued right where his predecessor’s leadership left off: pursuing equipment that would further protect deputies and members of the community.

Recently, the Sheriff’s Office had an opportunity to obtain a free armored vehicle that was in need of some maintenance but in repairable condition. The Sheriff took advantage of that opportunity. I completely support that decision and feel this a necessary addition to the equipment that the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office has available in case of emergencies.

Sun Beat

Today: Fondue Friday at Deer Run Winery!

by Deer Run Winery - 11/24/2017

In a Facebook post, Amber Hainey, who works for the Livingston County Department of Social Services and has essays published occasionally in the Livingston County News, recently accused the of being biased and ‘probably’ publishing fake news. She attached to her comment an article from the LCN’s website about that armored car. While we are used to absorbing unfair criticism on a daily basis and Hainey of course has her own personal history and issues with the, we take these statements seriously, even though this one generated no reaction from the rest of Facebook.

I support the Sheriff’s Office having an armored car because we have had instances where armed people have barricaded themselves intending to confront police, and, it’s a horrible thought but a very real possibility that we could have an active shooter scenario in Livingston County. Active shootings take place in large crowds, college campuses and large businesses, and we have all of these in Livingston County. It’s a frightening but realistic possibility. Being that Ms. Hainey works for Social Services and as part of her job works closely with law enforcement, one would think that she would want the police to be as safe as possible as they approach any intensely dangerous situation. Instead, she ‘really wants to hear about why we need an armored vehicle from Iraq’ because she’d rather see SWAT teams and evacuating civilians squatting in the beds of pickup trucks, exposed to gunfire, as they recently were when they went to apprehend a drug dealer they believed to be armed.

Last year, when Sheriff Dougherty announced the purchase of two Sheriff’s Office UAV’s, commonly called ‘drones,’ some people harshly criticized the purchases as wasteful government expenditures. As of this writing, one of these exact drones is being used in an ongoing recovery operation to find two men who disappeared while snowmobiling on Conesus Lake, and the public is hailing the search effort as a godsend. That drone is right now making that sad, difficult search safer, more efficient and more effective. An armored car would do the same for SWAT operations.

A screen grab of Hainey’s post.

We at the take great pride in supporting law enforcement. When seeing a member of law enforcement on the streets, I can proudly shake their hand and look them in the face knowing that I completely support their oaths, their need for readily available equipment and their safe return home every day.

I emailed Ben Beagle, Editor of the Livingston County News and questioned the ethics of letting Hainey, an ‘LCN columnist,’ post links to the LCN on the Facebook Page, which still stand as of this writing, five days later, to air a personal critique of the’s coverage, which is based on these principles. Beagle shrugged off the incident with the following:

Amber Hainey is not and has never been a columnist for The Livingston County News. She has submitted a couple of guest essays that we have published in print and also posted online. The screenshot that you included in your email is not one of her essays, it is a staff-written piece – one that I wrote and later updated. Ms. Hainey was not and we have never instructed anyone to post our content to other websites. How people chose to interact with the content of The Livingston County News is their choice and one that we do not control.


Ben Beagle

Editor and General Manager

The Livingston County News

Had we been aware of one of our guest writers using our material to carry out a stupid personal grudge on the LCN’s Facebook page, we would have contacted them to insist that they remove the post. Especially if they refused, we would ourselves address our guest’s gross unprofessionalism to clarify that their actions are not an extension of our company.

Unfortunately, Beagle’s poor leadership is a continued trend at the LCN as they gut their office and drain people to their parent companies in Watertown and Batavia, or eliminate positions entirely. The hardworking, talented people who built that paper are now gone as the ship sinks.

According to circulation reports filed at the United States Post Office, the Livingston County News has seen an 18 percent loss in print circulation since 2012. According to their 2016 print circulation numbers, they averaged 4,609 weekly purchases, down over 1,000 from 2012. As a follow-up to my conversation with Beagle, I let them know that I was working on this piece and inquired about their downward trend in an email to Beagle and his boss, Mike Messerly, Publisher of the Batavia Daily News, which owns the Livingston County News. He responded with the following:

We publish this information annually in the LCN in our statement of ownership. At an annual drop of just 3.5 percent, our circulation metrics are still better than industry norms. Furthermore, the LCN’s total overall audience, combining print, digital and social media has grown significantly. Even in the last year, combined with our rate of growth, we’re far and away the leading media choice based on total audience figures in Livingston County … and it’s not even close.


Well, I wasn’t really asking about that but, OK Eastman Kodak. The deal is this for us peasants at the the void of ethical leadership at the head of the Livingston County News as represented by their failure to correct or even acknowledge Hainey’s embarrassing use of their product to air dirty laundry on the social media platform of another media company is a symptom of a critical health problem with the LCN. Despite their posturing, the LCN is the weakest it has been in five years and it’s not coming back.

So in response to the most recent annoying Facebook gripe by Hainey: the safety of our community and its law enforcement officers is an absolute priority.

In response to Beagle’s cowering behind technicalities and Messerly’s denial of the end of his paper: it’s game on. The has never been brighter. We added a record number of paid subscribers in the past two months. Since 2011, our newsroom has expanded to two, then three office suites. Our hand-built and painted Sunroom studio is home to the best in-house sports and news video in the county, bar none. We just closed out our biggest month ever for financial growth, and it’s because people support us, our content and our conduct.

Of all the things my family, my mentors and my bosses have tried to teach me, here are three that really stuck: Don’t take shortcuts. Treat people right. Be honest about your successes, your failures and your mistakes. In the end, it all pays off.