There are many posters at the Two Plus Two forum that are unhappy about the lack of media coverage of Jay “WhoJedi” Newnum’s arrest. He was accused of stealing $700 from poker dealers at Foxwoods, according to a Facebook post from Local 2121.
Are Media Outlets Intentionally Avoiding the Story?
I cannot think of any reason for a poker media site to avoid this story based on business reasons. Foxwoods probably advertises in a few poker magazines, but I doubt there are publications that rely on Foxwoods to keep the presses running. Even if they do, the story does not portray Foxwoods in any negative light. In fact, it could be argued Foxwoods wants potential thieves to know surveillance does its job.
The vast majority of poker news sites do not take any advertising from brick and mortar casinos. These sites have no fear of losing advertising revenue by reporting on this situation.
Friends with the Accused
Some have argued that friends of the accused are purposely avoiding the story based solely on the friendship. Maybe they are, but that is not stopping others from reporting on it within the same organization.
There are many poker writers like me that are not involved in live poker production, do not know the accused, and would have no issue publishing a balanced story on this topic if it was newsworthy.
Greg Raymer Comparisons
The Greg Raymer arrest is being compared to this situation. There are several differences. Raymer’s arrest was carried by local news sites and made it to wire services, including the Associated Press. Some of the initial reports included false information. There were a handful of poker media outlets that I am sure were embarrassed by not researching facts before publishing the story.
Why Have I Not Written a Story?
I have never met WhoJedi. I do not follow him on Twitter and he does not follow me. I do not watch poker tournaments and it seems that is a part of the media where he is employed. This gives me a neutral point of view towards this situation.
Some members of the poker community are angry about the lack of coverage. The fact is there is little to write about that is not already publicly available.
Here is what a story would look like as written by most poker media:
Jay “WhoJedi” Newnum was involved in a theft of $700 from a poker dealer toke jar at a tournament, according to a Facebook post by Local2121, the union representing assistant supervisors and dealers at Foxwoods.
Pokerfuse obtained court documents that confirmed the accusation. According to those documents, Newnum was arrested on December 16. The case was disposed of on December 24, when Newnum applied for a program available to first offenders in minor cases in Connecticut.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.
That was 86 words. I guess I could have spiced it up with jokes about chopsticks to help make it longer.
I chose not to publish this story because I could not add anything beyond a Facebook post and a backlink to a Pokerfuse story.
The fact is this is a misdemeanor case. There have been far bigger crimes involving poker people on both sides that received little coverage.
Staking agreements that were violated and fantasy football opponents getting stiffed come to mind. These thefts have involved tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. These stories received little to no coverage on the same sites being shamed for not reporting the theft of $700.
These topics make for great gossip threads in poker forums. They do not make for good news stories.
Pokerfuse Covered Story
Pokerfuse published an article on this topic. They knew where to find the court documents and attempted to discover more information from those involved. They covered the story sufficiently with the information that is available.
That was published on Friday afternoon. Poker media goes quiet on weekends, as does most of the industry. Monday will likely bring a few rewrites of the story and more information may come out when the new week starts.
I Have No Problem Exposing Poor Media Practices
I certainly have no problem calling out other members of the poker media. I exposed two plagiarism scandals last year where sites were copying content from competitors and publishing it word for word on their own sites without permission.
I called out the poker media as a whole after the Greg Raymer arrest on my blog for what I felt was irresponsible reporting.
If I thought the accused poker media people acted unethically I would say so. I do not. I respect that others feel differently, I just cannot understand that point of view.
Differences in Poker Media
There seems to be some confusion about the types of poker media outlets. Some sites and publications focus on live tournaments and results. This story might fall under that scope in an obscure way, but I would not blame any of them for passing on it.
There are niche sites in our industry that are dedicated solely to online poker. These types of sites do not care about this incident.
The popularity of Pokerfuse exploded after Black Friday. The media site covers a wide range of poker stories, and as mentioned earlier, they covered this story well.
Other sites focus on the entire casino industry. They are concerned about regulations, corporate information, online poker, sports betting and casino games. 4Flush falls under that category. The owner of this site has told me that I may write about anything related to gaming with full editorial control no matter how controversial it may be as long as it is factual. One article I published angered the subject of it so much I received a threat from their lawyer. That still did not change the site’s policy or my attitude towards exposing unethical behavior in the industry.
Local 2121 Union Thoughts
The Local 2121 labor union Facebook page states:
This site is for the sole purpose of communication for the dealers and assistant supervisors from Foxwood’s Casino and the UAW Local 2121 Union.
It is a public page, but its intent is not to communicate with poker players or media. President Billy Shea posted information about a crime committed against its members. He has every right to post truthful information, especially as it pertains to his job as president. Nobody has been able to disprove his comments so at this point we can assume that they are true.
Billy Shea mentions in a follow up Facebook post:
I have received some very disturbing personal comments and attacks for going the social media route in dispensing this story.
I have no reason to doubt this statement. In my opinion, anyone that is attacking the messenger here should be outed. This group was already the victim of a crime when their holiday money was stolen. Now they say they are being attacked (by what I hope is a very small minority) for discussing the topic on a union Facebook page. Dealers work hard enough and are often unappreciated, as well as underpaid. They certainly do not deserve this additional headache.
Poker Community Needs to Relax
Everyone needs to take a deep breath. A person known by some in the industry got in trouble with the law. Let them settle their legal problems and move on with their life.
Steve Ruddock also published an editorial at Pokerforums.org about the situation.
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