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Shelby French Resigns

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  • #21
    I think it is a little amusing that COTH is the first place I hear about this despite being on a couple USHJA committees. But, on the other hand, I am not completely surprised. There seems to be a lot of people moving around and shifting right now for various reasons within the organization.

    Comment


    • #22
      I work in journalism for a living (on the scientific/medical side) and I completely agree with NinaL.

      It gets so tiring reading all these equestrian articles (I'm not just singling out COTH) that are basically fluff pieces that report what they've been told to report when there is CLEARLY more to the story.

      In just the past 2 weeks, we've had:
      - A horse collapse at WEF, with the resulting article focused on a statement from the 15-year-old rider saying the horse was stung by a bee...anyone who has done a little homework knows there is a whole LOT more to this story. Bee sting my a$$.

      - An EVH outbreak that has been horribly handled by the HITS show management. The reporting on that incident has been somewhat better but I'd love to see reporters asking the tough questions of Struzzieri and his management--such as why are they encouraging competitors to come and show, allowing horses to leave in the window before the quarantine went into effect, and eeking out every penny from competitors to pad their pocketbooks.

      - A key figure in the USHJA resigns with absolutely no notice and the best "information" that can be shared is a watered down version of "she's going on to do other things."

      It's really sad when the equine journalists are afraid to ask the tough questions because of they are trying to stay in the good graces of these organizations and big name trainers and riders. I'm sure much of it relates back to keeping those ads coming in for the magazines as well as other perks.

      What I see from the outside looking in is fear. These handful of people in power do whatever they want with no accountability because no one is brave enough to call them out.

      It took a reporter from the NY Times to finally expose the true story surrounding the Humble incident. I can guarantee you that no equestrian magazine would have done the same. I do give a lot of props to Rate My Horse Pro for at least gathering information on cases pertinent to horse welfare and the industry.

      Maybe I'll start subscribing to COTH again when the articles echo true reporting instead of simply feeding us what those in positions of power want us to believe (look at the incestuous relationship of organizations, such as USHJA/USEF, where the trainers, judges, show managers, etc, are making the rules, showing the horses, and organizing/judging the shows).

      I'm not pointing fingers at Molly or Mollie--I realize you are working within the parameters you are given, but we need some true investigative reporters out there that aren't afraid to get the real story. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a start to changing the road this industry is sadly continuing to follow.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by Molly Sorge View Post
        To those who see fault in the Chronicle’s reporting:

        We noticed the elimination of Shelby’s blog and name from the USHJA website and decided to ask what had happened. We also thought it was remiss to not have been announced. So we asked questions and got limited answers.

        We try to balance our reporting on such topics with maintaining a cooperative relationship with our governing bodies, which is necessary in our daily operations.

        We provided the information to you in a free and timely manner; the Chronicle strives to keep its readers as informed as possible, which takes effort, manpower and resources.

        If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at molly@chronofhorse.com
        Personally I think the Chronicle strikes pretty close to the perfect balance. I really don't want it to turn into the print version of Rate My Horse Pro. I like the reporting on the sport's various disciplines, the human (horse) interest articles and show coverage. I think it was appropriate that they "broke" the Shelby French story - clearly they are paying attention to what is going on and reporting the news, and likely more detail will come out over time.
        **********
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
        -PaulaEdwina

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
          I think it is a little amusing that COTH is the first place I hear about this despite being on a couple USHJA committees. But, on the other hand, I am not completely surprised. There seems to be a lot of people moving around and shifting right now for various reasons within the organization.
          Ditto. She resigned Feb. 8th, which gave them (USHJA) plenty of time to come up with a spin and release the information on their own terms. But, rather than that, they quietly remove her from the web site and... what, hope no one notices that Shelby French has simply vanished from the industry?

          That is not simply beyond the pale, that is insulting. To my intelligence and that of every other USHJA member.
          EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

          Comment


          • #25
            Chronicle coverage

            I was a working journalist in a past life as well, and I have to say the comments by Nina L and Kelly S. really hit a nerve. I don't fully agree--I would never look to the Chronicle for real investigative journalism on any of these topics--I get the business realities here, and there are other publications that are better situated to fill that role. At the same time, there are a lot of shades of gray between " hard hitting investigative journalism" and "house flack", and the balance that the Chronicle has struck so far....may not look so terrific in hindsight. ( And looks just plain silly now.)

            Just sayin.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by KellyS View Post

              It took a reporter from the NY Times to finally expose the true story surrounding the Humble incident. I can guarantee you that no equestrian magazine would have done the same.
              Of course not. Think of the difference in budgets between NYT and the Chronicle. And Walt Bogdanich is not a beat reporter, he is an extremely tenacious, Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who is at the top of the profession.

              As a former reporter now in public affairs for a government agency that is, shall we say, often in the news, I'm a little surprised at the reaction from the two reporters who have weighed in. If you are on a beat, you do have to be careful with your better sources. Cover them fairly and you will continue to get information--and by "fairly," I don't mean gratuitously praising their every move, I mean being accurate and objective. If you blow them up, well, you can't really expect roses and chocolates the next time you call.

              If you cover government or a public institution, your sources have a certain obligation to respond to your inquiries. You also have the benefit of using FOIA or other sunshine laws to get information. Even if you cover a major sport, you can get information by wielding the power of public opinion (see exhibit A: Lance Armstrong).

              Covering horse sports is a whole lot different. It is a relatively tiny, incestuous and highly monied society with easy access to legal counsel. I certainly can't blame the Chronicle, which depends on their sources' cooperation and, frankly, advertising revenue to abstain from becoming the 60 Minutes of equestrian sport. To compare the alleged drugging of a horse to the Sandusky situation is really apples and oranges. If we were back in the Tommy Burns days, you might have an argument.

              You read what Molly wrote: the Chronicle asked questions and got "limited" (read: "unsatisfactory") answers. The Chronicle can't compel the officials at USHJA to respond. Even the members have been unsuccessful at getting answers. Until the members who show start voting with their feet, why should USHJA change?

              Getting back to the issue at hand, my only regret is that Shelby French is based in Lexington, because she's the kind of person I'd want to ride with--so that I could become a better rider and horseman, not so I could take the show ring by storm. I'll never have the money or horseflesh to compete in those leagues, but even if I did I couldn't see putting my horse through that kind of lifestyle. It's not only the medicating and longeing to death, it's also because I think horses are made to live outside 12-24 hours a day and not be drilled and jumped on that kind of schedule.
              Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

              Comment


              • #27
                I note that now Bill Moroney is taking over her job too.

                All the best to Ms. French, and I hope those at USHJA will be able to find a capable replacement.
                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                Comment


                • #28
                  Reading between the lines, I concluded that Ms. French has too many morals to continue to be a shill for Bill Moroney (I am aways struck by the fact that when I type his name, first I have to type "moron".)Seems like she was saying as much as she could when she was quoted as saying:
                  "I just came to realize that I was not the right fit for USHJA at this juncture."

                  I was not at the convention, so I am also curious how Bill threw her under the bus. I do not doubt that he did it, I just want to know how.

                  The entire USHJA is second only to the US Congress in cronyism and self interest. Isn't there a way that if enough people stand up and say that they no longer wish to support the farce that is the regulating organization for our sport, that they will be heard?

                  I am guessing that Shelby had a non-compete clause in her contract which is why she is not looking for another job in the industry right now. She might have even been given an excellent severance on the conditon that she did not discuss the details behind her departure.

                  I also find it weird (nay, bizarre) that the USHJA wiped her off the face of the earth and did not tell anyone that she was gone.
                  "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                  Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by patterson View Post
                    I was a working journalist in a past life as well, and I have to say the comments by Nina L and Kelly S. really hit a nerve. I don't fully agree--I would never look to the Chronicle for real investigative journalism on any of these topics--I get the business realities here, and there are other publications that are better situated to fill that role.
                    Also a real-life journalist, and I wholeheartedly agree. If you other writers/editors/reporters want to do it better, go for it.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by KellyS View Post
                      I work in journalism for a living (on the scientific/medical side) and I completely agree with NinaL.

                      It gets so tiring reading all these equestrian articles (I'm not just singling out COTH) that are basically fluff pieces that report what they've been told to report when there is CLEARLY more to the story.

                      In just the past 2 weeks, we've had:
                      - A horse collapse at WEF, with the resulting article focused on a statement from the 15-year-old rider saying the horse was stung by a bee...anyone who has done a little homework knows there is a whole LOT more to this story. Bee sting my a$$.

                      - An EVH outbreak that has been horribly handled by the HITS show management. The reporting on that incident has been somewhat better but I'd love to see reporters asking the tough questions of Struzzieri and his management--such as why are they encouraging competitors to come and show, allowing horses to leave in the window before the quarantine went into effect, and eeking out every penny from competitors to pad their pocketbooks.

                      - A key figure in the USHJA resigns with absolutely no notice and the best "information" that can be shared is a watered down version of "she's going on to do other things."

                      It's really sad when the equine journalists are afraid to ask the tough questions because of they are trying to stay in the good graces of these organizations and big name trainers and riders. I'm sure much of it relates back to keeping those ads coming in for the magazines as well as other perks.

                      What I see from the outside looking in is fear. These handful of people in power do whatever they want with no accountability because no one is brave enough to call them out.

                      It took a reporter from the NY Times to finally expose the true story surrounding the Humble incident. I can guarantee you that no equestrian magazine would have done the same. I do give a lot of props to Rate My Horse Pro for at least gathering information on cases pertinent to horse welfare and the industry.

                      Maybe I'll start subscribing to COTH again when the articles echo true reporting instead of simply feeding us what those in positions of power want us to believe (look at the incestuous relationship of organizations, such as USHJA/USEF, where the trainers, judges, show managers, etc, are making the rules, showing the horses, and organizing/judging the shows).

                      I'm not pointing fingers at Molly or Mollie--I realize you are working within the parameters you are given, but we need some true investigative reporters out there that aren't afraid to get the real story. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a start to changing the road this industry is sadly continuing to follow.
                      Best and most accurate post. Stop your subscriptions to Chronicle since is basically pages and pages of advertising. No stories.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        http://www.equisearch.com/news/nancy...nnual-meeting/
                        "Mary was the surprise candidate for the USHJA presidency in October. A New Jersey trainer, she provides a firm foundation for her students, then sends them on when they are ready to pursue the highest level of their discipline.
                        She was nominated by the organization's president, Bill Moroney, who had decided not to run for a third term. But a few weeks later, he changed his mind after pleas from major players and constituents, prompting him to put his name on the ballot. What had looked like a done deal turned into a race, with a dose of drama and the finish line at this week's USHJA convention."
                        (December 3-6th 2012)




                        USHJA Bylaws;
                        CHAPTER III - USHJA OFFICERS
                        Article 301 - Officers and Election of Officers

                        Section 1. Elected Officer Designations & Eligibility. All individuals seeking to serve asOfficers must be Senior Active members of USHJA, and are subject to review by the Nominating Committee.
                        a. National Officers. The President, Secretary and Treasurer shall also be known andreferred to herein as the “National Officers”.
                        b. Discipline Officers. The Chairman of the Jumper Working Group shall be the
                        Discipline Vice President - Jumper and referred to herein as a “Discipline Officer” of USHJA.The Chairman of the Hunter Working Group shall be the Discipline Vice President - Hunter and referred to herein as a “Discipline Officer” of USHJA.

                        Section 2. National Officer Nominations. Those individuals willing to serve as National Officers shall be proposed by the General Membership, Board of Directors and/or Nominating Committee, and nominated according to Chapter VII. Board of Directors approved procedures for nominations shall be available to the membership sixty (60) days prior to elections at www.ushja.org
                        Last edited by Equibrit; Mar. 2, 2013, 03:16 PM.
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by patterson View Post
                          I was a working journalist in a past life as well, and I have to say the comments by Nina L and Kelly S. really hit a nerve. I don't fully agree--I would never look to the Chronicle for real investigative journalism on any of these topics--I get the business realities here, and there are other publications that are better situated to fill that role. At the same time, there are a lot of shades of gray between " hard hitting investigative journalism" and "house flack", and the balance that the Chronicle has struck so far....may not look so terrific in hindsight. ( And looks just plain silly now.)

                          Just sayin.
                          I hear what you're saying but perhaps a little history lesson is in order. COTH, founded in 1937, was begun right along with other, equally august equestrian magazines such as The National Horseman (1865), The Blood-Horse (1916), and Saddle and Bridle (1927), essentially to publish puff-pieces about High Society's equestrian exploits, in return for which it was pretty much mutually understood among readers and publisher that revenue from "vanity ads" by the proud parents of society belles and promotional ads from trainers wishing to acquire such highfalutin' clients would pay for the publication.

                          This fact distinguishes COTH, TNH et al. from more traditional newspaper journalism. Immediately you can perceive that a conflict of interest is built into this business model, unlike regular news outlets, which derive revenue from outside sources.

                          This cozy reciprocity remained mutually beneficial to publication and readers alike for many decades (and for some of the other magazines mentioned, it remains mutually beneficial. ).

                          But I think it's safe to say that this business model has reached critical mass. It's plain to anyone who has worked in journalism that just like other publications, niche, vertical and otherwise, COTH is struggling to find new ways to create ad revenue, at the selfsame time that readers are demanding the editorial side take a step back from the good-ole-boys mentality and deliver THE STORY.

                          Hopefully you can see the Catch-22 here. It's not really COTH's fault that the "A" Circuit has become so corrupt and devalued. The NGB, the riders, and the trainers did that.

                          At the same time though, the NGB, the riders and the trainers are STILL where COTH, TNH et al. derive most of their revenue.

                          COTH has actually been a lot more willing than most of the other publications mentioned to try to meet the readers halfway and deliver at least the bare bones of actual stories.

                          The problem is that if COTH moves toward a more investigative stance (and for the record I do agree that they should) - whence the revenue????

                          It's not really about fear of pissing off editorial sources; it's about fear of pissing off sources of advertising revenue. What once was cozy reciprocity that worked for everybody now looks more like conflict of interest.

                          These are hard times in equestrian journalism, because in the mind of the reader it does stand to reason that as the industry gets more and more unwieldy and dysfunctional by the minute, someone in a position of authority should raise a voice. And yet - whence the revenue???

                          Anyone who's been around here for a while can see that COTH, like the others, has tried many and various revenue streams, most of which have been shouted down or readers have voted with their feet and taken their pocketbooks elsewhere. Editorial meanwhile is getting shot by both sides - from advertising shows and trainers who are perhaps not so happy about certain stories, and from readers demanding MORE of the same.

                          The present system is doomed to fail. I sort of feel like there IS a solution out there, somewhere, and it may be worth exploring whether there are enough reputable owners, riders and trainers who would back with advertising dollars any equestrian publication which dared to go all-investigative. But unless those people have the same amount of advertising dollars as the BNTs and corporate horse shows, that might be another experiment equally doomed to fail.

                          Suggestions on a postcard!
                          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by leyla25 View Post
                            Best and most accurate post. Stop your subscriptions to Chronicle since is basically pages and pages of advertising. No stories.
                            Get off the message board that other's subscriptions pay for if you feel that strongly.

                            I think its ridiculous to expect COTH to be an equine Woodward and Berstein. That has never been its niche. We would have zero sources of national level equestrian sport news without it, unless you prefer internet gossip.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Well said War Admiral.
                              It's always about ad revenue, which supports operations. I worked at a newspaper which was considered to have a lot of integrity back then and it still pulled a column by a beloved columnist because the editor worried it offended car dealers, one of the biggest sources of advertising revenue. The columnist resigned in protest, and the editor stupidly let him.

                              The Chronicle is in a difficult situation. Yes, I wish they would be more hard hitting and aggressive in their coverage because sad to say, the hunter jumper world is rife with juicy stories that would make any journalist salivate.

                              But it is a speciality magazine, funded by advertisements of the industry it would be reporting on. I didnt know about the magazine's history, so I have to commend them for moving so far from its original mission. But yes, again, I would like to see them get more aggressive and I have told my editor there that. However, I dont have to come up with the money have to pay their salaries or any other of their bills.

                              And while journalism is being discussed, this statement could not be any more further from the truth:

                              "If you are on a beat, you do have to be careful with your better sources. Cover them fairly and you will continue to get information--and by "fairly," I don't mean gratuitously praising their every move, I mean being accurate and objective. "

                              Being accurate and objective is the only way you treat EVERY source, EVERY person you EVER interview. There is no tiered approach to fairness and accuracy in journalism. Anything less is not journalism.
                              JJ

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                The solution may lie in "citizen" journalists.

                                Certainly the USHJA membership deserves a better explanation than which has been offered by Shelby, that she suddenly decided she isn't a 'good fit' with USHJA after nearly 3 years, would rather work with Girl Scouts, and paint. Give me a break.

                                Note that NO announcement or explanation was made by USHJA as a whole or by Billy Moroney as President to the membership, and that the notice from BM to a select few USHJA committee heads only began to circulate not till nearly three weeks after SF's 'effective' resignation.

                                Give me another break if COTH expects me to believe that they just "happened" to note that Shelby had disappeared off the face of the earth--I will bet the house that someone at COTH saw that notice.

                                The whole thing smacks of an unattended package left at an airport, only no one wants to call in the bomb squad, preferring to let it sit there, and expecting that people will simply step around it.

                                The whole situation REEKS.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Not a "beat reporter" as someone said earlier, but rather an editorial director. The clinical journal I work with is, like the rest of our competitors, a controlled circulation journal, which means that the print subscription is free to qualified subscribers (those in practice, academia, & 3rd/4th-year students). Therefore, ALL our revenue is advertising based.

                                  HOWEVER, we never allow advertising to dictate our editorial. And we're not talking about trainers/riders putting in vanity ads or show managers advertising their competition dates--we're talking about BIG pharma. Plus, this is in veterinary medicine, so the amount of oversight that regulates these companies influence is not as stringent as it is in human medicine.

                                  In fact, we actively pursue current events and controversial topics in medicine through certain columns to educate our readers and keep them abreast of what is happening in veterinary medicine. We--the editorial and sales team and our publisher--sit down and discuss these "hot" topics and how to handle them in an appropriate manner.

                                  We are in business for our READERS, not our advertisers. Our advertisers place ads in our journal because we have a dedicated base of readers (larger subscription base than what the Chronicle has) that subscribe to our journal so that they can receive the quality information we publish.

                                  And the bottom line is--it all comes down to ETHICS. With medicine, the information we publish affects the lives of those our subscribers treat. It is our ethical duty to be completely nonbias and uninfluenced by advertising when it comes down to what we publish.

                                  Many of you could argue that this is apples and oranges--how can you compare a medical journal with a horse magazine that caters to the "affluent" horse hobbyists and those that make a living from them?

                                  However, when I see that our industry is being compromised due to a lack of ethics, to the point where horses are DYING, that argument doesn't hold water for me. A true journalist--no matter who you work for or what your position--maintains his or her own moral compass and ethical guidelines when it comes to doing the job.

                                  I only speak for myself when I say, if I was in equine journalism, I would be fighting tooth and nail to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves--the HORSES.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Not a good sign, is it. Not like USHJA is busy "saving lives" - other than its own life!
                                    Don't blame her a bit. B.M. sounds like a real AH.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      MEMORANDUM
                                      To: USHJA Committee and Task Force Chairs, Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs
                                      From: Bill Moroney, USHJA President
                                      Date: February 27, 2013
                                      Re: Shelby French Resignation
                                      __________________________________________________ ____________________________
                                      Dear USHJA Committee and Task Force Chairs, Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs,


                                      I am writing to advise you that Ms. Shelby French informed me that she wished to resign from her position as CEO of USHJA effective February 9, 2013 and I agreed to accept her resignation effective this same date. We thank Shelby for her service to USHJA and wish her well in her future endeavors. Please inform your committee and task force members as needed in the course of conducting business.


                                      A search committee will be formed in the near future to begin the process of determining the position and job description of a future staff leader. During this interim period, before a new staff leader is selected and hired, I will be acting as both President and staff leader. Please feel free to contact me if you need any assistance or have any questions. I am in touch with staff members several times each day and will be spending a greater amount of time in the Lexington office in the coming months.


                                      As always, I am grateful to all of you for your dedication and hard work on behalf of USHJA and its members. I look forward to working with you as we continue our efforts to serve our members and the interests of our sport.

                                      Sincerely,


                                      William J. Moroney, President
                                      United States Hunter Jumper Association, Inc.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        "A search committee will be formed in the near future... [and in the meantime] I will be acting as both President and staff leader."

                                        -Bill Moroney

                                        Funny how he endorses someone else for president, ends up being president anyway, and also ends up acting as the CEO a few months later.
                                        "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                        Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                        Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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                                        • #40
                                          A memorandum issued almost 3 weeks after the CEO resigns is inexcusable. The membership deserves much better. Mr. Moroney owes the H/J community a full disclosure of the relevant events leading up to the resignation and why it was kept secret for so long.

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