|Local Blogger Complies With Court Order to Remove Nilan Content|
|By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent|
02:17PM / Thursday, June 28, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Stockbridge resident and blogger on local affairs Daniel Valenti has complied with a judge's order to remove all blog posts making reference to Meridith Nilan, who was spared penalty earlier this month in a
hit-and-run motor vehicle incident that nearly took the life of Pittsfield resident Peter Moore.
In total, Valenti says he removed about 76 posts from his blog PlanetValenti.com.
"We have removed all posts that reference the Plaintiff, her father, and references to the victim of the Dec. 8, 2011 incident," said Valenti on his blog. "We went beyond what the court asked to demonstrate our good faith in dealing with the order."
Valenti says he received the one-page court order Wednesday night, and while the blogger, who has written in the past for The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield Gazette and other publications, says there are First Amendment issues with the court's decision, he will abide by it.
On Wednesday, Valenti told iBerkshires via email that he had yet to see the judge's decision and he would have to see that before determining his next course of action.
"I found out about it while reading the comments on my blog, ironically," Valenti said. "I've never had any contact with Ms. Nilan nor do I intend that. I will also add that this case brings up an interesting First Amendment discussion."
The Nilan/Moore motor vehicle incident had comprised the top or primary story on the blog for several months earlier this year, and has been a continued point of interest for its group of regular commenters. According to statistics obtained from various site traffic tracking services, searches for information about Meredith Nilan have accounted for just over 8 percent of the blog's total traffic in recent months.
PlanetValenti.com was launched in September 2010, and has several times become a center of controversy and accusations of inaccurate reporting. The self-proclaimed "Voice of the Little Guy" has also broken several local stories. The domain PlanetValenti.com is registered as owned by Troy Book Makers, of Troy, N.Y., with Susan Novotny listed as the contact person. Novotny is co-owner of Troy Book Makers and owner of The Stuyvesant Plaza Book House in Albany, N.Y.
Valenti has frequently maintained the site attracts many thousands of readers, though he has several times declined requests to provide statistics backing this claim. In December 2011, Valenti claimed the site was ranked 2,397,097 of all world websites, according to Alexa.com traffic rankings. As of today, however, Alexa lists the site as ranked 3,741,979. Other site-traffic measurement services also rate it as being in the high 3 millions (the lower the ranking, the higher the traffic), depending on how recent their gathered data.
More detailed statistical estimates obtained from another online traffic index, SpySiteTraffic.com, indicate that the site receives an average of 15 readers per day, with a monthly average of about 451 readers, but they do tend stay longer than average, at about 8 minutes on the site. As compared to other online sites devoted to local news, PV.com appears to garner just a little under a 10th the readers of iBerkshires, or about 3 percent that of BerkshireEagle.com.
Editor's note: The hit-and-run charge was dismissed. We have corrected the description based on the court ruling.