News

Missing Berkeley cyclist seen in Roseville

Mike Martin of Berkeley, whose disappearance on Saturday provoked concern in the community

Anthony Michael Martin, the Berkeley cyclist who was reported missing on Saturday, has been seen in Roseville, as recently as yesterday.

The Berkeley Police Department confirmed that there was a sighting of Martin with his bicycle in Roseville from a credible source on July 5. A hotel clerk in Roseville was sent a photo which he identified was Martin. He confirmed Martin was staying in the area.

A BPD press release states: “Mr. Martin did not appear to be in distress and as a adult, he is legally allowed to make the choices he has made. Some of the details of this confirmation and methods of locating him are ones that we would prefer not to share as they may compromise efforts in other/future investigations. In addition, since this is no longer a primary police matter, but a private matter, we feel that it is not appropriate to expose to the public.”

Martin, 29, was reported missing after he said he was going on a bike ride on Saturday in the Berkeley-Oakland hills, which started on Tunnel Road. When he did not return home that evening — he had plans to have dinner with his girlfriend Amaya James at 8:00 pm — his friends and family reached out to the media for help in raising the alarm, as well as filing a missing person report with the police.

James, 29, also of Berkeley, appeared on television to talk about Martin and the search that was underway for him.

The case provoked much interest in the the community. A Berkeleyside reader, Local Cyclist, wrote in our Comments section about a search party he organized in the area around Tunnel Road on Tuesday, where Martin’s cellphone had been found by an unrelated cyclist on Saturday.

Concern centered on the fact that Martin had been on a diet which involved fasting. It was feared he might have become weak or been physically impaired.

Reports in the media also suggested that Martin, who had worked at the nanofabrication laboratory at UC Berkeley and was an active member of the University Lutheran Chapel, might have been unhappy. He was said to be thinking of leaving his job and leaving California.

The BPD said this is no longer a police or criminal matter. “Mr. Martin has voluntarily left for whatever private, personal reasons only he can speak to. This is a private, personal, family matter now.”

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  • Berkeleyborn

    Glad he’s ok-hopefully he resolves whatever issues drove him to do this…as a parent, I know this would be very upsetting….

  • witort

    Somebody feed that guy a sandwich!

  • B7

    Sounds like someone got caught trying to run away from home.

  • Anonymous

    Finally I can go to bed at night knowing another white guy is safe.

  • C.S.

    With regards to the outcome:

    First – I’m glad he’s O.K., that’s what’s important.

    Second – The clues were all there.

    And finally – It is a private matter now (unless a false report was filed), and the public has no interest in what happened, except from tabloid perspective.

    From that perspective I’m going to guess that the following is close to the truth:

    1) Not ever a professional cyclist. 
    An exaggeration that shines some light on the relationship. Reality is fungible for one or both.

    2) The ‘prom date’ photo.
    It says a lot about her needs in this relationship… she was never on a bike with him, so she didn’t provide a bike photo. The police either didn’t look for a bike photo when they were in his apartment (a mistake), or they couldn’t find one because his cycling history is not as deep as reported.

    3) That there was never any confirmation by the police with regards to the person who found the phone.
    The police are not usually inclined to treat a missing persons report seriously when the story is simply ‘My date didn’t show, and it’s been a couple of hours’. Add to it a tale of crash dieting and it might start to sound serious. I’m guessing she had the phone all along.

    Whatever the case is, I hope that they get beyond the current trouble and grow into a more healthy relationship; together or apart. It’s sad to have personal issues complicated by public drama, and it makes them that much harder to resolve.

    With regards to the reporting:

    Berkeleyside has been in the habit of taking material from other sources – the police, other news gathering organizations or news outlets – and weaving in a few original lines of text that make the story appear to be based entirely on the work of Berkeleyside.  In this story the reporter says in the comments that she can only report what the police provide, but she does not present the story that way. Some parts of the report are clearly attributed to police sources, and others are not. A better way to do this is to give a brief synopsis and link to the source, or to quote the source entirely in it’s original form with a border around the quoted text. Any additional text should be clearly separated and attributed as speculation, opinion, or sourced elsewhere.

    I followed this story from the first moments that it appeared online. I have an alert set for cycling news stories.
    The news played out like a game of telephone. Each subsequent news-source choosing to be less than transparent, adding some new bit of text which was a personal reinterpretation of the source material or pure speculation. I find that disturbing and counterproductive.

    Also, Tracey says that Berkeleyside does not have the resources to do fact checking or add investigative material to the report (I’m paraphrasing). But when I check the ‘about’ link on Berkeleyside, it says that Berkeleyside reports news, gathered by veteran juornalists engaged in investigative jounalism (again; paraphrasing). I have to take issue with that, and ask does Berkeleyside want to be an online magazine with a Berkeley slant, or a bonified news outlet? 
     I could, over the course of a few hours, set up a website that links material from outside sources. I’m not saying that my aesthetic would have a better or worse chance than Berkeleyside, but after getting online, there would be no difference between us – except if Berkeleyside chooses to invest in solid journalism. Solid journalism means that when you print a story that has a purpose other than entertainment or frivolity, that you verify all of your reporting, that you don’t make a personal choice with regards to which information is worth getting right and which information is trivial. If information is presented in a serious piece, then it all must be verified and factual. Leave it up to the reader to apply a filter to the piece, because you never know which small detail is going to be important to a particular reader.

    If Berkeleyside chooses to follow the popular trend of trying to monetize an online magazine disguised as a jounalistic outfit, then it will be just one of millions of similar ventures, the only difference being the narrow focus on a Berkeley audience.

    I hope that Berkeleyside steps up, because there are a lot of reasons to like Berkeleyside, but at the moment, for my money, investigative jounalism is not one of them.

    A bit of a rant, to be sure…  I hope you don’t mind ;)

  • C.S.

    With regards to the outcome:

    First – I’m glad he’s O.K., that’s what’s important.

    Second – The clues were all there.

    And finally – It is a private matter now (unless a false report was filed), and the public has no interest in what happened, except from tabloid perspective.

    From that perspective I’m going to guess that the following is close to the truth:

    1) Not ever a professional cyclist. 
    An exaggeration that shines some light on the relationship. Reality is fungible for one or both.

    2) The ‘prom date’ photo.
    It says a lot about her needs in this relationship… she was never on a bike with him, so she didn’t provide a bike photo. The police either didn’t look for a bike photo when they were in his apartment (a mistake), or they couldn’t find one because his cycling history is not as deep as reported.

    3) That there was never any confirmation by the police with regards to the person who found the phone.
    The police are not usually inclined to treat a missing persons report seriously when the story is simply ‘My date didn’t show, and it’s been a couple of hours’. Add to it a tale of crash dieting and it might start to sound serious. I’m guessing she had the phone all along.

    Whatever the case is, I hope that they get beyond the current trouble and grow into a more healthy relationship; together or apart. It’s sad to have personal issues complicated by public drama, and it makes them that much harder to resolve.

    With regards to the reporting:

    Berkeleyside has been in the habit of taking material from other sources – the police, other news gathering organizations or news outlets – and weaving in a few original lines of text that make the story appear to be based entirely on the work of Berkeleyside.  In this story the reporter says in the comments that she can only report what the police provide, but she does not present the story that way. Some parts of the report are clearly attributed to police sources, and others are not. A better way to do this is to give a brief synopsis and link to the source, or to quote the source entirely in it’s original form with a border around the quoted text. Any additional text should be clearly separated and attributed as speculation, opinion, or sourced elsewhere.

    I followed this story from the first moments that it appeared online. I have an alert set for cycling news stories.
    The news played out like a game of telephone. Each subsequent news-source choosing to be less than transparent, adding some new bit of text which was a personal reinterpretation of the source material or pure speculation. I find that disturbing and counterproductive.

    Also, Tracey says that Berkeleyside does not have the resources to do fact checking or add investigative material to the report (I’m paraphrasing). But when I check the ‘about’ link on Berkeleyside, it says that Berkeleyside reports news, gathered by veteran juornalists engaged in investigative jounalism (again; paraphrasing). I have to take issue with that, and ask does Berkeleyside want to be an online magazine with a Berkeley slant, or a bonified news outlet? 
     I could, over the course of a few hours, set up a website that links material from outside sources. I’m not saying that my aesthetic would have a better or worse chance than Berkeleyside, but after getting online, there would be no difference between us – except if Berkeleyside chooses to invest in solid journalism. Solid journalism means that when you print a story that has a purpose other than entertainment or frivolity, that you verify all of your reporting, that you don’t make a personal choice with regards to which information is worth getting right and which information is trivial. If information is presented in a serious piece, then it all must be verified and factual. Leave it up to the reader to apply a filter to the piece, because you never know which small detail is going to be important to a particular reader.

    If Berkeleyside chooses to follow the popular trend of trying to monetize an online magazine disguised as a jounalistic outfit, then it will be just one of millions of similar ventures, the only difference being the narrow focus on a Berkeley audience.

    I hope that Berkeleyside steps up, because there are a lot of reasons to like Berkeleyside, but at the moment, for my money, investigative jounalism is not one of them.

    A bit of a rant, to be sure…  I hope you don’t mind ;)

  • http://www.davosnewbies.com lknobel

    You raise a lot of issues, CS, with a definite spin of your own. 

    Is every story on Berkeleyside a meticulously reported work of investigation and journalism? No. We believe in the value of intelligent aggregation, and are liberal in our links and our quoting of other sources. That’s not something we hide. 

    Does that mean that Berkeleyside isn’t a proper place for journalism? I’d argue not in the least. I can point to hundreds of Berkeleyside stories that would meet any standard for reporting. In that I’d include our coverage of the gun issues at Berkeley High, of South Berkeley crime, of the proposed community school, of the mountain lion shooting, and on and on. Maybe none of those met your standards. We can’t please everyone. 

    Is there more we want to do in terms of investigative work? Of course. We’re very ambitious for Berkeleyside. 

    Incidentally, if you think you can duplicate Berkeleyside in a few hours work (not the look and feel — the content), good luck to you. 

  • Pcnotpc

    I hope the Roseville hotel clerk is accurate and not mistaken. For example, the Berkeley pastor John Direen (see Berkeleyside photo/article at top) looks similar Anthony Michael Martin.

  • http://francesdinkelspiel.com/ Frances Dinkelspiel

    I am on vacation this week and was not involved with the cycling story but I think you are confused about Berleleyside.

    Most of the time – the vast majority in fact- we report and write our own stories.

    On occasion, when there is a breaking police story we call the police or fire to get info. If we can’t get an answer immediately, we might write a story quoting and linking to other news sources. That is a common technique online. The Bay Citizen and others do it as well. In those cases we are upfront about where we got the info.

    I am surprised that you make a judgement about Berkeleyside’s reporting based on one story. That is too small a sample. You must look at our almost two-year history and the hundred of stories we have reported and written to get a true portrait of our work.

    We do this on a shoestring budget too.

    In many ways it is a complement that people expect so much of Berkeleyside.

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    CS: I did not say that Berkeleyside does not have the resources to do fact checking or add investigative material to reports. 

    As my colleagues have pointed out, we do a great deal of investigative reporting. We verify all of our reporting and strive for factual accuracy. Please don’t paraphrase if you are going to get your facts wrong.

  • GPO

    Agree 100% about the reportage.  Which brings to mind that the main interest of  Berkeleyside remains the comments  generated by those who follow it and choose to comment at length.  Yes, these debates sometimes degenerate into pointless and repetitive pontification or into name calling and personal invective or simply goes way off topic, but the reader comments are the MAIN point of interest nonetheless
     
    Given that Berkeleyside’s original journalistic content remains rather thin at this early point in its development, most of the articles (with a few exceptions) basically provide a platform for the community of readers to get involved and share their comments, thoughts and analysis.
     
    This sort of “two way stream” which you might term “interactive journalism” stands in contrast to the old model of news outlets (epitomized locally by the BDP) which seek to project a message without any realtime feeback which is not heavily filtered.  It’s like the old days when your “crazy uncle” would scream back at the television news.  No one at the networks or anywhere outside of earshot heard any of this or cared one whit about it.  Now the consumers of news provide a good deal of the interesting comments and analysis.
     
    For this and many other reasons, Berkeleyside’s future relevance depends heavily upon how it manages and PROMOTES (rather than discourages) reader comments and feedback.  There’s nothing wrong with reasonable moderation, enforcing rules or expecting some basic civility, but the “edgier” the discussion, the more heated the back and forth debates, the more interesting this site is to keep abreast of.  Apart from this, Berkeleyside and other comparable local news patches are worth maybe one or two quick glances per day (at best).
     
    This can’t be an easy pill for Berkeleyside creators to swallow.  I know if I started a comparable website, I would like to imagine that my reportage was far more valuable content than the “rantings” of various mostly anonymous “trolls”, but that is the Brave New World of journalism today and those who embrace this model will prosper while the rest will be consigned to irrelevance.

  • Berkeleyborn

    I have to agree with Lance on this one. Right now, Berkeleyside is the best source of local news that is quickly accessible and has the ability to comment. I think from what I’ve seen, B-side has been fair in the comments (including mine) it keeps and those it scrubs. I do think there is probably room for a larger public (live) forum outside of B-side on many issues that get commentors most heated on this board (business climate, Telegraph Ave, South Berkeley, crime, etc), and I don’t think its the current city council meetings. Berkeleyside has given voice to comments/commentors that would often may not get heard due to the stifiling political correctness required to speak publically about anything controversial in Berkeley. Whether or not posting here makes a difference, who knows, but at least it is an outlet for thought and discussion that may be contrary to Berkeleys main stream thinking…

  • http://www.davosnewbies.com lknobel

    Bitter pill to swallow. AaggaGGhGhghGhGhghhhh. 

    (Imagine Homer Simpson.)

  • B7

    Every bit of information in the first story can be sourced back to either BPD or statements from Martin’s girlfriend. So when you say “some parts of the report are clearly attributed to police sources, and others are not,” I’m not sure what your issue is. Are you upset that more than one source was cited or because there’s no blue box filled with a statement from BPD?

    The title of the original article was a call to community action. It was an effort made by the writer to find someone who went missing. Many people suggested good questions to ask, good places to search and one person even organized a search party.

    Your first effort was to mention that you are a pro cyclist and have never seen this person before, and therefore he can’t be a pro cyclist.

    Alternatively, your follow-up comment (referencing Batman and Superman) was a great suggestion. It frames the cyclist’s perspective quite nicely. You, as a cyclist, see cyclists in their full garb more often than you see his or her face. You should forgive writers (and I’d wager most readers) if they do not think like you. After all, the original purpose of the piece was to find a missing person.

    I’d pose an ethical questions to you:

    If a single photo is provided to the media to search for a missing person, is it best to post the photo (and police statement) immediately (hoping some member of the community has seen the missing person) or is it best to question the legitimacy of the information provided, insisting that a photo of him in full cycling garb would be better because other cyclists–a comparably smaller community–may have seen him?

    These kinds of decisions are made every day by human editors, and they are never, ever taken lightly.

    You know every author at Berkeleyside. They are not faceless entities, recycling information to “monetize” something as serious as a missing person, recent crime or emergency. The author published the story as part of a consorted media effort to help find someone from Berkeley.

    Things ended well for the subject of this story in that no one was hurt or killed, but in many instances when someone goes missing, and nothing is found out within the first 48 hours, the case “goes cold.”

    I would argue that it’s better to act quickly to find a missing person than it is to question their professional athletic ability or their relationship with their partner. Those types of inquiries are more closely related to the “tabloid” style of journalism you are so quick to despise.

  • Berkeleyborn

    and I am liking seeing the editors get involved in the comments-makes things more interesting and allows them to defend/clarify when comments are inaccurate…

  • Bruce Love

    Be wary of social media “experts” and “consultants” who anonymously break windows and then present themselves as glaziers.

  • Barbara Y

    C.S. and GPO, you are way hard on Berkeleyside. This is a free local news source run by seasoned journalists who care about our community and invite our input. I value the news, the reporting, the monitoring of comments to keep discussions civil, the wide array of topics covered, the clean design, and easy access to local news that Berkeleyside staff provide. I value the staff’s willingness to field and respond to critical feedback. I find the organization to be transparent and the staff to be receptive and self-reflective. In addition to being professional journalists, they are our neighbors, and they deserve respect and appreciation for the service they offer.

    You guys have other sources for local news. If this news source doesn’t completely meet your needs, you can choose to get your news from a variety of sources. You can choose to appreciate Berkeleyside for the news it does provide.

    C.S., maybe your rant has more to do with your personal investment in the plight of this poor fellow who went missing than it does with Berkeleyside’s reporting of the case? You say there are a lot of reasons to like Berkeleyside. Focus on that. It’s a really vauable source of local news.

  • GPO

    Indeed.  Well put.  A news site enhanced by the comments of a Bruce Love debating with his alter ego Thomas Lord would massively ramp up readership and interest for Berkeleyside.  As long as we purge one side of the debate, the Bruce Lords of Berkeley are content to drone on with their endless, dispassionate, “fact-based” monologues and put the rest of us to sleep.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe it’s partly an issue of attribution. In the original story, Martin was described as “formerly a professional cyclist.” But who described him that way? The police, himself, his girlfriend? Maybe he was once a pro, or maybe he lied about being a pro, or maybe he used to be a dedicated amateur racer and his girlfriend mistakenly thought that any guy who used to dress up, in the inimitable words of Jon Carroll, as a “European candy bar” was a professional cyclist. Whatever, but it appears CS attributed some significance to the description. Raised my eyebrow, too.

    Anyway, thanks for the coverage Tracey. And here’s hoping things work out for the best for Martin, his friends, and his family.

  • Sue T

    Geez, this is quite a rant, but then you admitted that.  What I don’t really understand is since you seem very critical of Berkeleyside, and beyond “constructive criticism” I would say, then why do you spend so much time here picking apart what they do?  I personally think you should find another source, one that you don’t need to rant about.  I appreciate Berkeleyside for what they do so I can keep in touch with Berkeley stuff.  Maybe that’s too simple-minded, but I enjoy it although I usually get bummed out when I continue to the comments section and read rants like yours.

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    CS: I did not say that Berkeleyside does not have the resources to do fact checking or add investigative material to reports. As my colleagues have pointed out, we do a great deal of investigative reporting. We verify all of our reporting and strive for factual accuracy. Please don’t paraphrase if you are going to get your facts wrong.

  • Frank Nachtman

    C.S. – You’ve hit the nail on the head – shoddy journalism followed by non-professional responses in the comments. Two big reasons why I only check in here very occasionally.

  • shorty

    To ‘C.S.’…if you are ‘glad he’s ok’, which IS ‘important’, then quite wasting your time speculating with your armchair psychology.
    Give him/them the respect of privacy.  You sound like a f***ing tabloid.  Or Oprah!

  • http://twitter.com/suebasko Sue Basko

    I think the police should check to be sure that the man in Roseville is actually the bicyclist.  The first interview I saw, Sgt. Kusmiss said the police were not going to look for him because it was 12 square miles he could be in.  I think if it was her husband or son, she would want the police to look and also to check if it is really him in Roseville.  He sounds really mixed up, riding around on an epic bike ride on an empty stomach.  

  • Berkeley5960

    “Second – The clues were all there.”

    Yes, and so you have to wonder that, when the Berkeley police did a preliminary investigation, officers very likely suspected that a number of “facts” about this case just did not add up; hence, it decided not to devote many resources to finding this guy as one would think the police normally would. 

  • http://caviarcommunism.us West Bezerkeley

    There is only one response I could offer to that comment (as a consultant myself), but I it comes from the New Yorker, not me…

    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/issuecartoons/2011/07/04/cartoons_20110627#slide=9

  • Anonymous

    The strength of Berkeleyside’s news coverage lies in the direct quotes supplied by our council, school board, special interest advocates etc.. These are usually so obliviously self-indicting there isn’t need for further investigation. It also indicates indicates a lack of natural predators.

  • Anonymous

    There are always many sides in Berkeley.

    I’m thankful to be able to read the BerkeleySide side at http://www.berkeleyside.com

    From what I’ve seen, I think the founders’ intentions are in the right place.   

    I’ve discovered many more interesting things about Berkeley in the past few years from Berkeleyside than any other local print or online source over the past few decades.

    Do they miss the mark from time to time? Sure … it’s a work in progress.  

    Don’t like what they do?  Have suggestions to improve it?  Post your ideas and comments in a civil manner and I’d be happy to read them too. As I write this there are at least 3 banner ads changing content about every 3-4 seconds … very distracting … perhaps the tech support department can change the frequency to every 6-8 seconds.

    Ira … who is a BerkeleySide supporter who does pay to be a monthly subscriber.

  • Anonymous

    Berkeleyside is what we’ve longed for, our first free journalism. The coverage and comments are an liberating part of our “Berkeley Spring”.  

    @ CS

    “…If Berkeleyside chooses to follow the popular trend of trying to monetize an online magazine disguised as a jounalistic [sic] outfit, then it will be just one of millions of similar ventures, the only difference being the narrow focus on a Berkeley audience. …”

    Not to mention the duplication of effort locally. Particularly that “trying to monetize” part.

    “…I could, over the course of a few hours, set up a website that links material from outside sources…”

    Why spend the effort when you could just buy a local newspaper and run it to the ground?

  • guest

    Whoa there, what makes you think you are the authority on what everyone reads?  Comments are the main point of interest FOR YOU, but you are not everybody.

  • SFAnnie

    If I was his girlfriend Amaya I’d be pissed.  No one deserves to worry unnecessarily.  If you have issues, tell someone you need to get away.  Hiding from everyone is just stupid.

  • UCTheatre- Rip

    I love how  Berkeleyside is  turning into a ” Big  Sister”. A man  can’t even run away from his life for a few days without people reporting on it.

  • Anonymous

    A “man”?

  • Voxhumana

    What about the lost phone? Creepy.

  • Sightemin

    Typical f..ked up Bay Area nut case

  • mw

    As a native berkeleyan, I think the tone and detail that bside publishes is spot on perfect.  Keeps me up the the minute on local ongoings, and if I want more info I can drill down. Nowhere else can I keep my finger on the berkeley pulse – thanks lance et al!
    In this case, just after I read this I had to drive thru tilden, so I kept my eyes open for anything of interest.  OK, so in the end not needed, but no harm.  What a great way to alert the community so we can all look out for each other!

  • UCTheatre-Rip

    Yes, ” A Man”. As in the guy the damn article is about.