What is a newspaper? It is a responsibility. It is also a business, like any other.
I contend a paper’s job is certainly to reflect and work for the community – however the stories we are working on, are indeed our stories (and the subjects of them, of course).
They are really nobody else’s business until they hit the paper, or online, and they then become news for public consumption, fodder, and discussion.
A newspaper has to stick its neck out – I mean of course on more controversial issues – but the reporters also have to stick their necks out of the office to pick up news on their own.
Quite simply – if we are simply waiting for press releases or other media to file first – we are allowing other people to dictate the news to us. That is not a newpaper, rather a PR turnaround office.
Get out into the field. If all you are doing is waiting for the next press release to parrot, you are saying everything every other media already has verbatim.
My man Henry Jones Jr. tells his students that 70 percent of his work is done in the library and advises them to “forget any ideas you’ve got about lost cities, exotic travel and digging up the world. We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and `X’ never, ever marks the spot.”
The reverse applies for journalism. The stories - the treasures - are out there in the community, waiting to be found, not dinging with the next email sliding into the inbox.
I believe it is any and every media’s obligation to the public to report on issues. Certainly this does not always win friends and influence people, but politician is not our title. It goes the same for simply publishing matters that others plain old didn’t know about.
It goes that way. I can’t speak to what most other businesses are doing this week internally anymore than they can talk about what we are doing here at the Mirror this week.
And in the same exact breath – we do not expect everyone to agree with what we have to say. Or our letters section. Or our columnists.
This is how new ideas are formed and created. Discussion of different viewpoints. Independent thought.
As an editor with far more experience than I once said - when everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much at all.
Until next time,
managing editor Rob Brown