In point of fact however, I care a great deal about the industry that I have been a part of now for more than 30 years. Not only do I have an abiding (and purely selfish) desire to see it survive, if not thrive as it has in the past ( for at least another 15-20 years anyway); I have a great deal of respect for many of the people that I have met and worked with over that period. Maybe that's why I find these almost constant examples of abuse of basic journalistic principles so disturbing.
- News is news, and opinion is opinion; and editors at newspapers are the gatekeepers to insure that it remains that way.
- Editorial opinion is the right of a newspaper owner and editor, but like all rights, it should be tempered by limits. Loose facts and slanted reporting are well outside of those limits.
- A newspaper (and its owner) are supposed to serve the community, not the other way around.
- A newspaper is supposed to be the watchdog of politics, not a player in it nor manipulator of it.
You might begin to wonder whether my cowardice therefore explains why I am mentioning no specifics in this case that has drawn my current ire. The reasons that I am stating for not doing so are two-fold however:
- The problem is symptomatic of the entire industry these days to some extent. Pointing out one more specific example serves no purpose except to bring a cult of personality into the conversation.
- I am an abject coward with just barely enough common sense to refuse to insult my customers too much or in particular before I attempt to do further business with them (see, I admitted it).
In an industry consumed by self-congratulation and awards handed out by the score within their peer group, perhaps newspapers should think about returning to the aspirations that they seem to hold so dear. Perhaps then, the term "journalistic integrity" would not become a the joke that it seems to be in the present, nor a term capable only of being applied in the historical sense. The truth of the matter is that there aren't many reporters left in the newspaper world (or anywhere else). You would think that those still gainfully employed as such might want to do a better job. You would think that the same could be said of their editors and owners. As for the current local situation in my most recent of hometowns, let me finish by saying this:
"Be careful about throwing stones at other kids when you live in the "Glass City". The damage done can be horrendous, and the breakage may injure more than those you desire."