The media is all about being fair, objective and unbiased. That’s the only way it can work.
Take police reports for example. When the newspaper receives a police report we try to print it. To be fair we can’t be selective. If the sheriff’s department or police force sends us a report, or if we request one, we are obligated to print it regardless of who the involved parties are.
Another example is the county commission. We don’t cover stories for one side or the other. To do our job properly, we must report both sides. Because, simply put, we have readers on both sides of most issues. People may take exception if our story doesn’t express their own opinion strongly enough but most appreciate when we present the facts correctly.
Which brings us to schools. Our school news is mostly submitted by the various schools in the district. We encourage school news because parents are interested and students like to see their names in the newspaper. We also cover many functions that occur throughout the school year. Again, we report what we see and hear and not necessarily what people want to read. We want to be fair and supportive of our school system, which is constantly striving to improve students’ scores, but we’ll also present problems and irregularies when necessary.
In sports, which typically are non-controversial, our aim is to recognize athletes and their efforts. To do this we print season previews, like next week’s pull-out section, all-county teams, and weekly sports stories. We profit from some coverage, again like next week’s pull-out section, but most times our main sports page is advertising-free and there for the benefit of our readers, schools and athletes.
Our opinion is that there’s always bad news and there’s always good news — two sides to every story. If the school board or county commission is making you mad then they are probably making others happy. And if there’s a suspect, there’s a victim. And if there’s a failing school there’s an “A” school.
To be a viable newspaper we have to report it that way. Both sides.