I work for you as the editor of this community newspaper, but I don’t necessarily answer to you.
This is an important differentiation to make. I’m here for this community, and I want to get your news in the paper. It’s something I’m passionate about. I want to share your stories, the stories that people don’t typically hear.
I stress over the details in each newspaper article, and I put a lot of work into each page. I have a dedicated staff that puts in a lot of work to put this paper together.
But, lately, there’s been issues where we’ve had people asking to see articles before they print, which is a big no-no. I get it. Some people are “experts,” and they want to make sure the information is correct — think doctors, medical professionals.
But, those aren’t the cases I’m referring to. Now, these are typically isolated. Some people are just picky, and some people don’t know that this is an issue.
However, lately there’s just everyday people in random instances that are asking to see a story so they can “make sure we got it right.” C’mon now. I’m not going to do that. You know I’m not going to do that.
We have to operate under this mutual agreement that I have your best interest and the community’s best interest at heart. I know you don’t know me that well, but you know my face and you know my writing. But, I went to school for this. This is my livelihood, and I care about the message my paper presents, and so does my staff.
I need you to trust that, and let me tell you why.
At the T-J, accuracy still matters. In many community papers across the U.S., this is what we’re screaming from the rooftops.
Lately, the mainstream media has been under intense scrutiny. We live in a world where people hear things they don’t agree with, and then immediately cry, “Fake News.” But, a community paper cannot print fake news.
We have to get it right because our credibility is everything. It’s the only way we can survive, and it’s the only way you’ll continue to have this paper and industry.
I talk to my writers about it all the time. I want to make sure everything is explained and cited in full. I read stories three times each before they go to print, and I make them as clear as I can.
This community needs a paper to hold them accountable, and we can’t do that if we can’t trust each other.
Know that, if I have any concerns about a story and whether or not it should run, then I will bring it to my publisher, and we’ll make the right decision.
I want you to trust your hometown paper. We’re here for you, and we will be here for you long after I’m gone. You can trust me on that.
Bradley Roberts is managing editor of the Times-Journal.