It’s unfair to judge a group of people as one.
One person and his actions shouldn’t determine how others like him are treated.
We’ve seen a lot of that recently across the nation and although I could give my two cents about all of it, it’s hard for me to try to walk in shoes other than the ones on my feet.
The shoes I do wear, though, are those of a journalist — which admittedly have been house slippers for about three months as I’ve worked from home throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but I digress.
Other journalists and I are often lumped into one big, bad group — “the media.”
The mainstream media has become a punching bag over the years. Local news organizations are unfortunately often grouped into that same category and get the same criticism.
“Fake news” is a term that’s been coined and used umpteen million times over the last few years. It’s become so normal people no longer trust what news organizations report. Even if it’s 100% factual and unbiased, people question it.
Just like there are bad cops, teachers, doctors and politicians, there are bad journalists. There are journalists who lack integrity, don’t care to fact check or are biased. I guarantee most of us certainly aren’t here for a real green paycheck, but there are some folks who just put in their time and go home for the day.
Then there are those who use the Oxford comma but, well, we’ll save that one for another day.
There are people who simply shouldn’t be in the field and give us good journalists a bad name. Don’t let the few bad apples stop you from trusting the good ones.
It’s important to remember the media — as a whole — isn’t out to get you. Our job isn’t to create a panic or give hype to the worst-case scenario. Our job is to inform and help you understand issues that affect you.
Good journalists don’t take their duty lightly. We serve as watchdogs for our communities by holding the powerful accountable, looking out for any corruption and fighting for access to public information when it’s not being released. We tell stories of your neighbors and delve deep into local issues. We’re at all the local meetings so you don’t have to be. We’re helping you stay informed and always telling you what’s coming up or what to look out for. We’re literally the eyes and ears of our communities.
Journalists deserve respect because attacks on them are attacks on every citizen’s basic freedoms. Our due diligence should be appreciated because everyone would sure miss it if we weren’t out there on the ground reporting everything you need to know.
Our team at The Outlook is a dedicated one. We’re not this big, bad, ugly “media” many refer to. My team has a heart of gold and we really pride ourselves in what we do here.
So, the media? Technically, yes. But we’re real people — your neighbors, fellow church members and friends. We’re residents of this community, so issues that affect you affect us too. If it matters to you, it also matters to us.
We don’t have agenda and we aren’t trying to cater to anyone. We’re out here reporting the news and we’re doing it nearly 24/7. We make mistakes sometimes because we’re human, but we truly try our best.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to work a little harder and figure out how to stay around for the long haul so we can continue being your watchdog for years to come. The Outlook has been reporting the news honestly, fairly and with integrity since 1895 and we don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
So I ask you to support us. Respect your rights to a free press and remember how important journalists are to keeping your community informed.
Without us, community issues wouldn’t be brought to light, heroes wouldn’t be spotlighted and your neighbors wouldn’t be informed.
Don’t judge the good guys and gals because of the few bad ones. We’re here to help you.
Santana Wood is managing editor of Tallapoosa Publishers’ newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org