Writog

Writog? A writer-photographer. Citizen journalist. Unless indicated otherwise all content, text and images, here at www.writog.com (C) Copyright 2006 - 2017 Luke T. Bush

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Location: Plattsburgh, New York, United States

Writog: writer-photographer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Misplaced News

Ideally news should be delivered in an article, not an editorial.

Some people skip over editorials because of their subjective slant. (And, yes, some people don’t read blogs like this one for the same reason.) Readers usually look for the news in “objective” news articles. Place a news item in the newspaper’s opinion section and it’s more likely to be overlooked.

Case in point: the editorial that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Press-Republican (Sept. 13th; page C4; online copy). It revealed some details not mentioned in a news article, “Expert: Plattsburgh needs safe, vibrant downtown” (online copy) that had appeared previously on September 3rd.

The news article talked about a public forum held at City Hall. It didn’t mention that two people in attendance, Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak, and Chamber of Commerce Director Gary Douglas, acted defensively when citizens questioned the city’s handling of chronic problems such as litter and vandalism. You had to read about this days later in the editorial, the conflict between the public officials and the people they serve.

A news article should include such dynamics. For whatever reason, the reporter didn’t mention this tension. Personality clashes are a part of politics. They should be noted, not ignored. How a public official acts in public is part of the story, whether or not those actions are good, bad or indifferent.

While true objectivity is next to impossible, trying to create for the reader a sense of what was happening during an event is an important component of news reporting. If there’s a flare-up or conflict, report it.

How many of you were made aware of how Kasprzak and Douglas acted during that forum through the editorial? Or did you find out just now through this blog post?

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