EDITORIAL: Don’t shoot the messenger, Squamish | Squamish Chief

EDITORIAL: Don’t shoot the messenger, Squamish

It’s fairly common in the news business to have feedback lean to the negative side.

Under stories people don’t fancy, we may see comments such as: “Slow news day?”; “Oh, you’re just trying to generate clicks.” or,  “This isn’t news.”

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It can be a bit frustrating, since a lot of these comments aren’t specific to a particular story, but rather, cut at the heart and at the existence of what we do.

There’s some kernel of truth to any of these criticisms: like in any industry, some days have a lot going on and on others, there’s decidedly less (though those are rare in this town); our business model is based on securing readers; and, well, someone’s intriguing news is another’s story to skip over.

A significant part of our job is using our expertise and best judgement to determine not only which stories are news worthy, but also to place that story in the proper community context.

Admittedly, while we strive for perfection, some stories will be superior to others.

We are always open to constructive feedback on how we can cover Squamish better.

That said, there’s a major difference between suggesting a story idea or an angle to follow up on, a source to talk with, or how to provide greater context for an issue versus slamming us for the sake of it.

2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone and is a time of great upheaval across the board, whether it is medically, economically or socially. Our job is to follow, document and communicate not only what is happening now, but also, to the best of our abilities, talk to experts and express how each one of us can adapt to the new situations that arise.

 We don’t want to amplify any yahoo speaking nonsense without anything to back up their claims just to stoke controversy or just to fill space, as some readers suggest.

Sometimes there are situations where fringe voices create an impact on the community that can’t be ignored, however. The purpose in writing about them isn’t to boost or promote those ideologies, but to shine a light on them.

Ultimately, our responsibility is to put forward as much truthful and factual information as possible so that each  reader can form a knowledgeable opinion on the issue in question.

While admittedly combative for a community newspaper, the Aspen Daily News motto sums things up nicely: “If you don’t want it printed, don’t let it happen.” If you’re displeased with what’s happening, calmly talk to those who can affect change instead of shooting the messenger.

We don’t create or manufacture the news — we just respond to what’s happening and interpret and attempt to convey that in the clearest possible way.”

That’s the best we can do.

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