Things sure did get interesting fast over the weekend, didn’t they?
Regular readers most likely know an article ran in Sunday’s paper that was the culmination of months’ worth of investigative work.
Responses to the article have been mixed.
Some of you loved it and some of you really didn’t.
That’s normal for journalism, as a whole.
George Orwell once said that “journalism is printing what someone else does not want published; everything else is public relations.”
And I think Orwell was right.
I love fluffy human interest stories as well as the next person. They are, in fact, what I do best and what I enjoy the most about this job. I am, as they say, a features person.
But features are not the only — or the most significant part — of what we do in the newspaper industry.
Real journalism takes time. You can’t do it alone.
I and several other people spent all day Saturday fact-checking the story that went into Sunday’s paper. I’m not exaggerating — from about 9:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., we picked every nit there was to pick. We fact checked and fact checked again.
You don’t turn a story like that around in a day. You need the support of other people to turn such a story around at all, even if they’re just making you pancakes and coffee.
But I intend to keep writing them, whenever there are questions and wherever transparency is needed.
Understand, no one is being targeted. I’m not in the business of hunting witches — I don’t believe in them.
No part of our local government is less likely than any other to go under the microscope.
No one is above scrutiny when taxpayer dollars are on the line — be they transient guest tax, sales tax or ad valorem dollars.
Transparency in government is the most important thing you can have, on the local, state or national level.
That’s what journalism is about when you get down to the bare bones of it — ensuring transparency in government and serving as a watchdog.
I understand it’s sometimes unpleasant. No one likes to read bad things about their community. But if we want to improve our community, facing down the negative things in it is the first step in bringing about positive change.
You can’t fix a hole in a wall by papering it over and if you try to fix an infection by pretending it doesn’t exist, all you’re going to do is make yourself sicker.
But the old saying “sunlight is the best disinfectant” is an old saying for a reason — because it’s true.
Sometimes you have to peel back the layers of government and shine a light in the darkness.
If we find nothing there, then that will be the story — that everything is above board and there’s nothing to worry about. And if we find something interesting, you can rest assured you’ll hear about it.
Lately, we’ve heard a lot of talk from the public about another local agency, a lot of questions.
And you can rest assured, we’re planning to look into it and answer those questions.
Readers can expect to see more of the kind of reporting you saw in the Sunday’s paper in the future, as long as we have the time and the staff on hand to do it.
But don’t worry — we know how to fact check.
It is and always will be just the facts of the matter.