I have come to the conclusion, as editor of the News and Tribune, that consensus is hard to come by. Some days, it’s as elusive as the fish that got away … you know, the big one.
Recently a reader voiced her concern over our pro-Trump cartoons. A couple days earlier, another reader took us to task for being too liberal and anti-Trump. Truth be known we’re both liberal and conservative, hard-hitting and compassionate, steady and reeling — oftentimes all in the same day.
Such is the newspaper business. From my experience — think typewriters and news spit from a ticker tape machine — it’s always been that way.
But we generate news stories differently these days, and deliver it to you in new ways — think social media, websites, e-editions and apps on your cell phone. We still print a newspaper six days a week, but the ink that comes in barrels is more pricey. So is the newsprint it covers.
The cost of doing business has resulted in downsized newsrooms. Fewer people means homogenized beats. Most one-trick pony positions — think editorial page editor — have gone by the wayside.
What hasn’t changed is our commitment to readers. Even today, against a tide of negativity that labels us “the enemy” and would have you believe we build our news around carefully crafted agendas (as if we had the time), journalists serve as watchdogs over government. Reporters work on behalf of the people, from the halls of Congress to the Utica Town Hall, and everywhere in between.
Think of the media as a tree and the News and Tribune as one of its branches. We’re one of the limbs closest to the ground, nearest the community.
We know you can’t always be at the council meeting, so we’re there. We know taxes are difficult to understand, so we explain them in terms more easily understood.
But newspapers are more than information peddlers. We provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions. We share inspirational stories about your neighbors. We lay bare our community problems and help seek their solutions. We’ve got the sports scores, the weather forecast, and the ad that details what’s on sale at Kroger.
I cringe when I'm visiting elsewhere and hear people devalue the content of their hometown newspaper, casually folding it and tossing it aside with a dismissive, “Well, that didn’t take long,” or “Nothing in there worth reading.”
Hmmm, if you don’t read it, how do you know? I don’t mean glance at headlines, look at the photos and turn the page. That’s akin to a student who fails the book test because he didn’t read the book.
Give us read. I believe you’ll find something in the newspaper worth your time.
And call me when you find mistakes in the paper; I guarantee they're in there, as we have yet to overcome our humanness. But be forewarned, callers — I’m going to test you on the content of the stories.
— When she's not testing readers' knowledge — and patience — Susan Duncan serves as editor of the News and Tribune. Reach her at email@example.com and 812-206-2130.