Newspapers throughout the country today are publishing editorials explaining the role a free press plays in America.
How we got to this point in history, I do not know.
I do know that a reporter’s job is to question authority and to serve as a check on government.
That’s why we file Freedom of Information complaints. That’s why we’ve occasionally interrupted public meetings and asked our elected officials to justify going behind closed doors.
I also know that a reporter’s job is to act as a conduit between city hall and the people on the street.
That’s why we talk with our elected officials on “Navel Gazing: The Valley Indy Podcast.”
I know that a reporter’s job is to be accountable. That’s why we answer questions on Facebook. We’re not lurkers. We use social media like the rest of the planet, which is good and bad. We’ve tried to raise the level of discourse on Facebook, because we believe there’s nothing better than an informed citizenry.
We put our names on what we publish. That’s being accountable. We’ve even hosted podcasts featuring people who’ve accused us of being biased.
A quick thought on media bias: I’m almost afraid to go down this wormhole, but most of the people who’ve accused of bias locally are people with inherent bias, such as political party honchos.
Or they’re people who’ve passed along anonymous (often unverifiable and vicious) information that we’ve never published. Or they have an ax to grind, and they want us to grind it.
Of course they’re going to perceive us as biased.
But we’re not perfect. We make mistakes every day.
I’ve shared unverified photos on social media. I’ve bungled stories on Derby’s budget. I’ve inserted snark, cynicism and arrogance to stories out of Ansonia. Heck, we’ve yet to publish a perfect story.
But we’re not enemies of the people, and today we stand in solidarity with our colleagues across the country who play a vital role in our democracy.
After 20 years of local reporting, I’ve realized that practicing the First Amendment through community reporting is the best way I can show that I love my country.
Truth be told, this is no way to support a family, and the chances of having this job in a few years is about 100:1.
Yet this a privilege — a dream job.
God bless America.