It’s no secret that the media have been scrutinized and criticized quite a bit in the past year. National media have been blamed for promoting various, sometimes competing agendas, individual journalists have been called out during White House briefings, others have been accused of pedaling false conspiracy theories. Last week, a newspaper reporter from The Guardian said he was body slammed by House of Representatives Republican candidate Greg Gianforte in Montana, who then won anyway.
Trust in all media is at an all-time low.
Part of the responsibility for this mistrust belongs with the media themselves. As an industry, we have not done a good job of explaining our mission, ethics or procedures to the public. Our attitude, traditionally, has been to let the work speak for itself.
While we still believe that our work is our best effort, we recognize the need to have more transparency and deeper conversations regarding the role we play as newsgatherers in our communities.
To that end, we are launching a new column called The Inside Story, which will address news operation issues on both a local and larger scale.
The column, to be published weekly on the Sunday Opinion and Commentary pages, will be written by Publisher Mark Blum, Managing Editor W.F. Keough and me, alternately.
Some topics we plan to cover going forward include the rise of “fake news,” the migration of audience from print to digital, and the challenges of succeeding as a business while also serving the public good.
And we’d like to invite you to join our conversation. Is there something you don’t understand about how we work or what our obligations are as journalists? Is there a topic you’d like us to explore? Perhaps you have ideas about things we could do to make the newspaper or digital platforms stronger and more engaging.
Let’s hear them. We’ll consider your comments and possibly respond in a future column.
One caveat: If you are only interested in calling us names, you are in luck. There are plenty of folks who already handle that duty, so no need to spend your time there. While we don’t mind criticism at all, we’re looking for constructive conversations. In my opinion, modern life features far too much name-calling already, and not nearly enough listening.
So why do we want to add another task to our collective to-do list?
Because understanding our readers, and having them understand us, is crucial. We take our jobs — and the responsibility that goes with them — very seriously, and we want to be part of the solution to making our communities better places to live.
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you do too. We are looking forward to talking with you.
Kris Worrell is executive editor and vice president, news. Reach her at 609-272-7277 or KWorrell@pressofac.com.