We have been on the receiving end of some criticism for news choices made this week.
While we have thick enough skin to shrug off even the worst of the insults, it’s plain that some people don’t quite understand the role of the media in bringing them news — good, bad and ugly.
We don’t take great pleasure in running photos of mangled car wrecks, for example. It’s tough on reporters and photographers to deal with grieving families or raw scenes of chaos.
We also don’t enjoy sitting through court cases every day, during which the most venal aspects of humanity are on continual display. But things like that are important. They are news.
It’s not surprising that readers become upset when they read vile language in the newspaper, either in our print or online editions. The language used in a recent case, in which a drunk man threatened the sexual conquest of a police officer’s daughter, was disturbing. But there was good reason to include it in the article — it requires our civic censure, and your revulsion is part of that.
And the twisted metal of a head-on highway crash can frighten and worry readers, but such photos serve a purpose beyond merely selling newspapers. It’s easy to be lulled into complacency on the road, and it’s worth remembering that driving requires your full attention.
The fact that a victim may be identified in the media before official notification reaches family members is an unfortunate reality of modern life, where anyone with a smartphone can send out a photo that goes around the world. As a news organization, we must be mindful of that.
But it’s not all bad news. We love to write stories about the good things that go on in our community as well.
For example, our coverage of the Muslim celebration of Eid offered readers a look inside one of the most important holidays in Brandon’s growing Islamic population.
We hope it made you feel proud of Brandon’s multiculturalism, and maybe prompted a bit of soul-searching, no matter what your religious inclination.
The Evans Theatre (an under appreciated Brandon gem) has been wonderfully successful in making the expensive transition to digital projection, and we were proud to tell their story.
We carry positive stories every day about athletes, businesses, artists and everyday folks. We put our attention — and yours — on people and events that stand out, that are newsworthy.
Of course, as any parent knows, you can get attention for negative behaviour as well as for positive behaviour.
Shining a light on that negative behaviour — to shame, and hopefully correct it — is not the best part of our job. But it is part of it.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 31, 2014