Publisher’s Letter: What Happened to Accountability?


Back in the 1940’s when TV burst on the scene, people predicted that movie theaters would all go out of business. Unfortunately, some of them did. People were so intrigued by this little screen (still black and white in those early days). Back then, most often, just one or two families on a block would own a TV so their friends and neighbors would crowd into their living room to watch poor resolution images, far below the quality of what was available on the big screen in their local theater — ah, but this was new and people were absolutely fascinated by it.

Perhaps you can guess where I’m going with this: There are parallels to what’s going on today with the proliferation of online reporting (factual or not). Some people think print journalism is no longer needed — but is that really true?

Much like TV and large screen movies, both online and print journalism can exist going forward as in many cases, they are two vastly different products.

While it’s true that reputable major newspapers have their online versions there are so many online products available that are in no way accurate reporting; they’re more like vehicles of entertainment.

But the serious issue about online reporting is that it can be manipulated in seconds so there is no holding the writer accountable for what’s presented — it’s a constantly moving target.

Further to that is the trend of Wall Street hedge funds buying up local newspapers, draining their resources and firing their most qualified and experienced staff. So what’s left? Anything they choose to print! Accountability? What’s that?

When in May 2017 I saw the front page of North Forty News and the former owner’s announcement that he was closing the newspaper I knew I had to act or yet another independent, locally owned newspaper was going under — and that would be a serious loss for its readers who had come to depend on it for their local news, most often news not reported anywhere else.

Much like the early days of television, this is a time of transition — news media products abound and yet, none of them fill the role that we do.

We are committed to providing you with “solution-driven journalism” that provides coverage of people and organizations in our community that is identifying pressing issues — and then doing the hard work of finding solutions to problems that are facing their communities which are very often YOUR COMMUNITY! In many cases, this is not sensationalistic news but it IS news that matters!

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