Nothing Like an Election

69

Nothing Quite Like an Election There is nothing quite like an election, is there? It can bring out the best and worst in us in this great country. From our perspective, the national media took a beating for their coverage of the entire process from caucuses to primaries to nominations to the election itself.

Now most might think I’ll launch a big defense of the media. Nope, not going there. Regular Island Sand Paper readers know we are not the norm in community newspapers today, and are proud of it. Most media coverage today makes me cringe. Its over the top, and runs on the premise that being first is more important than being right or accurate.

It’s become a big game of attracting readers by being the most outlandish and then hopefully gaining newspapers sales, website clicks and social media retweets, likes & shares. We’re sort of old fashioned in thinking that if we are reliable, consistent and credible, readers will come to trust what we publish and read the Sand Paper. Frankly, we think that relationship with readers is what we enjoy today. We are grateful for that trust. We believe there is a difference between news coverage and opinion.

News articles are meant to inform and not express any opinion on the subject. Opinion pieces, here at the Sand Paper, are limited to this space weekly, along with letters to the editor and guest opinions – according to the Submission Policy published each week on this page. We believe our stories are consistently written from “Notes and Quotes.” Notes from public records, public meetings, personal interviews and quotes from those sources credible and familiar with the subjects. The underlying premise of our profession is that everyone loves you, unless you write something they don’t agree with. Then we are “divisive” or a “lapdog” of advertisers or elected officials, “corrupt,” “in someone’s pocket” or just have some secret or conspiratorial agenda. No complaints here. It comes with the territory. We understand. We sign our editorials, taking responsibility for the opinions they contain.

Surprisingly, some people criticize us anonymously. Not sure why – in 6 ½ years, we have never called out anyone for disagreeing with us. Actually we expect people to disagree with us on some things – it’s in the job description. What does surprise, or rather disappoint us, is that those who level accusations of corruption often do it in the dead of night from a blocked number phone or in a whispered conversation that they wouldn’t have in our presence. Lots of courage and strength of conviction there.

We invite those who disagree to share that opinion in these pages, just like we share our opinions in Editorials. Remember when the first election after our purchase of the Sand Paper rolled around in 2011? We said we were not going to endorse candidates. Do you remember why we said that? Because we felt then and still do that our readers all have the ability to use information, if provided, and make their own good decisions.

The same applies to so many other ongoing topics in our community, the list of which is long. We regularly receive suggestions from a wide variety of readers across the community to support a given subject or topic. To those who think we may not be fulfilling our role properly by failing to wave their flag, we repeat that our role is try and provide a broad base of information and let you decide. We are pleased when this information promotes discussion, debate and collaborative decisions.

We think that is fantastic and is a symbol of the high readership level we enjoy. With all the big decisions and issues facing our community now and in the near future, I remind you of the definition of a “Good Deal” taught to me a long time ago. That being one party thinks they got too little and the other thinks they gave too much.” Hopefully, this spirit of compromise will be embraced by more in our community going forward.

We can’t control what happens on the national level, but we do control the nature of our local community discourse. For our part, we will continue to strive to provide fair and reliable coverage of local topics. We will continue to print your letters and guest opinions, sharing them with our readers and hopefully, encouraging civil discussion of alternative viewpoints. Disagree? Got a suggestion or comment for me? Readers can contact me directly at Publisher@formyersbeach.news. I will reply, guaranteed.
Bob Layfield
Publisher