1 week ago, 08/14/2014 at 3:49pm
What is News?
What is news? What should be printed in the paper?
The answer to those two questions is different for each one of us. What one person sees as something the community should know is another’s invasion of privacy and no one else’s business.
When a person is wronged, they want the culprit, as they see it, named in bold letters in the newspaper. If accused themselves, they don’t think it should be in the paper at all.
Let’s take arrests. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office provides a list of persons arrested, the charge, their home address and the location of their arrest. Some community newspapers print that list every week. We do not. Primarily because fairness demands that if we’re going to report that someone was arrested, we should report the final disposition of the case, including if they were found innocent, if that is the case. To provide that level of fair coverage of arrests and follow-up would require more time and space and staff than our newspaper can provide.
So, while we understand that if a drunken driver hits you, you want their name in the paper, we’re not going to do that, because we can’t follow that case to its conclusion.
Also, from our interaction with the community, we hear that most of our readers aren’t interested in who got arrested for what last week.
We could list the calls we get on deadbeat tenants or bad landlords, or the neighbors who won’t stop playing their music too loud. We realize that this may be a huge issue for the affected parties; it isn’t for the vast majority of our readers.
There’s also a little issue of liability. Ours. If a situation is likely to involve a legal battle, we’re going to let the lawyers battle it out. Yours. Our job is not to allow one or the other party in a private legal matter to use the newspaper to publicly call out or shame someone. Not our job. If it’s a legal issue, hire a lawyer and go after them.
Readers are interested in knowing about crime activity on the beach, especially when it’s in their neighborhood. We’ve encouraged Islanders to utilize the crime mapping program on the LCSO website or via crimereports.com, where you can sign up for emailed reports on what crimes have been committed in any neighborhood you specify.