The Sun editorial: Taking over the helm of your community newspaper
Thursday July 25, 2013 | By:Jessie Owen, The Sun editor | Editorial
HAMBURG — The Sun has been a beacon of information in Hamburg for many years. It has brought the news to your breakfast table. It has shared your kids’ sports scores with your friends and neighbors. It has kept you up-to-date about what is happening in your hometown.
I consider it a privilege to be stepping into the role as editor, here at The Sun.
In this new position, I want to strive to make this paper even better than it already is. I can’t promise that my staff and I will make everyone happy – that is something that is almost impossible to achieve – but I can promise that I will do my best.
I spent the first years of my life here in Hamburg, where I was born. I have been able to take advantage of the location’s many amenities and attractions and look forward to spending a lot of time getting to know all of you.
This community embraces its own and I appreciate all of the support and encouragement that I have already received, during my short time here at The Sun.
I am not left alone, however. I am working with a great team that is talented and experienced. Staff Reporter Alicia Greco, is a wealth of information and is full of great ideas. She is ready and willing to sit down with you, tell your story and let the community know about your accomplishments.
I don’t know what we would do without our Sports Editor, Mike Petro. Without him, those Cinderella stories would go untold and the championship games would be left uncovered.
With such a great team behind me, I can’t do anything but move onward and upward.
Our stringers work on their own time and are all very willing to go above and beyond, for the paper. Without them, we would never get all of the local boards, events and more covered and I am very glad that they are all staying on, to continue writing.
As we move forward, we are going to be focusing on our entire coverage area, without forgetting the great village and town of Hamburg that have continued their undying support of this paper.
We will continue to do our best, as journalists, to bring you the facts. Professional integrity is what our job is built on, and if we cross an ethical line, we have undermined the entire purpose of what we do.
The media does not make the news; we report on it. In its code of ethics, the Society of Professional Journalists said that journalists should “distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.”
Sociologist Michael Schudson, in “Discovering the News,” wrote, “The journalist’s job consists of reporting something called ‘news’ without commenting on it, slanting it or shaping its formulation in any way.” We are in the business of reporting, not opinionating.
Every unattributed article that is published within the pages of this paper is given as a statement of fact. If we make an exception and cross a line from reporting to subjective opinion-making, we open all of our work up to question and dispute.
This is why, when we receive a press release or an article, we must remove personal and emotional pleas and phrasing; to not do so would cross that journalistic line. If an article is unsigned – i.e. not a letter to the editor – or has not been submitted by a paid columnist, it is presented to our readers from us, The Sun staff members. The ones who cannot give our opinions.
We understand that your news items and announcements are important to you. They are important to us, as well. So, although we may not be able to print everything we receive verbatim, we do strive to retain all pertinent information in articles we print, as well as stay true to the spirit of the submissions.
While it might make sense for us to say that Muammar Gaddafi was a terrible person who got what he deserved, think about what would happen if we said the same thing about a family member of yours who was charged with driving while intoxicated or fleeing the scene of a crime.
We have to keep our personal beliefs and opinions out of everything we print; if we make an exception for one thing, how can we not do the same for everything else?
To report rather than editorialize on the news, we must try to take an objective approach to everything we print in the paper.
With that being said, there are avenues in which you can express your opinion. To portray the complex, emotional and personal issues we report on every week, when we complete interviews with friends and neighbors in the community, we gladly quote those whom we speak to. Letters to the editor are, for the most part, untouched and what you write to us is what we print, end of story.
We want to give you news that you can trust. We want you to be able to know that if we present a statement to you, it’s an unbiased fact. Anything less than that is sub-par reporting.
The quality of our entire paper is based on the quality of our writing. Help us give our readers the very best.
As always, we welcome any suggestions you might have. Stop in any time to say hello and please continue to submit story ideas, letters to the editor, engagements, birth announcements, wedding announcements, photos, press releases and events. Ours is a community paper, and as such, could not exist without its loyal readers and contributors.
My sincere thanks to outgoing Editor Chris Gordon, as he is moving on to other endeavors. Good luck to him, in everything that he attempts.
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