To the editor: I’ve held onto an article written in 2017 by publisher Jeanne Straus headlined "Why local news reporting matters."
"We hold the old-fashioned notion that journalists must set aside their personal biases and present multiple sides of the story," She said in the letter. "We’re the people whose job it is to be curious, even skeptical, and ask questions of those in power. We are not liars and are not 'the enemy.'"
She quoted Dan Rather, “This is not about politics or policy. It’s about protecting our most cherished principles. The relationship between the press and the powerful they cover is by it’s very definition confrontational. Good journalism . . . requires reporters who won’t back up, back down, back away or turn around when faced with efforts to intimidate them.”
Last week (Nov. 22-28, 2019), Michael Jan Schiumo addressed this intimidation head-on. He wrote a letter to the editor and said: “The chief concern that I have concerning President (Donald) Trump is his war on the media . . . when the president of the US states on a daily basis that the news, which encapsulates the right to freedom and speech is fraudulent and is 'the true enemy of the people' it only serves to set the precedent that anything that does not correspond with the President’s views must be struck down. When the right to speak out is violated, all of our rights are thrust into jeopardy.”
I am writing this letter to express support and appreciation for what Jeanne Straus wrote two years ago, and for her dedication to local journalism; it encourages and vitalizes local community, and that is something that benefits all of us.
I also appreciate another local publication, Dirt magazine, that is edited by Jeanne’s niece Becca Tucker.
It is truly important to support local journalism, journalists everywhere, and to use and protect our precious freedom of speech.
My gratitude to everyone who stands up for truth, listens with respect to others’ opinions, and helps us remember that we are all in this together.
Robin Rose Bennett