We have received some interesting calls and emails in recent days from readers who have been irritated by content appearing on these pages.
Some individuals did not like our coverage of the news.
Others did not like the letters to the editor and the commentaries.
One reader did not like a photo on the front page showing a person not wearing a mask.
It goes without saying there are a lot of opinions in the community about what is important and what is not. What we know is, what’s important to one reader is very important to them. But to the next person, not so much.
Newspapers are not supposed to be a voice of any individual. It should be a representation of the community it serves.
We are told daily that our pages do not advocate for certain points of view.
We are told we ignore news and content that is being pushed in mainstream media.
Our focus remains on Main Street, Vermont. It is on what the issues are out there that affect you as the local business owner; as the taxpayer; as the parent of a student-athlete. Local is what is important to you, ultimately.
Yet there are individuals in our communities who feel that the newspaper is there to leverage points of view that they support. They wish we would put our ink and shoulders behind their agendas.
We are not an algorithm. We are a community voice.
We take to heart concerns about coverage. We have adapted, in fact, bringing back more community news that matters to readers — birth announcements, promotions in the business world, the dean’s list, honor rolls (for the schools that still have them, but that is a different editorial), and milestones such as wedding anniversaries, engagements, weddings and notable moments in the lives of our neighbors.
We have brought back feature pages — health, food, business and more — to educate you on local issues, and provide information and resources that are most helpful to you in your everyday life.
We have regular columnists from within the business community, as well as locals living among us with unique takes on state, local and national politics, foreign affairs, higher education, health care, and so much more.
We have a news staff devoted to local coverage. They sit through the tedious meetings. They fact-check what is being put forward. They provide context to where moments in time fit into the overall timeline of an issue, a discussion.
We serve as that watchdog, to make sure public officials are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
We celebrate our community successes, and we are pointing out the regrettable failures. That is what local newspapers are supposed to do. They are supposed to chronicle what is happening in the community: good, bad or ugly.
So it is disheartening when someone calls to say that they do not want to subscribe anymore because they do not like that we publish letters to the editor or commentaries that espouse a certain point of view.
Worse, it seems tragic, when in covering a community’s public meetings, that there would be individuals so blinded by their position that they would project bias on behalf of the newspaper, and suggest that reporters and editors should be “persuaded” to write stories differently.
Our role is messenger, plain and simple. NEWS is North, East, West and South, if you take it literally. It is a group of individuals committed to taking note of the greater community’s contribution to itself. For sure, the editorial page can prove to be an obvious place to assail coverage — one way or another. And we encourage the dialogue, especially if it offers contrarian points of view to what has been presented.
The newspaper should not be pawn to the motives of people in power, to any group.
We stand for the public as a whole, and our work is devoted to making sure what we provide is vetted information — a service we take so seriously, we wear our Fourth Estate badge with great honor.
Because the news of the day does not fit in your news feed in a validating way is not our problem. Our problem is making sure our audience understands there are serious issues at play in our communities. For sure, we want to reiterate that bad people should go to prison for the bad decisions they have made, and local heroes should be celebrated and held up as examples of what it means to serve well.
But the public trust depends on us delivering the message. We do not apologize for the bad news around you.