Hometown media matters
By John Meng, General Manager/Editor In a democracy, media serves an important role. It gives political parties the tools to reach large numbers of people and can inform Americans on key issues ranging from policies to elections. In theory, media should be seen as an enabler for democracy, providing unbiased information to voters so that can be better-educated and make decisions which lead to a more legitimate government.
However, for many years now – and 2020 in particular – our national mainstream (or in some cases ‘lamestream’) media has let America down. Generally speaking, media coverage of national events have been far from unbiased.
An August 2020 Gallup poll found that 86 percent of Americans believe there is a “fair amount” of bias in news coverage. This conclusion is hardly surprising, as members of the media routinely denounce and deride positions with which the media outlet or the reporter disagrees. It seems that the days when we might hear or see a national news correspondent fairly present both sides are gone. Or maybe they never truly existed.
This past year, I found myself criticizing the media and hurling a few choice words at my television screen when watching the media. But then I was struck with a profound thought “I am a member of the media.” Do I have the right to criticize others in my profession? The answer is irrefutably ‘YES.’
From police officers to preachers or teachers to truck drivers, there are bad apples in every profession and misdeeds conducted by some taint the public perception of all. When it comes to the media, it’s interesting to note that all the ‘bad apples’ seem to be on the national stage, where reporters promote certain candidates and tear down others and ‘gotcha questions’ are a means to improve ratings and gain notoriety.
Thankfully, true journalism is still alive and well in your small town local newspapers. Your hometown newspapers, such as the Jackson County Herald-Tribune and others across Texas and beyond, cover local news and events that impact the lives of residents every day.
We are about Jackson County. Its people (young and old), government, charities, businesses, churches and all the little alleys in between. Our staff and myself all live in Jackson County. This is our home. This is our community too, and we’ve been Jackson County’s number one source for news since 1906. Can CNN or FoxNews make that claim?
As editor at the Herald-Tribune, my job is to promote Jackson County, support our community, and to inform the residents of news and happenings every week. I always like to say the ‘news never stops’ and sometimes that news will be good and other times maybe not-so-good. But I promise that we will always treat our stories fairly, and give everyone a chance to tell their side.
Respectable journalism has never been about ‘picking sides’ and ‘gotcha questions.’ It is a serious responsibility abandoned long ago by many members of the national media. But your local newspapers, like the Herald-Tribune and others, embrace that responsibility to better serve our friends, neighbors and our communities.