Monday, February 13, 2017

A reflection of our communities, but is it accurate?

I spend a lot of time in this job wondering about the image we present to our readers every day.

I know many of you will be snickering uncontrollably when you read that. You are convinced we do no such thing, that we simply take every opportunity to sensationalize stories in an effort to sell newspapers.

Here's something that may surprise you. There is an element of truth in that. Look, I am in the business of selling newspapers, among other things. I want to sell as many as I can every day, along with attracting as many eyeballs to our website as we can.

It's part of what we do every day. It's why TV stations go insane every time we are looking at a dusting of snow and instead predicting Armageddon.

But there is a danger in that. I know it as well as anyone.

The danger is in presenting a skewed image of the communities we live and work in every day.

I'm very cognizant of how easy it is to offer an image that doesn't really reflect the reality of the situation.

Take, for instance, the recent arrest of a student on the grounds of Upper Darby High School with a loaded handgun.

I knew as soon as I heard about it, that it was going to be a big story, one that no doubt would play on our front page.

But I also knew it again carried with it the danger of overlooking several other aspects of the story, namely that it unfairly represents the students and staff of Upper Darby High School.

I talked about just such difficulties in doing this job both in my blog as well as out editorial page.

Our coverage did in fact draw responses from the community, including one I had not expected.

I talk about it a bit more in today's Letter From the Editor.

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