Journalists are the eyes and ears of a
The Issue: Most people don’t pay attention to the decisions made by their elected officials.
Our View: It falls to the local newspaper to keep the public informed.
There are things that take place in every community that affect all those who live there. Members of our local city councils, village boards, township boards, county boards and school boards make decisions on our behalves at every single meeting.
While it’s no secret the members of these boards take action for us because we have elected them to do so, unless we make the time and effort to attend all these meetings and monitor what decisions are being made, we really have no idea what is going unless we turn to local media, which, in most cases, falls in the hands of the local newspaper.
It would be great if citizens had the time or motivation to attend all the meetings of those who represent them. Since they do not, it is up to local journalists to provide accurate accounts of what takes place when our representatives gather to, hopefully, do what they were elected to do.
The 78th annual National Newspaper Week will be held Oct. 7-13. The observance was created by Newspaper Association Managers in an effort to recognize the services of newspapers and their employees across North America.
When journalists from your local newspapers attend city, village, township, county or school board meetings, they are more than just the eyes and ears of the community. These people are professionals who are knowledgeable about things such as the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act and Illinois’ municipal code. These people know what to look and listen for during these meetings and know how to act when encountered with a suspected violation.
Since journalists regularly attend these meetings, they have a full understanding of the issues at hand and what action has taken place in the past. If one wants to have a clear grasp on where a taxing body stands, it’s necessary to know where its been and how it arrived at its current situation. Journalists are able to provide this service, whether it’s through a chronicle of previous reporting or by sheer knowledge and experience.
Imagine if it were left to our governing bodies to report only the information they wanted the public to hear. Such a method of delivery wouldn’t allow for question or accountability. The public simply wouldn’t know all it didn’t know.
Good journalists not only provide first-hand information to the people who need it most. Their education and experience allow them to recognize when something may be going on beyond what is obvious on the surface. Not only can they provide appropriate background information, they can foresee possible outcomes and present the information in a way the public can understand and use.
Newspapers and the journalists, designers, salespeople and pressmen who keep them publishing provide an invaluable service to their readers. Newspapers mark the time and chronicle the events that comprise our history. They are important and necessary. Without them, we would have less understanding of where we are and from where we’ve come.