Sunday, July 20, 2008

After a tough call, rural editor shares her thoughts

"The greatest part of reporting for a community newspaper is the variety," including the more challenging parts, Sharon Burton, right, writes in the latest edition of her paper, the Adair County Community Voice in Columbia, Ky., which recently became a paid weekly after starting as a free fortnightly. "A community newspaper is about the people, provided for the people," Burton observes. "Sometimes, that means writing articles that are fun to write, and sometimes the job is not as pleasant."

We doubt Burton thought it was pleasant to publish a story in last week's paper about County Judge-Executive Ann Melton being named in a lawsuit against her contractor husband for failure to pay home-construction loans. The story says Gary Melton "criticized the Community Voice for reporting the civil case, saying the only reason the county judge-executive is listed in the lawsuit is because she is married to him." But in our view, it's still worth a story.
Burton made no reference to the story in her column, but we're sure some readers made a connection. She wrote, "Whether we are covering events or interviewing people, I try to always keep in mind that after the story is published and gone, the lives of the people we cover continue, and what we write or do not write can impact them forever. I pray that I never make rash decisions about our news coverage and that my heart and motives are right when I make editorial decisions." We wish more editors shared such thoughts with readers. (Read more)

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