Awards are nice, but …
We are doing something in this week’s edition of The Compass that few print journalists are comfortable with — tooting our own horns. And we’re doing it on the front page, no less.
But to heck with it. It’s not often that we receive any type of recognition. In fact, more times than not we’re on the receiving end of barbs for not covering a certain event, not putting this story or that one on the front page, or having the audacity to print the name of someone who has ran afoul of the law or acted in a manner that is not becoming of someone in a position of trust.
So we feel it’s only appropriate that we let our readers know, in the most visible way possible, that we are doing our best, and that we stack up quite nicely with others throughout Atlantic Canada. And yes, despite the many changes in our business, the community newspaper is still very relevant as a source for news, features, local advertising and social announcements.
As journalists with a community newspaper, we have an awesome responsibility to reflect what’s happening in the Trinity Conception region, and it’s no easy task with only limited resources. There are tight deadlines, long and inconsistent hours, worries about circulation and ad revenues, the constant uncertainty about how the digital age is impacting our business, and the pressure of assembling a newspaper each week that is engaging and informative. It’s not for the faint of heart, and the high turnover rate for people who enter this business is proof of this.
We strive continually to approach everything we do with two words in the background — trust and integrity. That’s why, unlike what you’ll find on social media, we don’t report on rumours or publish stories that can’t be backed up with facts. We often conduct upwards of a halfdozen interviews for a single story to ensure every side is told. If being “first with the story” means sacrificing trust and integrity, we’ll take a back seat in that race anytime.
What’s more, writing for a weekly readership of roughly 8,000 — and that does not include the thousands who regularly visit us online at cbncompass.ca — is daunting. Imagine writing a letter to a family member or an exam in school and having it scrutinized in such a way. That’s what we face every week, and believe it or not we welcome it. We make mistakes, sure. Our judgment is far from perfect. But we try our best, acknowledge any mistakes and do our best to learn from them.
It’s never our goal to sensationalize an issue or add to someone’s grief or hardship, but there are times when we have to make some tough calls. It all boils down to whether the issue at hand is in the public interest, and if that includes an attempted armed robbery, a motor vehicle accident in which alcohol is a factor, or when a sporting leader is sanctioned for abuse of an official, the call is an easy one. These are just a sampling of the kinds of issues we’ve faced in recent weeks.
Yes, we’ll tackle the tough issues and challenge the socalled “powers that be,” but there’s more to a “community” than that. As regularly readers of The Compass are no doubt aware, we’ll also dedicate our time to the young swimmer who overcomes health and family challenges to earn a spot on the provincial team, attend the local fireman’s ball or cadet inspection, and prominently profile the local barber who has plied his craft for many years.
So rest assured. We welcome your calls, letters and emails, news tips and submissions, whether they are positive or negative. Being a journalist with a community newspaper is a job like no other, and it’s a duty we carry out with the utmost of pride and passion. We’re honoured that you put your trust in us each week, and dedicate our most recent success to you, our reader.