Awards are nice, but …

The Compass - - OPINION - — Terry Roberts

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 cb­n­com­ — 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.

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