EDITORIAL: Facts matter in our news coverage

Glenrock Independent graphic

Matt Adelman, publisher

Often, we in the media get accused of having sacred cows we don’t cover or, alternatively, have targets of coverage. Neither is accurate, though some specific cases certainly can be made (fairly or unfairly).

Whether the allegations are made based on favoritism or economics, the reality of our news coverage isn’t based on friendships or dollars and cents. It’s based on facts and how those stack up against the claims being made by those in charge.

Sure, we read the rants on social media, but those aren’t facts. They are primarily someone’s opinion, often devoid of facts and based on emotion or political/social bias. Many times, they don’t spur the conversation toward a productive outcome – though they sometimes do point out a problem that needs rectifying or one that needs factual clarification, which then can change the debate. That, however, is often not the case these days.

We don’t begrudge people’s First Amendment right to express themselves. In fact, we support it wholeheartedly. We just want the facts to rule when there are facts to consider, not just wild opinions. 

So back to news coverage in general. Here is how it actually works (the good and the ugly):

The Ugly: The first thing to understand is news organizations, ours included, are businesses. Even the new nonprofit web newsgroups operate like a business, with their revenue stream coming from donations and grants instead of subscribers and advertisers. Companies have to make money to stay in business, to pay their employees and vendors, or to donate to local sports teams or nonprofits.

Yet, we do not base news judgements on advertisers’ wants, demands or threats. We base news on its value, its factual value, to the community. Sometimes, that means making public a flaw, a situation or, rarely, a crime that impacts our advertisers. That hurts our revenue when the advertiser pulls out of the paper or off the radio station; but we do it anyway because it is the right thing to do for the community as a whole.

Second, we are not a publicly funded entity. We do not get financial support from the city, county or school district – except when they buy advertising, printing or merchandise like any other vendor they have. We have heard that somehow we get “paid” to ignore a story or do one. Nothing could be further from the truth. While much of what we see on rants and raves is about mudslinging, we don’t sling mud, we report facts. 

The Good: We care. About our communities. About our people. About you.

As a business, we have the same challenges as other businesses that, perhaps, are less in the public eye. We struggle to have enough employees at times, and we have to weigh public benefit to cost, including staff time. Yes, we pay reporters to go to your event as well as attend public meetings or dig into an investigative piece. So sometimes it takes weeks or months before we can dedicate the staff time to a difficult story, but we don’t shy away from them either. It’s because we care.

Countless times over the Glenrock Independent’s 122-year history we have done stories that have cost us, both in readership and with advertisers. Sometimes we have been wrong, but even in those times, our goal is to provide the information and facts that will benefit the community immediately or in the long term.

We also weigh the public benefit to what we do every day. Our goal, like a doctor’s, is first to do no harm; but sometimes the harm is unavoidable when the overall public good outweighs the harm to one person or small group of people. 

As the saying goes, you don’t want to watch a hotdog being made if you ever want to eat one again.

In our business, we believe you should see how it all comes together, even the ugly realistic parts, so that you can decide for yourself whether the facts presented are worth considering – for the next time you post your opinion on social media or offer ideas not rooted in fact to your neighbor across the backyard  fence.

--Matt Adelman


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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