OPINION: Earned respect

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We must say, journalists in Chatham-Kent aren’t getting enough respect.

Yes, we understand respect is earned. And we think C-K’s reporters, from various outlets, have more than earned that respect.

To some extent, it’s a spillover from national and even international treatment of the media in general.

The term “fake news,” which is laughable when applied to traditional media outlets, continues to permeate through society, unfortunately. Now, if you apply it to political party press releases, or to fringe web elements who say such things as the Sandy Hook shootings never took place…yes, that’s fake news.

Reporters have a job to do. It’s to share information – true information – with the public. A huge part of the media’s job is to keep politicians and government personnel in check.

It’s not an easy task.

And, yes, we do make mistakes. It happens. We are human.

Yet, the disrespect can come from many directions. It comes from those citizens who seem to think any journalism outlet is in league with government. That’s just patently false.

But more and more here in Chatham-Kent, we’re seeing political leaders disrespecting the media.

It comes in many forms, and most are subtle, but a growing one is not respecting journalists’ time. Reporters usually have multiple assignments in a given day, just as municipal staff and other public officials do. Reporters don’t keep the public officials waiting, so neither should the public officials disrespect the journalists by doing the same.

As stated, we are champions of the truth.

So when a high-ranking municipal manager, through an intermediary, requested that we pull a story about that official off our website, we asked one question. “Was it factually inaccurate?” The answer was no.

The story is still on our website.

We are not the mouthpiece of public officials. We report; we don’t regurgitate.

One wonders if this open complaint will constitute some violation of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent’s new public conduct policy, as we have openly disagreed with the actions of municipal officials in a very public format, to be seen by multiple staff and councillors. Such a form of mass communication, according to the policy, does not sit well with said officials.

Oh, well. It’s not our job to agree with them.

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