News judgment is subjective | TahoeDailyTribune.com

News judgment is subjective

As a newspaper we want most importantly to get the stories we publish right. But we also hope to inform readers in an unbiased and thoughtful fashion.

Today we are recapping the biggest stories of the year covered in your local paper.

Sadly, the biggest worldwide story of the year occurred in the final week. Tens of thousands of people were killed by a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. One-third of the victims are children.

We published a photograph Tuesday which explained poignantly the horrible scene in Indonesia. The town of Pidie, Aceh, was wiped out, covered with debris. A group of people was milling around, obviously looking for loved ones. In the foreground was a man walking away with a dead child in his arms; the girl looked to be about 8 years old. The man was described as a relative. Everyone in the photograph was looking at the man, whose stoic expression was hauntingly grim.

We decided to crop the girl out of the photo. We felt publishing the entire frame would be too graphic for many of our readers. Some newspapers went with the uncropped version. Many didn’t run it at all.

News judgment is subjective.

Newspapers need to have humility. Our work is out there for all to see and comment upon. If we make a mistake or an error in judgment we must take responsibility for it. And we do.

Stories are of more interest to some than they are to others. It would be hard to argue against the top local story of the year being the defeat of Measure L and the subsequent closure of Meyers and Tahoe Valley elementary schools. The story continued with the Lake Tahoe Unified District halting funding to athletics and a group called STAT stepping up to the plate and getting the community to donate the money for fall and winter sports.

But the community was also affected by the horrible accident on a Mendocino County beach where the lives of Phillip Smith and Michael Blank Jr. were lost.

There were many other stories of great interest. There’s a parking controversy downtown and there’s a proposed Business Improvement District in the works. Some folks are irate at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency mandate about colors of paint. Winter and the snow sports and ski resorts and snowpacks always provide interesting stories and events. Caesars was bought by Harrah’s which might sell it to the Horizon.

You see, South Shore may be a small community but it is certainly one that has plenty of news. People who live here need to be smart and strong. The economy and cost of living is sending many of our neighbors packing, and year upon year of winters can take a physical and mental toll.

As we head into another year, we are proud and privileged to describe as best we can the events of our unique, resourceful and beautiful community.


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