NEW CASTLE —
Newspapers have been around for a long time.
So you would think people would have gotten the hang of them by now.
Yet I constantly encounter folks who seem to have no idea about what we do and the role we play in providing information.
But here’s the point everyone ought to understand about newspapers: We publish for the benefit of readers. Our goal is to give readers the news they want and need. It’s not about making sources or other entities happy.
Take the conversation I had the other day with a business executive whose company had submitted a press release. He was shocked to learn we had no intention of publishing the release verbatim.
The press release contained legitimate news that was of obvious interest to readers. But much of it was written in corporate and technical jargon that would have been incoherent to most people. Newspapers strive for clarity, in language everyone can understand.
The press release also included gaps of crucial information. Perhaps this was intentional, or perhaps the people behind the release didn’t think to include the details. Regardless, we were obliged to contact someone to fill in the blanks.
We do this not to offend businesses or the egos of their executives, but to serve our readers. If readers are left scratching their collective heads after looking at a news story, we haven’t done our job.
Among the requests we routinely receive at The News (and no doubt it’s the same at every paper in the country) are those involving individuals who have been arrested and want to keep that information out of print.
These requests come in various forms: A relative is ill and the news would be devastating. The arrestee was told we will keep news out if asked to do so. It’s a private matter and nobody’s business.
None of these arguments work. We publish all arrests. While some receive more attention than others — depending on the severity of the crimes or their unusual natures — every criminal charge and citation in the county appears in the Daily Record of The News.
Sometimes our news stories originate with tips provided by the public. It’s a good way to get useful information.
But not every tip is productive. Tipsters may be repeating rumors that aren’t true or they offer information we can’t confirm.
And that’s key to a newspaper. The fact someone has heard something or believes something does not make it news. We have to check it out.
I recently dealt with a business owner who was concerned negative information we had received about his establishment would wind up in print, even though it wasn’t accurate.
It took a great deal of explaining on my part to assure him that we do not automatically publish what someone tells us. I’m still not sure he understood.
Tips can produce great stories. They also can produce dead ends. It all depends on where they lead and what we learn.
And anything we do as a result is intended to serve the reader. That’s the priority.
NEW CASTLE —
Newspapers have been around for a long time.
- Closer Look
John K. Manna: State says some local people have high incomes
A lot of people fantasize about becoming instant millionaires. That’s why millions of Americans play the lottery, particularly when the jackpots for Powerball and Mega Millions exceed $100 million.
Tentative casino hearing date set
May 8 is the tentative date for a public hearing for Lawrence County residents to comment on the proposed casino. The Mahoning supervisors announced the date Thursday.
Training seminar to address handling PennDOT contracts
A training seminar on how to deal with state transportation engineering and construction contracts is planned for this month
Recycling facility’s plan recommended for approval
The New Castle Planning Commission has recommended approval of a land development plan for a recycling facility. Ben Weitsman and Sons of New Castle plans to construct a facility at 526 S. Jefferson St. to recycle scrap metal.
Jameson to move pediatric unit
Plans are under way to relocate inpatient pediatric care at Jameson Hospital. A press release issued Wednesday by Jameson Health System said pediatric care will continue at the hospital and “will be provided in a safe environment by the same pediatricians, physician specialists and pediatric trained registered nurses and staff.”
County asking to divert state bridge money
Lawrence County has an accumulation of state funds designated for its bridges that it cannot spend. It wants to share those funds for local road repairs, but cannot use the money — more than $600,000 — for that because the funds are restricted by a law enacted in 2007, and can be used only as a county match for county-owned bridge projects.
Commissioners make meeting changes
The Lawrence County commissioners have made a couple of changes to their regular meeting schedule this month.They will meet as usual at 10 a.m. Tuesday in their meeting room in the courthouse.
Our Opinion: Some consumers pay price of changing power suppliers
Choice may be good, but an informed choice is even better. That’s the conclusion we draw from reports here in Lawrence County and elsewhere around Pennsylvania about some residents and businesses receiving electric bills that are substantially higher than normal.
SRU addresses alleged audit discrepancy
As Slippery Rock University officials continue to tackle budget issues that include a potential deficit of up to $10 million, they’re also addressing concerns that a recent audit alleges a $1 million discrepancy.
On the Record: Today’s births and police reports
On the Record is a periodic update of public information coming out of the Lawrence County Government Center. Look inside for the latest births and police reports.
- More Closer Look Headlines
- John K. Manna: State says some local people have high incomes