March 14th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 11
What makes you a real reporter
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
I try not to get political regarding local government in my editorials. However, we recently had an incident at council in which a member of the public tried to sit at the media table because, in their opinion, they are a member of the media.

So I just thought I’d give the general public a brief synopsis about what being a member of the media really means.

We are a local and verified newspaper in the Crowsnest Pass. We have been one since 1930. We are member of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association and the Canadian News Media Association. We have our newspaper audited by the Canadian Media Circulation Audit to prove that we fall into the standards of a newspaper publication and we can verify how many people purchase our newspaper.

Sometimes, I do more audits than actual work here at the Pass Herald to show that we are indeed media.

As newsprint media, we are held to a higher standard. We can be held liable (and in fact, we have been sued three times, lost twice and settled with an apology on the third). We cannot just make up the news as we see fit.

The backbone of a newspaper is its reporter. If the public doesn’t believe in the reporter and their non-biased writing, the paper isn’t worth the ink that it’s written on.

We have always hired university and college-educated reporters who are trained in their craft and the rules and regulation required of a professional in their field.
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I don’t know a ton about radio media, but I’m pretty sure they have the same associations and criteria that we do in print media.

Council chambers have always had a special spot designated so that media can report on the process of our local government. It is our jobs as the media to inform you about the decisions made by our local governing bodies.

So I hate to break it to some individuals, but this area is for the press; not the general public.

Just because you write on a blog or on social media, does not make you a reporter. I’d love to be a rocket scientist, but just because I write about it on Facebook, doesn’t mean it’s true. So to want to sit at the media table because you have decided you are media, in your own eyes, does not make you one.

This council has always allowed the media an opportunity at the end of a meeting to ask clarification on issues. Also at the end of council, there is a public input session in which the audience can ask questions and give opinions to their elected officials.
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This council is open and transparent which, really, is the fundamental role of government.

This is what media does; it reports the news of council and does so in a non-biased way. We don’t make the news; we just give you the information and you form your opinion.

Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works on social media. You can pretty much say what you want and are not held accountable. We in the media - are.

So next time an internet blogger feels that he or she is media, I hope this gives them some clarification.

That’s the way I see it.
March 14th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 11
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