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The Nuances Of Trust



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Even though your venerable Newtown Bee is a tiny speck of a cousin to America’s legacy newspapers, and even more distantly related to major broadcast and web-based news agencies, this week’s latest poll regarding America’s trust in the media still stings.

According to a new survey from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, nearly three-quarters of US adults say the news media is increasing political polarization in this country, and just under half say they have little to no trust in the media’s ability to report the news fairly and accurately.

The poll, released before World Press Freedom Day on May 3, shows Americans have significant concerns about misinformation and the role played by the media itself along with politicians and social media companies in spreading it.

That breakdown in trust, as the AP observed in its own reporting on the survey, may prompt many Americans to reject the mainstream news media in favor of social media and unreliable websites spreading misleading claims that can become partisan echo chambers — leading to further polarization.

While our handful of dedicated Newtown Bee editorial staffers may be too busy to brew tea and sit down for a chat most days, we would still welcome anyone interested to pop into our modest offices here on Church Hill Road and actually see us at work.

You might catch an occasional snarky remark from someone reflecting on a snippet of news, but you won’t find anyone among us designing our unique kind of local coverage to be misleading, dividing, or enraging. And since we’ve been around nearly a century and a half serving Newtown, we are confident that anyone who believes we are can simply ask around.

Wherever you are, and whomever you are with, you will likely find people who have appeared (some say enshrined) in the pages of your local newspaper at one point or another.

Sure, there are those unhappy to see their names, or that of their loved ones tied to police matters or other unfortunate incidents. And others — including several who cried foul and accused The Bee of bias in our reporting on recent land use or library-related matters — who would like nothing more than to see us punished in some way for not appearing to take their side.

If you bother to ask, however, anyone who subscribes to or otherwise regularly reads our work, whether in print or online at newtownbee.com, will be more inclined to support the work we do, at least regard it as important, or even compliment it.

We are a media organization ... but we’re proud to be your media organization. And frankly, we are about as far from being “mainstream news media” as you can get. So, if you are among those who might be inclined to dismiss us or ignore us or put us down because you think The Bee is part of the major media problem, all we can ask is for a fair shake.

We believe if you just read The Bee, you will see we are primarily committed to highlighting all the good things and great people that make our community your chosen place to call home.

Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. qstorm says:

    30+ years of reading the BEE. Over the past 4-5 years the tone and tenor (as well as omissions) have caused me to question some of the coverage. Not reporting in a complete and timely fashion on accidents and criminal activities in town gives folks a false sense of security. Newtown Patch and Newstimes often ‘scoop’ the Bee. Does not enhance my trust in Bee reportage. It is not all roses here.

    1. nb.john.voket says:

      Would you like a job?

      1. tomj says:

        Best comment ever!

  2. dc says:

    Oh my, the Newstimes “scoops” the Bee, really? If that’s what you want to call it, I’ll stick with the Bee. I’ve been reading the Bee for 26+ years, they have been fair, consistent, thoughtful (meaning they put thought, time and research into what they write), and representative of our community. I cannot address your trust issue; trust in valued partners is earned, sometimes tested, strengthened and maintained. Its participatory. I think most people, including the Bee, know it is not all roses. But much of it is pretty darn good. The Bee is part of us. Let’s tend to our rose garden.

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