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Your Hometown Paper’s Tiny Role Supporting Global Democracy



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This September 28, The Newtown Bee will represent a proportionately tiny part in a sizable global effort as we join hundreds of other news and media organizations, reinforcing the roles these colleagues and our own hyperlocal publication play in sustaining democracy.

At the same time, we are promoting our presence as a dedicated, professional, and experienced information source that you, as readers and subscribers, can trust.

September 28 is World News Day, a global initiative to draw public attention to journalists who produce trustworthy news and information that serves citizens and democracy. World News Day is presented by The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and the World Editors Forum (WEF), with support from the Google News Initiative.

While CJF celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism, WEF is a network for editors promoting quality journalism and newsroom transformation, along with working to protect the rights of journalists to operate freely and perform their crucial role in society.

On World News Day, our modest, hyperlocal newspaper stands proudly with 18,000 other publications in 120 countries affiliated with the World Association of News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA.

As David Walmsley, founder of World News Day and editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail (Canada) so straightforwardly puts it, “Making a positive difference to someone’s life is the greatest gift a journalist can give. Perhaps an individual is heard for the first time, or an injustice is settled.”

While your Bee is Newtown’s own dedicated and hyperlocal information source, and has been for nearly a century and a half, we could not serve anyone in this community without its support and trust.

But we understand today, as Walmsley points out, The Newtown Bee and our many colleagues need to earn that trust by working harder explaining methodology and how facts are uncovered and our content arrives on our printed pages and internet sites.

Understanding how we do what we do helps strengthen the trust you choose to invest in us, which very well could be as important as the facts themselves. And as part of the greater mission World News Day promotes, The Bee and our industry have to think and act smarter when it comes to reaching those who have already decided the facts even without possessing them.

An Addendum Regarding The Borough...

Our development of weekly editorials is often challenged by limitations of time, conflicting work, or the sheer number of priorities we may juggle each week among our skillful but constrained staff. So we want to offer this addendum to last week’s Ink Drops regarding the Borough of Newtown in hindsight.

First and foremost, we stand behind every word.

From what we believed was a rhetorical headline (that some apparently took to be a call to advocacy) to evidence highlighting comparisons to the Borough of Litchfield — which operates serving half the number of residents using nearly twice the budget of our own highly efficient and thrifty Borough burgesses, warden, and appointed staff — there was not one word of support for elimination or consolidation locally.

In hindsight, perhaps we should have led with exactly what was asserted closer to the end of our September 16 editorial: “We are not yet in a position to suggest that Newtown and Borough officials follow in Litchfield’s footsteps and formally initiate a consolidation study.”

More directly, The Newtown Bee does not support such consolidation here and now. We believed we were helping enlighten readers who may know little or nothing about The Borough, while referencing a similar government entity developing a template to judge its own consolidation feasibility.

Others did not, and reached out to say so.

But we maintain — regardless of why it is happening — the Litchfield study could serve Newtown by alleviating time and expense, while providing an alternative to re-inventing the process. We do apologize, however, if the way we tried to say that caused consternation or feelings of being disrespected among any borough residents or its capable officials.

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

    Staying out of political discourse would be a great first step to building trust.

    1. nb.john.voket says:

      If we shied away from political reporting, we would not be doing our job – and we are blessed to have sustained immense community trust for almost 150 years.

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