Guilty by association

It goes without saying that there are times as a reporter when the articles you write are going to make people unhappy. They might make someone look bad or feel bad, or show that someone isnít living up to their responsibilities, and although I donít enjoy showing anyone in a negative light, there are some things that need to be printed.

I know that no matter what I do, someone will be unhappy, but I try to prevent that to the best of my ability. I donít want people to read one of my articles and say that itís completely one sided, or that itís unfair. I try to show both sides of a situation and although it can be uncomfortable, I always try to contact the person who may look bad in an article to get their side of the story.

Because I do make those efforts, I really get upset when someone reads an article and still feels that it isnít balanced. What upsets me even more is when someone reads something that I have no control over, and blames me for it anyway.

Whenever there is a hot topic in Chenango County, it is going to be in an article and probably in ď30 SecondsĒ and the online discussion forums. While the newspaper strives for balance and fairness in all of our articles, comments in the other two venues are based on the opinions of the public, and they can be completely one sided, but those are outside of my control.

Despite my best efforts, whenever I write an article that generates discussion in ď30 SecondsĒ or on the forums, someone is going to see those comments and blame me for them. Even though I canít control how people view a situation, or what other information might be contributing to their opinion, there are always going to be people who think I am to blame.

A lot of public figures hate ď30 Seconds.Ē They say itís a rumor mill and that people can insult one another without consequence because it is anonymous. Theyíre right to a point, but it can also give you an idea of what is important to the public and what people are talking about.

I know Iíve been trashed on the online forums and ď30 SecondsĒ on numerous occasions, but the discussion generated by those negative comments gave me something to think about; an opposing view to consider. That doesnít make it any more enjoyable, but not everyone is going to agree with you all the time.

In a perfect world, every reader response and every comment on public matters would be positive. The community would talk about what a wonderful job all of the public officials in each town and village were doing. Every public official would be doing everything right, and there would only be happy, upbeat news in the paper every day. Unfortunately, we donít live in that world. Here things go wrong, people mess up and when they do, someone is probably going to be talking about it. And while that might not always be fun for the parties involved, at least you know what is being said, beyond what is in a newspaper article.

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