When America began after a successful revolution, its citizens decided there should be a government, but it had to be accountable to the people. This meant that the people had to know what the government was doing so it could make informed decisions and use their freedom by exercising a ballot for the candidate who best depicted the values of good governing.
Citizens had to conduct their daily business of working and educating their children, so they couldn’t spend time watching over the people governing the publics affairs. So, who would watch over government?
A citizen press.
A citizen press would make sure that the government was kept out of the news business.
Thomas Jefferson felt so strongly about the principle of free expression he said, “If it were left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
The implication of those words is that self-governance is more essential than governance itself. When you consider the circumstances that the newly formed country had just fought a war against an oppressive government, the notion is not absurd.
By definition, a self-governing society must make its own decisions. In order to make good decisions, they must be informed. Abraham Lincoln grasped this concept well when he said, “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.”
That is the essence of Muncie Voice, pursuit of the truth so the public will be informed. Citizen journalists holding our government accountable, and informing the public so they can make good decisions. The press should be an educational process – not telling you how to think, or telling you what to buy. It was meant to be a citizen press, not a corporate-owned press.
The success of Muncie Voice will be dependent upon researching facts, and telling the truth. If the market appreciates its truthfulness, and finds it informing, then it will be successful. If businesses want to use it as a way to educate consumers, and attract them to their business, they will also support it.
The preoccupation with profits and controlling information is the role of our big corporations of yesterday – like the Gannett run media giant in our community. Instead of investing in more relevant reporters who seek the truth, they are hiding their information behind paywalls so they can make corporate executives more money, and increase dividends to shareholders.
As a community, and a free society, you get to make an informed decision on which one gets to survive and be successful.
Keep you eyes on Gannett or The StarPress – what they do with the money is key. Do they invest in investigative journalists to educate the community for which they serve, or do they sell investors on how to make money. If it’s the latter, they might as well be selling widgets.