Truth and Accuracy in Reporting – Not by Gannett

You expect an occasional error from local reporters at our big media firms, even though they charge outrageous fees to advertise in their paper to employ copy editors, editors, executive editors, etc. That is why they have retractions, and can make corrections.

However, when it becomes a consistent reporting strategy, then it makes you wonder why they exist? Why would advertisers want to attach their product to a source of information that lacks credibility? Why would citizens subscribe to a paper that is consistently printing misinformation?

As a community, we should be exploring these questions. Don’t they serve us?

The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) established canons, or principles, to help guide editors in setting strategy for a newspaper. Since they are professional journalists, you’d think it would become ingrained in them, and editors would want to stay a credible source for the community it serves and the advertisers they promote.

According to the ASNE article IV regarding “truth and accuracy”, it states the following:

ARTICLE IV – Truth and Accuracy. Good faith with the reader is the foundation of good journalism. Every effort must be made to assure that the news content is accurate, free from bias and in context, and that all sides are presented fairly. Editorials, analytical articles and commentary should be held to the same standards of accuracy with respect to facts as news reports. Significant errors of fact, as well as errors of omission, should be corrected promptly and prominently.

I bring up the above due to a recent article written by Doug Walker and Keith Roysdon, who present themselves as government reporters, and have written with such arrogant bias for years. However, when it’s blatant, it needs to be called to their attention.

In a recent article about county expenditures on the downtown plaza , the columnists quoted Shareen Wagley, “The State Board of Accounts doesn’t recognize green infrastructure.” in referring to the “bench” at the local county plaza.

For some reason, Walker and Roysdon, and other citizens are concerned over a $12,000 “bench” at the county plaza, while encouraging construction of a second $700 thousand bathhouse at Tuhey when the only remaining bathhouse at Prairie Creek Reservoir was in process of being condemned.

The major question is, “Did the columnists accept the comment from Ms. Wagley as being an accurate statement from the State Board of Accounts”?

Before insinuating that officials had done something wrong, or illegal, did they at least do some fact checking? The source of the comment is a well documented party insider for the local republican party?

What do you think?

A simple email to the regional SBA field examiner revealed that the project had not even been examined yet, and found the comments by Walker, Roysdon, and Wagley very interesting. To quote our source at the State Board of Accounts, “At this time, there has been no determination of any questioned costs.”

The SBA examiner said the county plaza project will be audited later when examining city expenditures at Canan Commons (hint – pay attention to this one).

So much for truth and accuracy at the Gannett owned Muncie StarPress.

Our questions remain, why are advertisers in Muncie and Delaware County supporting an organization that cannot abide by principles adopted by their own industry, and why do subscribers continue paying for a paper that is inconsistent, inaccurate, and blatantly printing false information?

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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