Right in the Centre - The facts, only the facts


Ken Waddell
Neepawa Banner & Press

News media outlets carry a heavy responsibility or at least they should. News comes in many forms. We have local coffee shop talk and visits with friends and family. That source is considered the most effective and influential. Beyond the very personal sources of news and information we have a variety of sources including traditional newspapers, like this one you are holding in your hands. We have radio stations in an almost endless and world wide number, the 500 channel TV universe and then there is the internet with various adaptations of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and many more.

The heavy responsibility mentioned above is accuracy. Newsworthiness and accuracy have become a myth and is so badly twisted that accuracy, while it should be assumed and certain, that is far from our current situation. Every hour of the day, there are stories thrown out there that are not only inaccurate, they are often maliciously wrong on purpose. That trend in news leads to a snowball effect as even mainstream media outlets jump on a story without verifying the facts. That happened last week allegedly when a major U.S. TV network got sucked into a false story, fake news if you will, and ran with it. And worse yet, it was quoting a source that could easily have been checked out.

From a local point of view, there isn’t much we can do about all the inaccurate reporting except to avoid it. Social media such as Facebook can be fun and informative but it simply isn’t reliably accurate. Nearly every day, there are false news stories spread on Facebook and it is annoying at best and dangerous at worst.

While it is good to look around and gather facts about what is happening locally and around the world, it becomes impossible to take in, absorb and analyze all the information, true and false, that gets flung in our direction. When it comes to news and information, the local newspaper, should be the best source of what is happening. In days gone by, newspapers might have had a large staff and someone “from the paper” could be at every event, every time. Even locally, that is difficult today, so while we try to be a lot of places and in touch as much as possible, we rely heavily on people to contact us. It can be by phone, email, traditional mail or in person but keeping contact is the key.

And then there is advertising. When an advertiser wants to get their message out, how do they do it? Which of the many radio stations do they use, which of the 500 TV channels do they buy a commercial from? Or which dizzying array of social media does one pursue? All these outlets are good to a point.

The fact remains that the local paper is the quiet, safest way to advertise. For the money invested, the ads and notices go out to every household. They are available to every set of eyeballs in the market area. The good old reliable local paper just quietly sits there beside your chair waiting for you to read it. No loud music, no flashing lights, no annoying pop-up ads. Just local, down home, important information that you can hopefully trust.

That’s our job plain and simple.

An advertiser can spend a lot of money chasing other media and all of them can be good some of the time but it is the local paper that does the job, quietly, effectively and every time.