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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:00 am

Editorial

Watchdogs - not attack dogs

Enemy of the people? We're your neighbors

We who work in newspapers are used to criticism. It comes with the territory.

Reporting on happenings in our community, helping readers sort out public controversies, serving as a watchdog on government – some of what we do makes some people uncomfortable. Good newspapers constantly look for the positive things going on in their communities, but we are the bearer of bad news as well. And, being human, we sometimes make mistakes.

We view criticism as part of the process. Responding to complaints, putting bad news into context and correcting errors – those things are part of our continuing daily conversation with our readers.

Increasingly, when subjects of news stories don't like what is published by newspapers around the country, they dismiss the reports as “fake news.” President Donald Trump and some of his allies don't stop there, but also disparage the men and women who gather and present the news, calling them “bad,” “dishonest” and “enemies of the people” – a sinister term previously used in communist and Nazi propaganda.

Common sense refutes those wild assertions. Newspapers and broadcast institutions that have served their readers and viewers for years haven't suddenly decided to allow their staffs to make up stories or invent sources.

The Journal Gazette, which has been serving this community and this region since 1863, is dedicated to fair and accurate reporting and responsible commentary. The news organizations we rely on for wider coverage share those values. The journalists we know and work with are dedicated professionals doing their best to help their friends and neighbors understand a rapidly changing world.

But as always, it is not what we say that matters most – it is how you, as informed readers, respond to the events of the day. You and your parents and their forbears have known us and depended on us for more than 150 years.

You've seen us covering school board meetings and track meets and tree plantings, offering photos of snowy mornings in northeast Indiana and hot afternoons at Fort Wayne pools and bringing you news about local tax increases and the latest votes in Congress. The people who work here are your neighbors, the parents of your children's friends, the fans who cheer a winning run with you at a TinCaps game.

Our work is always open to your criticism and suggestions. We don't always enjoy your critiques, but we do our best to learn from them. Today, we join more than 200 newspapers across the country asking you to think twice before you accept the demeaning labels being applied to the people who work at places such as ours. You know us. We are not the enemy of the people.