Plenty of jobs offer more challenges than working as a journalist in a small community. Firefighters, police officers, public servants — they all face daily challenges not routinely encountered by reporters of The Sheridan Press newsroom.
We’re observers. We attend public meetings and request public documents so the average citizen doesn’t have to.
We’re storytellers. We work to highlight interesting, important, heartwarming and fun people and events in the area.
We’re recorders. We keep track of the actions, votes and legislation passed by government entities. We publish arrest records, birth announcements and wedding announcements. Journalism has been referred to as the “first draft of history.”
We’re translators. We try to take complicated, nuanced concepts and explain them in a way that makes sense to those who take the time to read about how big ideas will impact their lives.
Beyond all that, we’re members of the communities on which we report. We attend the same churches, the same community events and the same city council meetings as our neighbors. We vote in the same elections and worry about the same issues.
At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump pointed to a group of journalists covering the event, saying they “only make up stories” and called them “fake, fake disgusting news.” He has repeatedly categorized journalists as “the enemy of the people.”
It’s easy to criticize the news media. Even we, as journalists, critique each other. Nobody is perfect, although we strive to be better. The staff here at The Press — from the journalists to the employees working on the printing press — work a lot, covering more community events than they have time to — all because we love where we live and believe in what we’re trying to do. We’re proud of the services The Press provides.
As more than 200 newspapers across the country today publish editorials on the dangers of the assault on the press, we offer our thoughts as praise for our staff and the employees of news organizations around the world helping to inform and engage citizens of a global community. The 30-something employees of The Press work hard. We help each other. We help customers and clients, visitors and residents. We strive to be the best community newspaper in the state. We endeavor to engage the community on important issues. We celebrate community achievements and ask difficult questions.
We are not the enemy.