Letters to the Editor

Parting Advice from Four Decades on the Front Lines of Local News

4836af5c87cabca3d334_mini_magick20171111-88683-fv3ypu.jpg
4836af5c87cabca3d334_mini_magick20171111-88683-fv3ypu.jpg

In February 1978 I walked into the office of The Rahway News-Record and Clark Patriot to begin what I thought was to be a short-term job stepping stone. 

Instead, it turned out to be a nearly 40-year odyssey in local journalism—including the last eight—overwhelmingly great—years with The Alternative Press (TapInto.Net).

I have decided it is time to spend more time in developing and fulfilling my personal story and relaxing in the evening at home rather than rushing to cover municipal meetings. These meetings have become increasingly more tedious for me as I enter another phase of life.

Sign Up for E-News

Therefore, I will end my freelance reporting career in local journalism in suburban New Jersey at the end of November 2017.

During my time in local journalism, I have met some of the finest residents, students, athletes and public workers and officials anywhere in the United States.

I also have met some who were not quite as desirable.

Some parting words from an old reporter:

1. Social media is a great tool to stretch communications across miles and continents. It also enables families and societies to reach each other easily and to freely express their opinions on every topic.

However, with everyone on social media becoming “reporters” of the news, trained journalists now often are thought of as useless or incompetent if they perform the true function of a free press, which is to report all the news in a fair way with no preference for one side or the other.

It seems that readers, taking after their leaders, believe the only role of reporters and editors is to support the values and promote the agendas of media audiences.

To repeat a quote displayed prominently in the News-Record office—the press should exist to be “A voice for all and an echo for none.”

2. A free and open society advances best when there is an open and complete flow of information. Officials should halt all impulses to control or blockade the news. Even if an opinion expressed seems to reflect poorly on you or your organization, you have plenty of avenues in which to respond. 

Don’t stifle discussion and dialogue in the hopes of polishing the image of yourself or your organization. More information always is preferable to less information or information filtered through “spin doctors” or central information distribution channels.

Also, discourage anonymity, and when you respond don’t generalize, but point directly and precisely to the person or organization with which you want to have dialogue.

Additionally, “The Media” is not an all encompassing monolith of like thinkers. It is composed of millions of outlets, forms and flesh and blood people with widely different opinions. You can’t have an open dialogue with a generality.

3. Particularly in New Jersey, all those in media positions should work to keep the doors open for all their colleagues. 

This means recognizing we are in the Digital Age and allowing communities to save taxpayer dollars by advertising in the most economically feasible medium available.

Yes, online local hyperlocal media should be a place where any level of government can place its legal advertising, and the existence of this source should not be stifled by censorship in the large media outlets.

I do, however, agree with some opponents of these measures who say transparency would be harmed by allowing the only outlets for legal advertising to be government-sponsored websites. 

If this were allowed, officials of any locality that did not like what was reported in a media outlet would feel free to advertise only on its own website and post only public information which it thought in the officials’ best interest rather than that of the public they are sworn to serve.

We even see this currently, when some officials have used the “small print” in state statutes to remove legal advertising from local print newspapers because those papers have dared to report items which did not have the “slant” the leaders wanted.

Enough for now. I will get off my soapbox and just say it has been one helluva great run—and now is my time and I hope to make the most of it.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Clark Officials Say Latest Scam is Fueled by OPRA Regulations

May 26, 2018

CLARK, NJ — Township officials have released a statement encouraging residents to exercise caution if they are approached by an individual or organization promising to help with property tax related issues for a fee.   

The Town of Clark is urging citizens to contact the Tax Collector's office with questions before agreeing to use the services provided ...

Open Letter to Dr. Dolan & Westfield High School Administration About Graduation

May 23, 2018

Editor's note: The following is a response to a letter sent to parents from Westfield High School Principal Derrick Nelson telling parents that, due to the potential of Kehler Field being re-turfed, this year’s graduation will be held on the back field behind Westfield High School, with the inclement weather location the varsity gymnasium. The letter tells parents ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8cd695f8ea6f03939eb0_mini_magick20180405-26868-1g02rrv

Mon, May 28, 9:00 AM

Westfield

Memorial Day Parade

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Westfield Police Blotter: Package Stolen from Porch, Shoplifting & More

May 23, 2018

May 15, 2018 11:40 a.m.

A resident of Vernon Terrace reported the theft of a package from their front porch on May 12, 2018 between 11:40 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

May 19, 2018 1:16 p.m.

Rhonda Boston, age 32, of Newark, NJ was arrested on the strength of an outstanding warrant for her arrest from Westfield Municipal Court in the amount of $580. Subject was picked up at New Jersey State ...

Obituaries

Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more

Students from Westfield Take Part in 'Chopped' Competition at Wardlaw+Hartridge

May 28, 2018

EDISON, NJ — The final round of Chopped, the W+H Edition, was staged in front of the entire Wardlaw+Hartridge Upper School on May 22.

The three winning teams from the preliminary rounds battled in a close competition and impressed the judges with their creativity and culinary expertise.

Congratulations to the team led by faculty mentors Susan Swenson and Susan Zusman, pictured ...

Westfield's Wilson School Receives Surprise Visit from Governor Murphy

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy took a few moments out of a busy schedule to drop in on a 5th grade class at Wilson School in Westfield on Thursday, May 24.

“Fifth grade is one of the coolest grades,” said the governor as he greeted the students.  “What are you studying today?”

A brief discussion of the formulas for surface area and volume needed to build an ...

There are Really 3 Reason Buyers Choose the Homes They Buy

Susan Massa Broker Associate CRS SRES ABR 

Keller Williams Premier Properties 188 Elm St Westfield NJ 07090

488 Springfield Ave, Summit, NJ 07901

908-400-0778 cell

www.summitwestfieldhomes.com     www.NJHomeshowcase.com

susan@susanmassa.com

Dedicated to Excellence, Dedicated to You “Your Home Your Realtor”

download my smart phone app ...

Ask Maria: How can I help my son? 

Q: My son's best friend's mom just passed away. I am concerned for my son and don't know what to do for him. He is distraught. How can I help my son? 

Response:

Grief is a normal and natural reaction to the death of a loved one. No two people grieve the same, even in the family. I am certain that your son’s friend and mom are like family to your son. Losing his ...

Dog Missing from Fanwood Home

UPDATE: Reunited with owner!

ORIGINAL POST: Lexi was seen north side of Fanwood Thursday. She's 25 lbs., tall and looks like a fox.

Lexi is friendly and was wearing a collar with a tag. Call 732-259-5570 if you spot her.

IRS Grants Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Reduction of Maximum Deductible HSA Contributions

The IRS recently announced relief for taxpayers with family coverage under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) who contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA).

 

For 2018, taxpayers with family coverage under an HDHP may treat $6,900 as the maximum deductible HSA contribution.

 

The annual amount had been reduced to $6,850 for 2018 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

‘Chambers USA 2018’ Recognizes John Schmidt Among List of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper is pleased to announce that John H. Schmidt has once again been recognized by “Chambers USA” in their annual list of leading lawyers for business. Chambers and Partners, which produces “Chambers USA,” is a client referral organization that researches and subjectively ranks attorneys and law firm practice groups nationwide ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

May 24, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ — The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that ...