Sometimes people like to shoot the messenger (figuratively speaking). Nobody knows that better than those of us in the news media.
We’re an easy target. After all, our business is communicating with the general public, our readers. We spend all day, every day delivering messages. Some of those messages aren’t going to be popular. If they all were, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs very well. To be liked by everyone, all the time, we’d have to completely avoid any and all contentious subjects — and eliminate some of our best quotes from people — and even then some would be unhappy with us for not writing about controversial things.
So those of us in the news business generally develop a pretty thick skin. I don’t know a journalist anywhere who’s never been at least verbally attacked about something that has appeared in print.
It’s a little hard to swallow sometimes when you think you’ve been fair, however. Such it was this week when Robert Barron was told off by the manager of the Falcon Nest Motel who was unhappy about Wednesday’s story about the folks living there long-term who will see their rates rise as summer season approaches.
Seeing the feedback we got from readers on the story we thought most people understood very well that the issue is really the larger one of affordable housing, and the purpose was not to blame or shame Falcon Nest Motel for conducting their business in a perfectly legitimate manner. After all, pretty much every hotel and motel charges seasonal rates — high season, shoulder season, off-season. I would urge anyone who’s tried to blame the motel to give their heads a shake and knock it off — it’s our responsibility as a community to provide adequate affordable housing for the people who live here, not an individual business that most assuredly has not created the problem. We’re the ones who are failing, miserably, not a motel owner.
Thing is, we don’t talk to people with the purpose of hanging them out to dry. We talk to people to get their perspective on a given subject, and we always strive to be fair to each source in a story. We want people on all sides of an issue to talk to us, or it’s tough to get the balance we strive for.
So even when you’re not 100 per cent happy with a story, please know that’s what we’re aiming for.