It's Our Turn: Explain how you can do better
I need some help here. I need people to explain to me why they feel they know how to do other people's jobs better than the person/persons doing that particular job.
I am mostly curious about those who post on Facebook, whether on the newspaper Facebook page or the Facebook pages of the city, county, sheriff or any retailer or small local business.
It seems to me there are plenty of people in Facebook land who know a lot about other people's jobs and who feel they know how to do those jobs better — even though they've never done them.
I want to know why people think the city of Alexandria is responsible for bringing a particular business into town. It seems to me that people think the city can open some kind of wish book and order up a business, like Kohl's, and then that business will magically open here.
Do people really think or believe it is that easy? The fact is, the city and county, for the most part, have nothing to do with it. Yes, they can offer incentives for businesses in general, but they can't pick and choose to bring a certain restaurant into town instead of a hotel, bank or gas station.
They can't wave a magic wand and all of a sudden a Kohl's, T.J. Maxx, Red Lobster or Applebee's will appear.
In reality, it is up to THOSE businesses. Owners or the powers that be for each individual business makes those decisions. And it is based on data. Lots of data — demographics, seasonal trends, the distance from nearby competitors, median incomes and oodles of other factors.
It also appears to me that there are plenty of people who feel they know how to do the jobs of the sheriff and his deputies, the police chief and his officers, judges, attorneys and just about every other person in an enforcement/law position.
I don't understand how someone who doesn't have a degree in law enforcement or criminal justice or who hasn't worked a day in that career knows how to do the job. I want to know what makes them feel they are qualified. And yes, people can certainly share why they feel they're qualified to do the job of a newspaper reporter.
I have a total of 14 years in this business and there are days where there is nothing easy about it. Nothing is as black and white as it may appear to the outside world.
Newspaper reporters cannot just report what they hear on street or see on the Internet. We have to do our research. We have to report facts. And sometimes, those facts — the real and true information — is not that easy to get. There is so much that goes into it. There are people to contact, phone calls and emails to send. We don't have a magic button that makes the information just magically appear or torture devices that can make people talk to us.
To those who think we only report on stories that matter to us, that we have our own agendas, that we sit around scheming and plotting against people or that we choose one story over another based on political agendas, I am going to say something that has been said to me and other reporters numerous times, "Shame on you!"
I take my job as a newspaper reporter very seriously. I try and do the best job I possibly can. I make the phone calls, I do the fact-checking. I read the reports. I write stories based on facts, not hearsay, not hidden agendas, not political preference.
Those who post on social media sites are relentlessly negative. And apparently experts — in everything.
I would challenge those who feel and think they know how to do a job better to spend one day with a sheriff's deputy or police officer, or maybe a lawyer, judge or city or county official. Let's see how well you really do.
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It's Our Turn is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.