I’d like to thank some people I’ve never met.
They are those who support the newspaper on our Facebook page.
They stand up for the newspaper when someone posts something that is completely untrue. They set the record straight – often better than we could have done it.
In response to Facebook comments that the newspaper was blowing COVID-19 “way out of proportion,” Sharon Weaver noted, “It is blown out of proportion until you are the one needing medical attention.”
I could hear the mic drop.
To another commenter who told the newspaper to “shut up already, honestly don’t you have anything else besides COVID to report?” Keri Mohror came to our defense: “Scrolling down the Echo Press page, I find a dozen non-COVID-related stories posted just today. Aren't you really saying, don't post anything about COVID? There are people who value this information, and no obligation for you to read it. So what's the problem here?”
I wanted to give Keri a high five.
When a commenter accused the paper of imposing fear before the election by reporting the latest COVID numbers, Keri came through again: “So you are saying the newspaper should not report on the virus? We should all just pretend it doesn’t exist?”
Another topic, the Echo Press Editorial Board’s endorsement of political candidates, drew some Facebook comments that leaped to the wrong conclusion that the Echo Press must have just started doing this and that it was an effort to divide the community.
Thank you, Eve Westvik, for pointing out: “Newspapers have always endorsed political candidates. News is supposed to be unbiased, but the editorial section is not.”
And thank you, Janice Randall, for noting: “This is not a new concept. Editorial boards do this all over the country, and have as far back as I can remember. Which is far!”
In response to a commenter who said the newspaper should “reevaluate its ethics” for printing endorsements, Derek Birdsall hit the nail on the head: “Do you plan to reach out to every paper with an editor and editorial board and make the same request? Like it or not, papers make their recommendations in each election.”
Another Facebook commenter ridiculously suggested that the Echo Press’ parent company gets money from those they endorse. Hats off to Dieter Von Liechtenstein who promptly commented back: “They do this every election cycle. They have endorsed both liberal and conservative choices. It's the editorial board.”
I typically don’t respond to many Facebook posts – I’d much rather spend the time writing meaningful stories and editorials – but I did explain why our editorial board makes endorsements: “The Echo Press has been endorsing candidates as long as I have been working for it, more than 35 years. It is our job. We write editorials on community topics all year round. Falling silent during an election would be shirking our duty as journalists. We're not forcing anyone to follow our advice. It represents our editorial board's opinion and is based on face-to-face discussions with the candidates, what takes place at public meetings and debates, their responses to questionnaires, political mailings, insights from other sources, and other information. It is an informed decision based on many factors and one we don't take lightly.”
I know there are many more Echo Press “defenders” out there – on Facebook, out on the street, at their office water cooler – who support their hometown newspaper when some try to unfairly attack it. Thank you for standing up for the newspaper and speaking the truth.
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.