Putting together a newspaper is a challenging task. My folks put out two small town weeklies, the Batavia Beacon and Eldon Forum, it was always an adrenaline rush to get them put together and meet the deadline. My dad wrote a column for the papers, “Cy Sez” that would spark a little community controversy on occasion. I asked him once if it bothered him that what he wrote made some people mad. (It did make some people mad.) He told me there would always be folks who would not agree with him, but if it was worth saying it would be worth making some folks mad. I guess he was right about that.
Of the things that made some folks mad was the Sheriff and Court Reports. If I remember correctly, there were incidents where folks were willing to pay to keep something out of the paper, there were folks ready to fight because something made the paper, and there were lots who bought a subscription to the paper to read the Sheriff and Court Reports. Those reports ran neck in neck in popularity with the Obituaries and the school sports coverage. They all sold papers.
Lately, months and months, I have noticed there have been no court reports in the paper. I have noticed there is no shortage of crime and surely some of these unlawful incidents are answered to in a court of law. It used to be that the outcomes of these incidents were reported in the paper. It was a major reason why I bought a subscription to the paper. Perhaps the Court Report is too negative for a progressive community. Perhaps it offends folks, but unless our elected officials have put a kibosh to Court Reports folks need to know what is going on in the courtroom. How else are we to know if lawbreakers are held accountable? How else are we to know if those elected to criminal justice positions are doing their job?
I realize newspapers aren’t what they used to be. I realize there is a big difference between a small town weekly and a city daily paper, but there are many similarities and informing the public without bias is one of them. We need that honesty and integrity in a paper.
Thank you folks at the Union for what you do: it is a challenge to put out a paper, and I appreciate what you do, but also I am hoping you will include the Court Report in it.