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January 30, 2009 - Michael Palmer
As a photographer I have heard this from my editor, “We need a sensational feature photo for the front page,” he says after reviewing the Associated Press collection of news photography available from across the nation. I try to explain that the camera records what light is reflected off of whatever is in front of the lens, or in other words, “What you see is what you get.”
Unlike the clarity of the camera lens, the recent hooplah on local radio may have led some area residents to form a “distorted” image our local print media. I overheard in related conversation a disturbing notion that some people feel that what fills the pages of our local newspapers is not real journalism.
In their opinions, local journalists do not do the kind of investigative reporting and find the controversial stories which are the hallmark of major market television news programs. They point to the stories which form the main content of our daily new papers – reports from county and city government meetings, coverage of business or school functions sprinkled in with some human interest and sports stories.
While it is true that in the usual day-to-day our local newspapers do not feature articles on violent crimes or have sensational front page headlines; there are front pages from historic editions of the Times Leader that line the walls of the newsroom. And while not every edition is memorable, it is important to remember that the newspaper is a reflection of the local communities and the people that live and work in them. We live in an area where murders, kidnapping and drug-related crimes are rare and if this means that the newspaper is boring, we should also recognize that this is something to be thankful for.
This is not to excuse any reporter from effectively executing their job. I am sure that there are times the writers here become work weary and wish they could dump their mundane writing tasks onto someone else. Like our readers, the reporters enjoy some articles more than others. I am sure each of our reporters has dreamed of writing a story that is picked up by newspapers across the country. Would it be exciting to have my photos of a local tragedy make front page in newspapers across the world - Yes. , but it is also important for our readers to keep in mind that in many of these “big” stories the lives of our friends and neighbors are negatively impacted.
So maybe the boring daily news is actually a blessing.
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