Repeaters vs Reporters: There's a difference - 03/10/14


    So many factors over the last decade have hastened the pace of news gathering and reporting and hence watered down what you read or see.   With 24 hour news cycles, instantaneous live shots, news via social media, online newspapers and cable news----   it's nearly impossible for many reporters to meet their numerous round the clock demands and still have time left over to 'investigate' possible wrongdoing or abuse of power.  Unfortunately, this has lead to more propagandists parading around as journalists.  They don't have the time or know how to perform the watchdog function of journalism because they've never been given the time to do so.  Therefore,  they take the easy way out and become repeaters as opposed to reporters.  They simply report and print what officials tell them.  They reflect the status quo and do nothing to effect change or right wrongs.  They, in essence, become an extension of the very government they're being paid to cover supposedly with impartiality. This is a disservice to all news consumers because you aren't getting the whole truth and that type of reporter is not fulfilling his or her true journalistic duty. 
     I think most journalists started out, as I did 22 years ago, with the altruistic responsibility to hold those in power accountable.  Taxpayers themselves are busy doing their own jobs and raising kids and they do not have time to pore through hundreds of documents looking for misuse of government funds or lax spending.   This is my job,an awesome responsibility, which I take very seriously.  Watchdog journalism is the backbone of my profession.  Investigative journalists serve as protectors of taxpayer money.  If you want to see anarchy, do away with The Fourth Estate.  Freedom of the press and our function as watchdogs helps keep abuse of power and reckless spending in check.  I'm thankful to work at a news organization, Fox 17, that still values this function of journalism and invests time in these reports that effect change. We call these reports Waste Watch at Fox 17.
   I'll end by saying, sometimes 'officials' who have not followed the rules as they should, will attempt to deflect their displeasure of being exposed.  This has happened  more recently in the case of Hendersonville where many bona fide news organizations have uncovered questionable spending habits and brought to light some troubling findings.  Fox 17 has aired several Waste Watch reports showing city officials using taxpayer funded credit ards to buy wardrobes and using state street aid meant for paving and fixing roads to buy SUV's used for personal use instead.   We, at Fox 17,put the information out there and let taxpayers draw their own conclusions.  So far, we haven't had one tax payer contact us upset that we're working as a watchdog for them.  However, we've had a few select city officials in Hendersonville who like to deflect the truth by attempting to place  blame back on reporters for what they call bad publicity.  They've blamed reporters because their annual audit was late getting to the state.  They say reporters were initiating too many Freedom Of Information Requests and this prevented them from completing the audit on time. There's just no logic there and any right minded taxpaying citizen can see straight through that--- it's deflection at its finest.  Now, they're somehow trying to say it's the reporters again who are hurting economic development and causing companies not to choose Hendersonville.  Reporters don't hurt a city.  Reporting on wrongdoing doesn't hurt a city.  The wrongdoing itself hurts a city.   EXPOSURE of misspending doesn't hurt any city.  The ACTUAL ACT of misspending is what hurts a city.  The cart comes before the horse.  There would be no exposure if there were no wrongdoing.  That's like a kid, who got into the cookie jar when he wasn't supposed to, blaming his mom for his own actions by saying,'It's my mom's fault because she bought the cookies.'   My mom always taught me if you mess up, you fess up.  That's still timely today. 

   I'm proud to be a real journalist, a watchdog, a member of The Fourth Estate.  I make no apologies, whatsoever, for doing my job and doing it well.   I, too, am here to serve the taxpayers. 



 

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Last Update on March 30, 2015 07:07 GMT

PINK CHICKENS

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- If someone said they saw pink elephants, you'd ask what drinks had gotten into them. When people in Portland, Oregon spotted pink chickens -- it turned out it was because of the drinks the birds had gotten on them. Animal control officials picked up the pink pullets after they were spotted running loose in the city's waterfront park. Turns out the owner used food coloring, beet juice and Kool-Aid to dye the birds. He says he released them for a while to "make people smile." He may not be smiling at the result. He got a bill for the time the chickens were in county care -- and a scolding about the dangers of releasing birds in public areas.

PIANO MOUNTAIN

CALABASAS, Calif. (AP) -- You've heard of Mount Rushmore and Mount Everest -- but Mount Piano? Hikers who made the trek up to Topanga Lookout in the Santa Monica Mountains of California recently have come upon an odd sight: a battered upright piano, sitting on a graffiti-covered concrete slab. Turns out the piano was used for a music video. The video producer says he and four others used a dolly and rope to haul the 350-pound instrument a mile up the trail last week. After the shoot, it was too dark to get it down. The video maker says while it seems people are happy to see it there, he will haul it back down if necessary.

SNACK RUN

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- We've all had those times: you have a craving for something to eat or drink in the wee hours, and hop out of bed to get it. In this case, the person with the craving in the wee hours was a wee lass: just 4 years old. And to get to the store, she hopped on a Philadelphia bus. Police say the girl slipped on a purple raincoat, slipped out of her house at 3 a.m. in a downpour -- and boarded the bus. Driver Harlan Jenifer says the girl swung her legs in her seat as she chanted, "All I want is a slushie." The driver called police, who took the girl to a hospital where she was reunited with her mom. Authorities say the girl's family was unaware she had gone on her slushie run.

ANGRY BIRDS?

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) -- It's a game of angry birds no one in Melbourne, Florida wants to play. Officials say ducks, geese, seagulls and other feathered friends are acting more like feathered fiends -- chasing people and tying up traffic in Wells Park. Animal officials say it appears the birds are losing their fear of people. And in some cases, that means people are gaining a fear of birds. City Manager Mick McNees tells the Florida Today newspaper three white geese chased him as he jogged in the park. He says he had trouble scaring the birds off -- but fears that an older person or child may not be able to. Officials have put up signs barring people from feeding wildlife to try to restore the balance of nature in the park.

 
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