I don’t know what I don’t know
As the official Journal of West Baton Rouge Parish, it is our responsibility to cover “hard news.” But we realize the value (and fun) of covering community events to highlight the hard work West Side citizens put in to make the West Side the best side.
The Journal is run by human beings, believe it or not. The news is curated, written and designed by mere humans each week. We are not telepathic. We cannot be in two places at once. We make mistakes.
We work hard each week to deliver a paper to your door, or to the rack you pick it up from, that informs, entertains, and highlights members of the West Side. All of the hard work doesn’t always produce perfection, though.
I have had my fair share of mistakes in my three months as editor, but once something is published it is published. This is a fact I have come to accept, with difficulty. In an effort to maintain my sanity, I give myself 15 minutes to freak out about mistakes. Then, I write a list of improvements to help prevent future and repetitive mistakes. And I go on with my life.
One of my favorite bonehead mistakes happened last week. If you look in the sports section there is an article about the Brusly High softball program accompanied by a fabulous photo of a Port Allen High softball player. Now, we will implement a rigorous photo and caption checklist each press day.
I may be uninformed and a bit scatterbrained, but I am not an evil force of divisiveness as has been claimed. Yes, I have an agenda. It is to serve the governed, not the governors, with fair, accurate and balanced news each week. My philosophy is: report the news, highlight the community.
The quality of our newspaper each week is directly dependent on the community’s involvement and openness with the Journal. I encourage businesses, organizations and individuals to submit information regarding events and news. Without information from an organization about an event, concern or news, I am only able to cover it so well. When information is excluded from an article, it is not a reflection of my “agenda.” It is a reflection of my ignorance, or lack of information, on a topic.
It is my job to determine the news value of the information received, so please do not hesitate to share information you may be on the fence about. I won’t lie and say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but I’d rather a few dumb ones than none.
I have listened to citizens on a multitude of topics– from sewer problems to new construction to the importance of historical preservation. I haven’t written articles about every conversation I’ve had, but each discussion gives me a more in-depth and holistic idea of the people of this parish and their concerns. It is by far my favorite part of my job.
I strive to build and maintain relationships within this community not just for the sake of creating a quality newspaper, but because I genuinely enjoy learning about the West Side from its people. But as I have previously stated, I am but one human being and God gave me only one body with one brain in it. I depend on the community to share information with me each week. Without an open and ongoing conversation with the community, this newspaper would wither away.
I am here and willing to listen, attend and cover this community’s news and events. But I don’t know what I don’t know, ya know?