Do Readers Want Factual News?
For those of you who are not on social media, you may be unaware that we are members of The Associate Press and bring forth a lot of free National, Regional and Local news on our website www.thevillagereporter.com. A few articles will appear in our print product but due to the fact we have very limited print space in these trying economic times (print space is very costly), most of this content appears online for free.
These news stories are shared on social media and we have a big following, just under 22,000 follow our Facebook page for news updates – mostly readers from the Williams and Fulton Counties area here in Northwest Ohio.
With a large readership, we have had a fair amount of written attacks on our media outlet social media pages (towards the newspaper and myself personally), which proposes a question in the midst of a divided political election season …
Do Readers Only Want “Camp News”?
I do not hold a journalism degree from an Ivy League school, nor have I worked for a large daily such as the New York Times. But I have spent a few decades publishing local weekly news and during this time frame I have noticed a “shift” in readers.
Not necessarily a shift from wanting a print product to switch towards digital media. Not necessarily a shift from being a paid subscriber to wanting all news for free online. But a shift in wanting actual fact-based news.
I have made this conclusion from observing readers comments over the years and noting the business plan larger media outlets appear to follow. If you look at cnn.com you can simply read the headlines and know they are generally only going to have liberal slated articles or at least only materials lining up to the left’s mindset (omitting some key stories along the way).
The same holds true for foxnews.com as every headline seems to lean to a strong conservative right (omitting some key stories along the way). Both of these mega media outlets know what they are doing to reach those in their “camp”. Instead of presenting news that lacks political spin, they have a firm grasp on their faithful divided readers that agree with their political stance and could care less about the “other side” (in my humble opinion).
I call this “camp news”. If you are a Democrat, you likely want to hear from people with Rachel Maddow’s perspective. If you are a conservative, you want to hear from Sean Hannity’s point of view.
Many readers seem to want news that lines up with their political beliefs and “down with those” that may present challenging factual data that gets in the way of their opinions. #fakenews
I have a phrase that I use, certainly I would never suggest in a marital disagreement, “Don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinions”. While that is funny in a marital spat (well maybe), I find it sad that in the news world, media outlets generally are more interested in pleasing the eyes of their readers with half truths and likable opinons, than presenting unbiased and unpolitically motivated facts across the board that just may challenge political beliefs.
We Must Be Doing Something Correct – Those On Both The Left And The Right Attack Us
It is amazing how many people automatically associate us as being a “liberal news outlet”. That is like stating if someone is African American they are automatically a Democrat. Pretty judgemental in my book.
Yet some social media readers, often in the same post where we are being accused of being liberal, call us out for being overly conservative in our news coverage. Which is it, I’m confused?!?
It almost seems like a contest to see which side of the aisle I politically line up on and then assume that since I publish the print and online content at The Village Reporter, the newspaper would lean in that direction. Where did that assumption come from? Is this the new expectation that owners of media outlets have left for American readers?
Here is a news break, I’m personally an Independent who has very serious concerns about what he sees coming out of both political parties. Here is another news break, if we held a blind ballot election between President Trump and former Vice President Biden between our employees, I honestly have no clue who would win. While we generally do not discuss politics openly at the newspaper, I know our team has diverse political beliefs. Yet non of this matters or has anything to do with the news we publish.
It Is Not News!
The other popular statement I find when people disagree with our coverage is that the news we share is not “news worthy” to begin with. Last week when Joe Biden was endorsed by the Post Office Union, Jim Hay wrote “Not News” on our social media page.
Yet a few posts later when President Trump’s endorsement by the New York Police Union was published I heard nothing from those not liking the Biden article.
Another example of “It Is Not News” was when Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms in the world, allowed the hashtag #wrongtrump to be used recently after President Trump’s brother Robert died (meaning they wanted the President’s death instead).
Keep in mind this was one, if not the biggest reported story of the day around the world and this hashtag was shared by over 80,000 people at the time of our social media post. One of those using the hashtag #wrongtrump was a even a clergy member at the NAACP, which I found sicking.
Responses attacking the newspaper (and me) on social media:
–Tom Giesige – I’m out of here, you news is not worthy of being on my timeline !!! They add to the division in this country !!
–Sarah Kate – There are far more important issues and topics to report on is my point. Seems like it’s a tiny town paper with nothing else to do but stir the pot.
–Rae Aschliman This is not “breaking news” this is an example of tabloid news. Mean spirited too.
–Shawn R Smith – I love the fact that a trash paper has nothing better to report.
–Dixie Herr – This is pathetic. I don’t care which side you are for and for The Village Reporter to pass it on is equally pathetic.
–Anna Marie C. Caravels – What’s pathetic is the one who posted this at the Village Reporter thinks this is funny. We’ll get the last laugh when Trump wins this November.
–Heather Liechty – I don’t think it’s even something that should be reported. It’s barbaric and shows the “class” of the news reporting in today’s world.
–Shawn R Smith – #Cancelvillage reporter #unlike village reporter how’s that?
–Jodi Lynn Still – Keeping it classy with your (unbiased) reporting of “news” I see. Screw you Village Reporter.
While I can respect those that think this was not news worthy, I strongly disagree. If 80,000 people wanted any politician dead, I’m confident it is news worthy. I find myself wondering from the middle of the political aisle, if 80,000 wished President Obama harm, would it be a newsworthy piece then? Were these upset comments made because they disagreed with the facts or just did not like them? Classic “kill the messenger.”
Did these readers attack the other news outlets reporting this sickening death wish upon our President? Should we ignore 1500 people rioting in Portland too? How about the destruction of businesses in Chicago, is it not news worthy since its not a positive news piece?
Should we give a blind eye when the President makes one of his famous tweets? Or if we report on it, are we are just reporting hate? In Joe Biden’s words, “Come On Man!”
Of course we also have a lot of people that support our efforts to bring forth free news:
–Linda Mac – They report the news, good or bad. That’s what papers do.
–Timothy Kindinger – Nice to simply hear the news. And obviously there are those that don’t like to hear the truth…especially when it is factual and not an attack on our President. Thanks for sharing the truth. Looking forward to any more information you can find.
–Raymond Tarkington – Forrest R. Church just keep being real! Remember iron sharpens iron! Good job man!
–Sandy Roth-Carlin – Good job in reporting the truth! Keep your head up, not everyone likes to hear the truth no matter how awful it may be. After all, you didn’t write those terrible things, you just reported them. It just shows that evil truly exists in all walks of life. If you don’t like what The Village Reporter reports, then don’t read it. It’s that simple. No need to spread hate. If I don’t like what a tv station is reporting I turn the channel. We all are entitled to our opinion, but it would be nice if we all acted like adults!
–Scott Carlin – So let me get this straight. A guy who says he is a Christian says the wrong Trump died and wished the other one would die. And we trash a local paper for posting. And we trash both political parties. And we trash one another. Yet the guy that said it becomes a victim. Our President has said some dumb stuff (just like all of us and like the Presidents before him. And the President after him. But hating one another. Wish people would die. Let’s stop point fingers. And start owning our own crap. Instead of hiding behind politics and religion. We are allowing the few things that we don’t agree on divide us. Instead of looking for the best in each other. Just a thought. And before you get peed off I know it has to start with me.
We Work Hard To Bring Forth News Without Political Spin
I think my online comments below summarizes how we operate concerning our news coverage at The Village Reporter best. Ann Marie Parker wrote – Very sad!! I’m so happy to see a news source that prints the truth!! … I am unlike most and I do watch Fox new and CNN!! CNN has gotten harder to watch lately! I’m very political and I have chewed out reporters on Wane 15 in Ft Wayne as they blatantly post lies to start issues… between parties and race.
Forrest R. Church – I appreciate the kind words. You have to have broad shoulders in this industry, note the comments on this post. We are not a conservative media outlet, just one that fights hard to share unbiased news. Since most news outlets clearly lean heavily to the left (you can tell from their headlines in about 10 seconds on their home page), we are often associated as such. It’s likely if you are a conservative you will love one of our posts, then hate the next. Same thing if you are a liberal. It’s called unbiased news. We do not have our pockets financially padded to lean one way or the other. True journalism is just about dead in this country.
In closing we work hard whether it is a local, regional or international issues to truly be a source of news you can count on (while being unbiased). I often publish materials that irritates my personal political mindset, yet the materials are published regardless as the articles are fact based. Do you believe other media outlet “bosses” conduct this behavior?
“Do readers only want ‘camp news’?” I think it is a fair question. I’m not picking or calling out anybody that makes negative comments towards us on social media, it is easy to get into the “camp news” mindset, we may have all been guilty of this at one time or another.
I still believe the vast majority of our readers can read factual data that may conflict with their political views and not stage a boycott. I believe many will just scroll onto the next story that grabs their attention if they do not like the headline, or heck, maybe they will even read articles that challenges their opinions.
The “camp news” trend is certainly concerning as news should be depended upon to be unbiased and without political agenda; I’m however, not sure this is the direction the media in general is heading or even what readers truly want anymore.
I challenge those that question if we work hard to bring forth unbiased news to visit www.thevillagereporter.com and view our headlines which speak for themselves. One may make your political breath say “amen’, then next may make you cuss. Its called news, and like life, there is a lot we can like or dislike about what takes place in the world around us.
Have thoughts you would like to share? I may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org