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November 19, 2017

11/8/2017 10:36:00 AM
We are different
Brooke Bechen
Reporter/News and Features

Flipping through the TV channels Monday night, I stopped at a news segment for DailyMailTV. An out-of-place journalist was on the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, pointing to a blinking traffic light in the center of an intersection in the small town. She yelled into the microphone something about the town being so small that it didn't even have a stop light, only this blinking yellow light at the intersection.
As she flailed her arms, her cameraman whirred around. And that's when I saw it. She, and the entire town, was surrounded by over a hundred TV news vans, flocking to this small community at the opportunity for high ratings and breaking news.
The unincorporated community of Sutherland Springs, Texas, has about 300 people in its population. I thought of the small towns in Iowa County with similar populations. Then I asked myself how I would feel if some out-of-towner news anchor shoved a microphone in my face or camped out in my front yard, waiting for a big break.
The work I do at The Chronicle is different, I told myself. We're not out for high ratings, although we do appreciate when people read our newspaper. We're not out to exploit a bad situation, although we do have to cover bad situations on occasion.
We're different.
Comments from our president on "the media" flooded into my mind. We're the enemy of the American people, all we do is promote fake news, we hate our country and that we're all failing.
We're different, I told myself again.
And we are different.
A community focused newspaper serving a small population - the residents of Iowa County - is different than a national news conglomerate. We know the people in our communities, and we respect them. We know the news in our communities, and cover controversial events with sensitivity.
Ten percent of the population of Sutherland Springs, Texas, was murdered Sunday. How many journalists from out of town have truly thought about that?

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