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February 22
08:37 2019

The Reporter is pleased and proud to notice that, particularly on our Facebook page which has grown tremendously, we continue to be held to the highest standard of journalistic ethics. We would like to see this continue.

We note though, with great concern, vociferous criticism by certain persons who have maligned the Reporter for comments made by followers of our page. These persons insist that we should more closely monitor commentary on our pages, and should delete those comments which they claim are vile.

On February 11, 2019, the Reporter posted the good news of the return home of a young teen, who had gone missing just days prior. Since we had posted the news that she had gone missing, we thanked followers for caring and sharing the post when she was returned home. The post sparked testy commentary, for which we are being held responsible.

There are those who expressed that the girl was not really ‘missing,’ or in harm’s way. They generally believe that young girls who are reported missing go on escapades only to return home days later. Those who expressed that view were ‘attacked,’ so to speak, by those who condemned that thought process.

The Reporter was also taken to task for allowing those comments to be posted, by persons claiming we lowered our journalistic standard and in essence were allowing cyber bullying to take place.

Through this medium we address those comments and state that we don’t agree. We believe in freedom of expression. We believe that there are parameters to that freedom of expression. Those who post are not allowed to use expletives. They are not allowed the use of vile sexual expressions. They are not allowed to target, demean and ‘bully’ individual persons or groups. They are not allowed to instigate harm or violence on any person or party. But they are allowed to freely express their general opinions. And if they believe that often times these young girls are not really ‘missing,’ then they have a right to that opinion.

We do not take lightly the criticism aimed our way. We feel that it is unjust and unfair. We understand that there are persons who are strong in their positions, and unshakable in their stances on certain issues. They have every right to be that way. But being unshakable in your stance does not turn your opinion into a fact. No matter how strong an opinion is, it remains an opinion.

We encourage readers to express their opinions. The Reporter does its best to empower communication on all news platforms. With that goal in mind, it formulated “Community Standards” which are outlined on the upper right hand corner of our Facebook page.

That said, we note that this is not the first time comments have caught our attention, as well as the attention of others who condemn them. There have been many posts on many issues which have drawn atrocious and outrageous commentary. In many cases, we do not agree with what is expressed.

But it is not our responsibility as a newspaper, or indeed our intention, to censor public opinion unless, as we stated, it violates our journalism code. It is our responsibility to report the news. And that we do, responsibly and well. The rest is up to you.

We encourage readers to be respectful. Be smart. Be human. Add to the discussion, and help to grow our community in constructive ways.

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