Publisher's Notebook: Good newspapers ask the tough questions
Good newspapers make a difference. Good newspapers are the eyes and ears of readers who are awfully busy with their own lives but who want to keep reasonably informed on what is going on in their communities, schools, businesses, and government.
I was struck by this in looking over just a few of the stories our newspaper covered last week.
Our Manchester edition reported on a civil rights' groups claims that Manchester's schools and school board were guilty of "systemic” discrimination against minorities.
The group's facts and figures were way off, as we reported in followup stories. Two honorable members of the group, both Manchester residents, resigned. We reported that too.
We also shined the spotlight on the number of times a local teen had had driving incidents but lack of communication had kept him on the road. Another accident left his best friend dead and a local family grieving.
A few days later, we reported on yet another driver who had lost his license multiple times but was still driving and is now charged with striking a little boy who was riding his bicycle.
What difference do such stories make? In the case of the missed communication, it may lead to improvements in sharing such information. In the case of the man without a license, we hope it adds to the pressure to put such lawbreakers behind bars, which is the only way some people can be kept from behind the wheel.
We reported on a city fire and how the building owner has refused to board up the burned-out shell. We followed up to tell readers that the owner hasn't paid taxes on the property for four years yet the law requires the city to jump through more hoops before it can seize it.
Will the law be changed? We will look into it, and let you know. That's what a good newspaper does.
Write to Joe McQuaid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Texting + driving = deadly consequences
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