Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

September 16, 2012

Giving one side an edge

LOGANSPORT — A letter writer last week insisted that he had seen evidence of bias in the stories we had published about the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

“Sept. 2, there was an article about President Obama bashing Gov. Romney,” he wrote. “Sept. 3, there was an article about President Obama bashing Gov. Romney. Sept. 9, there was an article about President Obama bashing Gov. Romney. Sept. 10, there was an article about President Obama bashing Gov. Romney. There have been zero articles on Gov. Romney.”

I pointed out to him that the articles he mentioned appeared in the days surrounding the Democratic National Convention, so it was natural there would be stories in which the president would be critical of his Republican opponent. I also had to acknowledge, though, that we did not have a corresponding number of stories about Mitt Romney in the days surrounding his party’s gathering.

So that means the Pharos-Tribune must be slanting its coverage in favor of Barack Obama, right?

Actually, no. The amount of space we devote to news across the nation and around the world has a lot more to do with what’s going on in our neck of the woods than it does with what we think about the news elsewhere.

Every day, we try to fill much of our newspaper with news about what’s going on right here in Cass and surrounding counties. We generally fill our front page with what we see as the top local stories of the day. We fill page A3 with the police blotter, a selection of briefs and an occasional story or two in addition to the standard listing of calendar items and government meetings.

On page A2, we print that day’s selection of obituaries, and we devote the remaining space to a brief summary of what’s going on in the rest of Indiana and around the world. Often, that amounts to a selection of briefs.

What happens, though, when the whole page fills up with obituaries? Or when we have more local news than will fit on the front page and page A3?

Well, on those days we print little or no news from across the country and around the world.

And that’s pretty much what happened in this case. We printed less news from the Republican convention because we printed less news from anywhere outside Cass and surrounding counties.

Nonetheless, the reader made an important point. Though we believe our readers turn to us primarily for local news, we do recognize that they want at least a capsule of what is happening everywhere else. And we do our best to deliver that.

When the news of the day dictates that we provide less of a capsule, we know we’re letting down a segment of our readership, and we try hard to make those days the exception rather than the rule.

After going back to check our coverage of the conventions, I sent a note to staff members pointing out the disparity. We do need to give priority to local news, but we should also be aware of the kind of coverage we’re giving to state and national issues.

If we have four stories about President Obama, our goal should be to have an equal number of stories about Gov. Romney.

We won’t always succeed in that. Local news will always be our priority, so intervening factors might well lead to disparities like the one pointed out by the complaining reader.

We will do our best to be fair, and if you find evidence that we’re coming up short, I hope you won’t hesitate to let us know.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any

    April 20, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Letters for Sunday, April 20, 2014 Power forum hopes to answer questions Do you pay electric bills? Then you are invited to learn how Public Power can often lower electric rates. Logansport's coal firing plant must be shut down within two years, and our contract with Duke expires in f

    April 20, 2014

  • GUTWEIN: Strengthening Indiana for Hoosier veterans America's legacy was built on the foundation created by our brave service men and women. Whether they defended our nation's borders overseas or assisted Hoosiers during the harsh winter months, we need to do everything we can to make Indiana the best

    April 20, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Baseball's sacred temple Call it a character defect, but I don't like baseball. And I especially don't like the Chicago Cubs -- losers I never found lovable. I grew up less than a mile west of Wrigley Field and games there represented summer-long inconveniences such as midda

    April 20, 2014

  • HOWEY: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 20, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Littering shows disregard for surroundings Numbers tell a sad story about the disregard many Hoosiers have for their surroundings. Too many in Indiana don't care enough about the environment to prevent them from cluttering the countryside by carelessly tossing litter along the side of roadway

    April 18, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

  • PETERS: Grizzly bear may help human medicine I've gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way. Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 1

    April 18, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Lawmakers fail to act on the issue After several years of fretting over Indiana's ongoing methamphetamine problem, the Indiana General Assembly continues to struggle for a solution. The issue seems to come up every session, given that Indiana leader the nation in meth lab seizures. Bu

    April 17, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.