Friday, March 1, 2019

Opinion: Unremarkable News Shouldn't be Sensationalized

HAGERSTOWN, MD - In the past several years I have noticed a disturbing trend by local news media. In attempts to draw more people to their websites and generate ad revenue, certain local news media outlets are taking unremarkable events, such as a resident having a dispute with a family member and resolving it peacefully, or a resident winning a prize at a local fire department fundraiser, and running sensationalized headlines simply because the resident is a local politician.

Does a family dispute or winning a prize affect an elected official's capability to serve the community? Not really. Then one must wonder why local politicians are being targeted with such tactics, when if the stories were about any other member of the public, the stories would not be newsworthy. While yes, our elected officials should be held to a higher standard, dragging a person's name through the mud because of a family dispute should never be acceptable.

How would the staff at local news media outlets feel if WashCo Chronicle were to start publishing every time one of their staff received a speeding ticket, failed to pay back a loan, or any other such items which are non-stories for everyone else in the community?

How far have we fallen, that we must sensationalize the struggles of our local officials in their personal lives? We all have family.  Family fights. The world doesn't need to know your dirty laundry.

This sort of disregard for the personal lives of our elected officials is why many good people simply don't run - because they don't want the public spotlight. Everyone has skeletons in their closets, and while most of them are minor, it only takes one hastily written news article in poor taste to shed a negative light on that person, damaging not only their position as an elected official, but possibly their entire professional career.

I'd like to challenge other local news media outlets - don't sensationalize non-stories.  Stick to the stories that actually affect the lives of the community, and let our local officials have some privacy.

This is an opinion article by Ken Buckler, Editor. The WashCo Chronicle is an independent news aggregator and news source. We have made every attempt to publish only factual information, but if we made a mistake please let us know and we'll correct it as soon as possible.  The best way to reach us for corrections or news tips is through our Facebook page.