By Jamie Folsom
Managing Editor, Berthoud Recorder
The title of the conference was “Saving the News: The Future of Journalism in Colorado.” Interestingly, over 200 people attended, with two-thirds of them being non-journalists. The fact that so many showed up in Denver to criticize and support a fragile industry meant one thing to me — reporters aren’t the only ones with something at stake in the news.
Besides the panel discussion with Colorado’s media heavy hitters from PBS, NPR and major print media (who did get the “You’re lying!” treatment as one of the night’s funnier moments), roundtable discussions showed a wonderful variety — everything from funding public media and net neutrality to diversity in the news room. Citizens and journalists sat together and shared their thoughts on what to do to save the news from disappearing into the morass of canned speeches and 140-character tweets. I had the privilege of sitting at the “Holding local media accountable” table.
Citizens shared their frustrations and their suggestions on what their local papers and news outlets could do to earn back lost credibility, which is at an all-time low. Chief among the suggestions was to follow the stories that don’t get covered otherwise. I realized during the discussion that although we have pushed to find stories that other outlets miss — hazing at Berthoud High School and access to local public records to name two — we can’t expect to be the only ones who “seek out the truth and report it,” as the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics states.
Good media has always relied on citizen activists and those who are willing to speak up and get involved in the local civic process. This next week, we hope that you will take advantage of an opportunity to do just that as residents of Berthoud. We applaud the efforts of the organizers of Citizens First and hope their upcoming meeting (Tuesday, Sept. 29) is a catalyst for further action to improve Town services, quality of life and government transparency.
We are on the same team with citizens who show up, ask questions and expect appropriate responses from local policy makers. We will be there, too, as careful observers and recorders of what will hopefully be a new era in Berthoud history.
More information on Save the News at www.FreePress.net.