Why the newspaper sometimes is not "nice"

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By The Staff

Recently we learned of a discussion involving a handful of local officials who were complaining that the newspaper hasn’t been “nice” to them.

We are surprised when we see experienced people in office who feel that “being nice” is our role in covering them.

Our role is not to be nice or mean — although we certainly try to be fair and civil.

Our role is to let readers and taxpayers know what the people whose tax dollars are supporting those officials — or being spent by them — are doing.

Is tax money being carelessly squandered?

Are these officials doing their jobs as they should be expected to? Are they responsive to those who elected them?

Are they letting petty clashes with other officials get in the way of their performance?

This country’s Founding Fathers recognized the importance of a watchdog press — that’s why they put important freedoms in the Constitution.

We would hope officials locally would have a similar understanding.

That said, we do plenty of “nice” things for public officials.

We run pictures of them at groundbreaking events.

We run stories when they have completed extra training that might make them better at what what they do.

And we frequently write about how they vote or stand on important government matters. Whether that is interpreted as “nice” or “mean” depends the reader’s stance.

A public relations agency, however, we are not. It’s nothing personal.

We’re just trying to do our jobs, the same as anyone else.