Journalists are not particularly good at telling their own stories.
They watch and think and analyze and report on what they find. They try to be invisible, or at least not part of the story. About the only time you hear of a newspaper crowing about an accomplishment is during award season, when our peers take a look at our work to determine who best met the high standard we live with everyday — that of serving as the eyes and ears of the people in our community.
Today we throw off our cloak and tell our own story to proclaim our mission, which has never been more important than it is now. Truly, we are not the enemy of the people but their stalwart representative at the table of power.
This nationwide call to arms, if you will, was the idea of Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor of the Boston Globe who oversees the commentary section.
She asked newspaper opinion writers around the county to produce an editorial or column pushing back against a president who has no understanding, and no interest in understanding, the role of a free press in a free society, a role set out in the United States Constitution.
A wonderful part of serving as a journalist for The Union Democrat is knowing that our community considers this newspaper its newspaper. Time after time, readers call and write about their newspaper, their community newspaper, their UD, their Democrat.
Our journalists are your neighbors. You see them at news events, to be sure, but you also see them in the grocery store and singing in bands at local restaurants and hiking our glorious Sierra — and telling you about it.
One of our reporters has a Wednesday night radio show of eclectic music on KAAD. A photographer regularly picks up and delivers food to the local food bank. We raise children and grandchildren and donate money to charity and serve on juries.
Some are multi-generation Mother Lode residents and others have just arrived. Nothing about that says we are your enemy.
Quite the contrary. Enemies work only for their own best interest. Enemies exude hostility. Enemies desire to harm you.
Rather, we take a stand for our community, in our editorials and opinion columns. We cover news that serves to strengthen who we are as a community and what we strive to be. An electorate without information is as weak as an un-watered garden. Withered and ineffective and going nowhere.
This is our mission: educate, entertain, enlighten. All e-words, not that other one that serves only to enhance one individual. Free speech is stifled in a world where journalists are considered enemies.
Some journalists, already victims of hate speech, including some at The Union Democrat, could be harmed in an environment like this. It’s an irresponsible abuse of the First Amendment, an amendment included to ensure no one person or organization has absolute power over our American life.