From the assistant editor

Thank you for the thank you

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 9:00am

We don’t do our job for the thanks. We stay in this line of work because it suits our skills, it matters to us, or, ideally, both. That makes the best product, like in any business. But in recent years, mostly at the national level, a practice of chiding and otherwise disrespecting journalism and journalists has been on a roll with no end in sight.

If we as reporters had as little regard for balance and truth as some have suggested, our jobs would be a lot easier – no need to get it right, just say what sounds good, and serve it up; no laborious fact-checking, attributing, and other followup. We’d get more stories done that way, but we would have to change our name, because that is not what Boothbay Register, Wiscasset Newspaper, our online sister paper Penobscot Bay Pilot, and our colleagues-competitors around Maine and the nation stand for.

Gov. Janet Mills’ press team emailed Maine media New Year’s Day with a supportive message on behalf of Mills and her administration. Signed “with gratitude” by Scott Ogden and Lindsay Crete, it reads in part:

“As we look back upon this past year, (we) are grateful for the work that each of you has done to keep Maine people informed of the news in their communities, often despite limited resources and typically under tight deadlines. We recognize, appreciate, and respect the critical role you play in reporting that news and holding the powerful accountable. Thank you.

“In us, we hope you have found a responsive, fair-minded, and professional communications team. While it is natural that tension exists between the press and those they cover, (we) believe that everyone should be treated professionally and with respect, even in the times when we most fervently disagree. We will continue to strive for that standard.

“With our first year in office drawn to a close, we wish you the best and look forward to working with you in this new year.”

Same here. Thank you for getting it; and for standing up for what we do. Thin skin has no place in news. But a thoughtful word is a reminder that when the arrows fly, not everyone feels that way. Nice is energizing, and always appreciated.

Week’s positive parting thought: These have hit their one-year mark. Let’s keep it going, shall we? This week’s: Wear blue Jan. 9 in support of our local police and sheriff’s agencies on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. The non-profit National Police Foundation has other ways to honor the day at policefoundation.org