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Knowing is half the battle

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By Jennifer Caldwell

  In the newspaper business it is rarely necessary to go looking for trouble. Instead trouble almost always has a way of finding us.

Whether it’s the latest meth lab, the alleged misconduct of a school system employee or a kid getting left on the bus-those stories always make their way to us.

Truthfully the worst and most controversial stories always find us. Why? Who knows? But like it or not everyone seems to want to talk out the negative. It’s kind of like that train wreck you can’t look away from, I guess.

Just ask my partners in crime.

The minute something bad goes down the office phones and sometimes our personal cell phones start ringing off the hook.

Sometimes the calls come from people we know. Many are the unidentified callers just wanting to share a tip and maybe try to pump us for a little information while they’re at it. Shocking I know.

Where am I going with this you may ask? Well, let me fill you in.

I got my nose seriously out of joint at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting. After sitting for more than an hour and a half listening to a discussion about budget amendments, recommendations for pay increases and updates on the school department’s building projects I was ready to mark the meeting down as run of the mill. I suspect that most who were there still think it was.

Anyway, when the floor was opened up to the group for comments one particular board member gave a glowing report on the achievements of students participating in the county’s Career and Technical Education program which he learned about at a ceremony held to recognize the successes.

The board member went on to point out how disappointing it was that no one from the local media was present at the event. But he didn’t stop there. Instead he took another jab stating “(the public) never hears about these things.”

It was then I wanted to stand up and shout, “We can’t report on things we don’t know about.”

I mean really, it isn’t as if we blatantly chose not to cover the event because we’d rather fill the pages of our newspaper with nothing but the negative.

We were not invited to attend.

Now I’m sure there are some of you that by now are imploring me to just get over it. I’m sure I should, and I will.

But before I do I would be remiss if I did not point out some truths about the LaFollette Press.

Our news staff consists of 2.5 reporters. And those 2.5 reporters are responsible for covering the goings on of four municipalities, county government, five law enforcement agencies, utilities boards, a school department comprised of a board and 13 schools and the list goes on. While we do our dead level best to report the good, the bad and the ugly we can’t possibly know it all.

Last time I checked we were not assigned a crystal ball upon being hired. I’m not crying in my soup. That’s just the way it is.

If you know about something great that is coming up or has already happened give us a call. Don’t just assume we know about it. If we can’t make it we will be glad to include your submitted information pictures and all in our publication.

So the next time you pick up a copy of the paper and shake your head at all of the bad news, ask yourself if there was something you could have given us a tip on that would have made it better.

After all we are the community’s newspaper.