The “b” word is a euphemism generally used to replace a profane word starting with the letter b.
No, I’m not talking about that word. It’s this word.
Since I started My Edmonds News six years ago, I have heard more than one public official say (with distaste, I might add), “I don’t read the blogs.” Now granted, it used to be that Edmonds had several online-only publications. There was Edmonds KOMO. And Edmonds Patch. And Pivot. And maybe a few others I’m forgetting. So it could be that some online sites were viewed as less credible than others.
But now that all of those publications have gone away, I still hear people make that comment. “I don’t read the blogs.”
OK. You mean, My Edmonds News? Because we are the one publication that shows up when no one else does. Every Edmonds City Council meeting. Every Edmonds School Board Meeting. Every major event. We don’t miss much. And we always photograph and often videotape the big events too, so that there is a way for folks to see what happened later.
So let’s get to the definition of a “blog.” According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, it’s “a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences.”
My Edmonds News clearly doesn’t fit that definition. While we have columnists who talk about their activities and experiences with food or parents or travel, we label them as such (just as newsprint publications do). While we accept letters to the editor or opinion pieces, we also label them as such (just as newsprint publications do).
But I can say with absolute certainty that those My Edmonds News writers reporting on news events strive to be objective in their reporting and analysis of local issues. We do not seek to mold or influence public opinion. We do not editorialize. We do not advocate for or against candidates for public office. We do not take sides in voter initiatives. Rather we seek foster an informed public opinion through objective reporting that gives citizens the information they need to gain an unbiased understanding of issues and events in the news. We hope that by doing this, we encourage citizens to become more engaged in the community — just as (most) publications printed on newsprint strive to do.
Still, I get why some people feel the need to discredit online news sources.
Putting information online means that people can comment on stories. They can also debate each other. There’s no waiting for the weekly newspaper to post a few letters to the editor, and then waiting another week for someone to post a response. In fact, there’s no waiting at all. Both the criticism and the praise is immediate. And it can be uncomfortable, especially when you’re in the hot seat.
I know, because I’ve been there myself. Readers have called me out when they thought I made a bad decision. And I’ve either defended it, or I’ve owned up to a mistake. (OK, sometimes I’ve ignored it too.)
Here’s another recent example. Last fall, the City of Edmonds conducted a survey to gather opinions on the Sunset Avenue Walkway. One question asked respondents how they would prefer to receive information on the project, with choices ranging from public meetings to email to My Edmonds News to the Edmonds Beacon weekly newspaper.
Interestingly, 68 percent of survey respondents said they’d like to receive information via My Edmonds News (compared to 49 percent who preferred the Beacon). Not bad, I thought.
But then, as I scrolled through the survey comments, I got a much-needed reality check.
“My Edmonds News is merely a blog,” one commenter sniffed. “It is not a newspaper of record, and should not be used as such.”
“My Edmonds News is a blog not a newspaper, by the way,” another commenter added.
I will agree that we are not a newspaper. And I am really glad about that. We have very low overhead. We are able to post information quickly and efficiently. We don’t have to wait for the presses to run or the ink to dry. We sent out a daily email newsletter every morning at 4 a.m. (just like having a newspaper delivered in your driveway, only you don’t have to walk through the rain to get it).
That said, we do have expenses. We pay writers and editors and photographers and graphic designers and ad sales reps. We pay for technical support and web hosting. And we give back to many worthy causes in the community, too. We value the support of our advertisers and we can never thank them enough. And we have loyal readers who pay for a voluntary subscription — weekly, monthly, annually or one-time — via credit card or check. You can learn more about those options here.
It seems fitting, then, to close with yet another comment from the Sunset Avenue Walkway survey:
“I prefer My Edmonds News because its news is click-able and more versatile and you can go back to ‘old”‘ editions of news articles. Nowadays paper is for bird cages.”
Have you subscribed yet?
Until next time,
Teresa Wippel, publisher