Recently, The News came under some scrutiny for coverage of a mosquito abatement proposal in Parish Council Districts 2 and 3. Of course, it’s social media scrutiny, but questions arose nonetheless.
For the most part, our opinion of local issues remains out of the paper. We’ll raise questions on these pages from time to time – and, of course, Call & Comment is always fun – but the point is our job is to report the news. Good, bad, indifferent … it doesn’t matter.
If there’s a thread of something going on, whether it be mosquito abatement, the road tax coming up next year, dirt fill, maybe the Community Rating System – we will cover these threads from start to finish to make sure that every face of the event is covered.
Maybe the information presented lines up with your opinion, maybe it doesn’t, that’s not for The News to decide. What is our decision to make is waking up in the morning, going out, and covering the news of Livingston Parish.
It’s an interesting time, truly, as opinions are so separated by belief and people fight so hard for the things in which they believe. The News understands that some folks oppose the current measure discussed, that being mosquito abatement, but there are plenty who support it as well.
There is two sides to all of these debates and we hope to provide that information to our readers as best we can. It’s quite fascinating to see both sides presented via a story or two different stories but watch readers focus on individual pieces of the pie with which they disagree. Facebook has been a lovely and charming forum for us as well.
Take, for instance, a recent series of postings by The News at a park board meeting. Three posts were made from the same exact position, within an hour of each other, and were delivered to three different audiences.
Watching the metrics on each post was just plain interesting, but the scary part about it was that each post said something a little different – and in one case, a post was delivered to the kind of audience that absolutely did not want to hear that side of the story.
In this case, it was that South Park would be “studied” but that nothing occurred.
In a vacuum, the post is untrue and doesn’t paint the best light in the world. The News’ follow-up story covered the misconceptions, but by then it was too late.
The moral of the story is don’t believe everything you read on social media; who’s to say how it got delivered, and understand that we are delivering the news regardless of tilt or opinion – we want the people of Livingston Parish to be as informed as possible.
J. McHugh David is editor and publisher of the Livingston Parish News.