It’s no secret that the press has increasingly come under attack in recent years.
And while I believe too often these attacks cross a line — accusations of villainy, threats of violence, actual violence — I also believe much of the criticism is valid.
Reporters have too often not held themselves to the standards of transparency they purport to advance. Many media outlets and personalities have blurred the line between objective reporting and subjective punditry. Too often important stories are overshadowed by spectacle done for entertainment’s, not education’s, sake. And in some cases, outright fabrications are presented as fact.
It’s unfortunate — I could even say tragic — that so many people get fed up and dismiss “The Media” wholesale. But it is understandable.
With that in mind, I’d like to introduce myself to the Dunwoody community. Who am I? Why do I think I’m qualified to be the editor of your community paper? And how can you help hold me to the standards of accuracy, accountability and transparency I hold dear.
I was born in Nashville and grew up in the suburb of Franklin. I have two younger sisters and a stereotypical oldest sibling personality: driven, perfectionist, bossy. I went to public school for K-12th, and then on to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where I majored in communication and minored in international studies.
I didn’t realize I wanted to be a journalist until the end of my freshman year. One of my professors recommended that I work for the student paper, and that summer I interned with Home Page Media Group, the Appen Media Group of the south Nashville suburbs.
I remember being surprised I hadn’t considered reporting as a career path before then. It seemed to combine all of my strengths and interests: writing, reading, researching, people, politics.
Back at school, I focused my schedule on journalism courses and wrote for the student paper, which led to another internship with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. While I covered news for The University Echo, the TFP had be do community stories. Appen lets me do both, which I love.
After I graduated — summa cum laude, if I may toot my own horn — I was freelancing with the TFP and looking for a full-time job, which is how I ended up moving to Atlanta. In college, I had spent a summer working for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. and studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium, so my parents were glad I ended up only five hours away.
I started as a reporter focused on Johns Creek, and I must have done a good job, because a year later I was promoted to editor.
This spring, Appen bought the Dunwoody Crier and stopped it from going out of print. This summer, I moved into an apartment near Perimeter Mall. This August, our managing editor asked me how I’d feel about covering council meetings closer to home.
That’s how I became the editor of the Crier. I hope, by me recounting my life’s story, that when the paper lands in your driveway, or you pull it up online, you won’t think of the news as coming from “The Media,” but from a person with a name and a face. Someone who lives in the community and is working hard to keep its residents informed.
And when I make a mistake — because no matter how hard working or perfectionistic, I am only human and will make mistakes — I hope you let me know, so I can fix them.
Don’t feel like you need to wait until I make a mistake though, reach out to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Give me story ideas. Let me know what issues are important to you. Ask me your questions. I look forward to hearing them.
Sincerely, your neighbor,