Let's just begin by saying that I have, in the past, gotten mightily steamed over the type of coverage (and lack of coverage) of local issues by Balt Sun/HoCo Times. And over the years, as I have come to know our local reporters as human beings and learned how overworked they are and how little freedom they have in choosing stories, I have repented of my sins. Don't kill the messenger. They're working as hard as they can.
But--editorials. We need to talk about editorials. Most of the time we cheer if our cause is endorsed by them and shake our fists and gnash our teeth if it isn't. Rather like all those pseudo-valid surveys that tell us Howard County is the Most Valued Community, or whatever. We're happy to take validation without examining the source.
I think it's time to start questioning exactly "who is the man behind the curtain." This is particularly necessary after several editorials which almost appear to have been written by P.R. people from the Kittleman administration. Who are the people who write these editorials?
Do they live in Howard County? Do they spend most of their time here? Do their children attend County Schools? Are they committed to our community? Do they "get" what we stand for? These things are important if we are to expect that their editorial pieces carry some weight in adding to a community discussion of important issues.
If you have read this blog in the past you'll know I find it odd that Balt Sun and HoCo Times maintain separate editorial boards when it comes to endorsements for local elections. It is so clear that the two papers are inextricably entwined on a day to day basis--what is the point of two separate sets of endorsements? Do they really represent 1) a true Howard County perspective and 2) a Baltimore perspective?
Now it is indeed possible that the Howard County Times editorial board could meet all my requirements for truly local journalism and still hold forth on local issues with opinions opposed to mine. Editorials are after all, opinion pieces, and I don't get to dictate their opinions.
But I'm getting a rather creepy feeling about this whole HoCo Times editorial thing. Are we witnessing a change for the worse in the professionalism of the writers? Are we looking at the work of people from out of town who don't get it? Has it been this way for a while and we should have been questioning it all along?
We only have one source of local news. Period. Of course that is better than nothing. The reporters we have are working their butts off and doing their utmost best for us. But as to Oz, the Great and Powerful--I'd like to know a little more.