It's been preached in the Times' newsroom for years, when various reporters from time to time are searching for topics to write about for various columns and editorials: Don't write about journalism or the newspaper industry or anything specific to how and why the Times, specifically, does what it does.

It's been preached in the Times' newsroom for years, when various reporters from time to time are searching for topics to write about for various columns and editorials: Don't write about journalism or the newspaper industry or anything specific to how and why the Times, specifically, does what it does.
 

   The rationale? The vast majority of readers simply does not care. Sure, being a journalist and working at one of the smallest daily newspapers in existence is a fairly unique job that brings unexpected twists and turns every day, but everyone's jobs are unique in their own way. But if you make an appointment with your dentist or your stock broker, it's probably because of something having to do with your teeth or your financial needs, not because you want them to explain to you at length what it's like to be a dentist or a broker.

    But, since jogging the memory doesn't turn up any recollections of recent mass shootings at any dentist offices or brokerage firms, and we can't find any tweets or rally speeches in which President Donald Trump has openly called on the masses to despise and distrust dentists and brokers for providing fake teeth cleanings or fake investment advice, we're going to talk here today about journalism and newspapers.

    Trump before he was even elected declared it open season on media outlets that didn't offer glowing reports of him on a daily basis, and, finally, a man with an obvious and public history of hatred and rage, mostly via social media, against that newspaper in Maryland followed through on his threats by meticulously preparing for his rampage and then killing five members of the staff with a barrage of shotgun blasts.

    No matter the size of the publication, this is important work. It takes responsibility because there are consequences. We can lift people up with a story or opinion piece, or knock them down. We can help, and we can hurt, and when we do the latter we know it's going to upset people. It requires an ongoing, daily exchange of thoughts and opinions in the Times' newsroom, and decisions on content are rarely cut-and-dried or black-and-white. There's always a gray area.

    We try to...oh, that's probably enough. Probably more than enough. Most readers likely moved onto something else around halfway through the second paragraph of this editorial.

    So, in order to wrap this up as expeditiously as possible, let’s just note that it’s pretty unheard of for a town of this size to have a newspaper that publishes five days a week. We work our tails off to bring you local news, sports and opinion in those five papers each week, but we know some of our content upsets certain people from time to time, and that we don’t always get everything right. When it’s confirmed that we need to correct or clarify something, we do that.

    The fact that a deranged person killed five people at the newspaper in Maryland is scary, but we won’t let it have a chilling effect on what we do.

– Mike Christopherson