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Aug. 15, 2020 | Saturday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Kudos for not abiding by town's PR restrictions

Dear editor:

It was both disturbing and heartening to read Richard Harley’s Feb. 6 editorial “Journalists don’t answer to public relations depts.”

In the editorial an email from the Town of NOTL’s communication department was reprinted requesting that all media inquiries regarding the town go through the author of the email and that journalists refrain from speaking directly to staff and Lord Mayor Betty Disero.

While Harley gives the PR person the benefit of the doubt, saying the “intent might seem friendly,” I don’t share his confidence.

One of the prime roles of journalism in a free society is to hold people in power accountable for their actions. To do this, journalists must be free to speak to sources directly and dig deep to uncover the facts behind a story.

The email from NOTL’s PR person is directly opposed to this. In essence they are wanting to be a filter who decides who a journalist can speak to, what information they receive and when.

I have no doubt journalists can be perceived by those with power as a nuisance who need to be managed. And, frankly, journalists don’t always get it right. But what’s the alternative? A society where press releases, misinformation, and spin dominate the news media?

While some may argue we are already there, it is the approach taken by The Lake Report and other responsible journalists that give me hope.

Kudos to Richard Harley for reprinting the email and stating in no uncertain terms The Lake Report’s journalists will continue to directly contact politicians and town officials when they feel it is necessary.

That is what citizens expect from journalists and I refuse to waste my time reading a newspaper that does not follow this principle.

Stewart Hall