We get a lot of requests for stories, or coverage of events, throughout the year. Most of these requests are polite and professional – and we do our best to accommodate all of them.
Sometimes we can’t make it out to every event. Sometimes we have to ask for our readers or event organizers to share their photos with us when we can’t make it to something they’ve asked us to cover.
But we always do our best to make sure that everything that matters to our readers is covered, even if we have to prioritize and sometimes things get pushed back a week or two.
Our regular readers already know that we have a very small staff, and that Carter County is a large area to cover.
Though we do our best to stay on top of everything, there are things that we aren’t going to know about. And we really appreciate it when our readers fill us in and let us know what it is we’re missing out on.
But we do have one simple request when you are communicating with one of our contributors, part-timers, or interns; please be polite and be courteous.
Other than myself, there are no full-time employees with our paper.
We aren’t a corporate owned entity with a team of folks at our beck and call. We are locals, and we care about the communities we cover.
So, it bothers us when someone thinks we’re intentionally slighting them or their organization.
This happened recently when someone reached out to ask why a particular event hadn’t received any coverage. Though the tone was somewhat abrasive and accusatory, I responded professionally and explained we were unaware of the activity in question. I then told the individual that I would be glad to assign someone to cover it and asked them to reach out to one of our part-time writers.
When I saw what they wrote to our reporter, however, I was confused and angry.
Even though I explained the situation, and promised coverage, they had followed up with my reporter in an even more aggressive manner – accusing them of purposely slighting their organization and blaming them for the lack of coverage.
Let me be clear here – neither I nor anyone who writes for me is psychic. We cannot read your minds. We don’t know things unless you tell us about them.
And we do not owe you any special coverage.
We want to cover your event. We want the community to know what is going on.
We take great pains to make sure city council meetings, county fiscal court, and other government events are covered. That is our main priority.
But we also care a great deal about arts, sports, music, and community events.
We’re more than glad to make time to talk to you, and to write a story about what you have going on. If it’s time sensitive and we can’t make it in time, we’re glad to accept submissions from you or your organization.
But abusing our reporters will not be tolerated.
If you have issues with our paper, or our coverage, or one of our writers, you are always free to take it up with me. I’ll gladly listen, and I’ll provide you with my candid and unvarnished opinion.
But I will not ever make anyone who works for me put up with abuse from an interview subject.
There is a sure way to make sure you get the coverage you want, though. All you have to do is ask. Nicely.
It really isn’t that hard to do.
Jeremy D. Wells
Editor, Carter County Times