Community journalism and the search for truth

Published 8:00 am Sunday, January 28, 2024

An Editorial Opinion of The Greenville Advocate

Community news publications differ from mainstream media outlets in a variety of ways. One difference and perhaps the most significant, is that community journalists cover their own towns, interview their own family members and friends, and expose or highlight their own neighbors.

Small-town newspapers like The Greenville Advocate, do not always get the scoop on breaking news. More often than not, a weekly paper’s staff sees the latest crime story on social media or hears about it across the fence of their own front yard, just like everyone else.

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And, while community members sometimes wonder, even allege, that the local newspaper is in league with town officials to keep unpleasant stories quiet, the reality is that the community journalist cares about sharing the truth more than most and takes pride in getting the facts, writing them well, and covering them accurately.

In 2018, the Washington Post sent a reporter with an agenda down to a small-town church in Crenshaw County. Under the guise of exploring southern religion, Stephanie McCrummen wrote a piece called “Judgement Day,” and twisted comments from members of First Baptist Church in Luverne aiming to emphasize how a small-town church could influence the political views and voting practices of a community.

Community journalists are in it to serve “their people.” They, we, take pride in highlighting the good and exposing the wrong. They rejoice in the triumphs of local student-athletes and mourn the loss of old and dear community giants.

The Greenville Advocate seeks to share the truth, discover what is hidden, emphasize what is good and celebrate community accomplishments. Our staff welcomes readers to share tips and information, photos and also write ups. Unlike the Post reporter, we want to highlight the good that local individuals, groups, churches and organizations are doing and to feature everyday men and women working to make their world a better place.

It is our pleasure to cover Butler County news and we invite you, our readers, to help us do that by submitting tips and story ideas to news@greenvilleadvocate.com.