Do journalists and officials need to be adversaries?

journalists and officials
Must officials and journalists be at odds? (Stock image)

ELMHURST – In the course of covering local government in Elmhurst, it’s inevitable that at some point, The Elmhurst Titan is going to make someone angry.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to go out of our way to stir things up.

A lot of mentors in the world of journalism teach that good reporters are automatically antagonistic toward public officials. The thinking seems to be that by deliberately alienating the subjects of coverage, there’ll be no risk of cultivating too chummy a relationship and thereby compromising one’s journalistic integrity.

There’s also a lot of the polar opposite kind of coverage going on. In order to retain access and get quotes and information from officials, some journalists are too quick to go easy on local officials for fear they’ll be shut out of City Hall.

Like in most things in life, the middle course is the best.

At The Elmhurst Titan, we’re not going to go looking to pick fights. We’re not going to assume that officials are corrupt or clueless before we have any information to support that idea. We’re not going to be looking for some “gotcha” expose that’ll make a name for us at the expense of some official who might not deserve that treatment.

What we are going to do is tell the story of what’s happening in Elmhurst government. We’ll go into it with no agenda, no biases toward or against anyone. We merely want to inform the public of what is going on, and let you, the reader, decide.

However …

If, in the very unlikely event we do become aware of any kind of illegitimate governance, you can rest assured that we cannot be bought or dissuaded from bringing into the light that which is improperly hidden. For my part, I didn’t get into this business to ruin lives or make people look bad, but if I learn that someone has crossed a line, I can assure you that The Elmhurst Titan will be dogged and relentless in determining the truth. To do otherwise would be to be a mere cheerleader.

Again, this is unlikely. Elmhurst is a beautiful city with many great things going for it. Cities, for the most part, don’t flourish when they’re run by sketchy cabals with nefarious motives. It would come as quite the shock to find anything of that sort here.

We’ll be vigilant, fair and professional.