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Keiser's RoleA column by Trevor Keiser

Power of the press

March 07, 2012 - "Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn't any doubt at all that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press." ~ "Conversations with President Kennedy," Dec. 17,1962.

In a world of cyber-media where any Joe, Dick and Harry can give "news" via YouTube or blogging. I still believe in the importance of actual reporters and journalists.

In a lunch discussion with a former local government official I was asked if it's hard to do the double duty of being a reporter (writing news stories objectively, honestly, and fairly) and being a columnist (giving personal thoughts, opinions, and insights on said news stories).

My answer was no. I look at news as giving the facts of an incident, with the thoughts and opinions of those who were involved. An example being a topic at a township board or city council meeting. The facts are what topic they discussed, and what the vote was. The quotes and opinions within are those of the various members of the board or council.

I think this is important because we the press are charged with making sure we not only get our facts straight, but we get both sides of a story. We let the opposing viewpoints be heard or in our case read.

Thoughts and opinions need to be challenged, including my own, This is why I am glad readers write Letters to the Editor to share their thoughts on what they've read either on the front page or in Keiser's Roll.

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permited freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is neccesary to keep the waters pure." ~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Marquis de Lafayette, November 4, 1823.

As a newspaper reporter/columinist I take the power of the press to inform objectively, honestly, and fairly the public on local issues. Also, to keep in check those who have been elected by the people with great responsibility. I will continue to do so to the best of my ability.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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