Benjamin E. Mays


Something has happened to the watch dog that is supposed to be the advocate of the people. When the First Amendment was put in to protect the Freedom of the Press and other freedoms of speech, it placed the newspapers (an now media) into the position of being the ones that report on the actions of the government to the people. At least they did.

In today’s world it is hard to find unbiased reporting in most of the media and journalism has taken a huge hit in the process of what they are supposed to do. To report fair and unbiased. Most people will agree that there is a definite opinion that has been infused into the media.

But imagine yourself working in the world of newspapers and being owned by a group of people who are there only for the money? How do you keep the fine line of opinion and reporting facts separate in today’s world?

What I write is opinion. Many papers pick up what I produce and use it because there are readers who really like what I say. Some do not agree with me and that is OK. I have always explained that the reader does not have to agree with me. I just want everyone to think and dig for the facts.

I noticed something the other day that really bothers me. I went to read it for myself when I saw the news that the person had posted on my Facebook.

Let me take a second here to say something. Ron Sylvester has been the Editor of the Hutchinson News for some time now. Ron comes from very impressive working experiences in the field of newspaper journalism.

We have had a lively back and forth for a long time. We do not agree on everything and that is normal. No one should. As the Editor of the Hutch News Ron has fielded a lot of comments both for and against and that is part of his job.

We have never met but one day Ron has stated that we need to get together and get to know each other because what I write intrigues him. I hope that someday we do.

Now the thing that I went to read about was the legal section of the Hutchinson News. It is a requirement that each paper have the information on the people and contacts for the paper. As you know the family that owned The News sold it to a huge conglomerate a few years ago. And not long after the sale there was a huge layoff of people and the presses stopped. Now the paper is produced in Dallas Texas. (at least as of my last information)

When I looked for Ron’s name as Editor it was not there. In fact there is no one listed as editor. Yes Ron was laid off. The corporation has laid off another 300 people from a huge list of papers that they own.

The News used to be the paper for the whole of Western Kansas. It has become more of a local paper since most of the papers in Western Kansas are all owned by the same company. (look how much they save on just website formats)

The burden on the remaining employees has gotten heavier and control is out of state. With the other major paper in the western two thirds of the state costing a huge amount to subscribe to, the News picked up the burden for a while.

When the people who are supposed to be the line of information for the electorate have moved on from the local to a regional, and there is no real pulse of the readership, we see the confusion that is now the state of our country.

I wish Ron the best for his new move into the FREE Lance world. Notice the emphasis. I still hope to meet Ron someday and discuss current events.

To those left at the News, I wish the best and hope that you can still produce a paper that is in the best interest of the readership.

The fourth Branch of Government is now just the shadow of what is was meant to be.

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