Editorial: Pulling back the newsroom's curtain

  • The staff, Editor John Lampinen, center, and Managing Editor Jim Baumann, left, celebrate the Daily Herald's recent Illinois Press Association honors.

      The staff, Editor John Lampinen, center, and Managing Editor Jim Baumann, left, celebrate the Daily Herald's recent Illinois Press Association honors. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board

In the past couple of years, we've recognized more than ever the obligation we have to promote news literacy.

We've written about this frequently in editorials in this space.

Beyond those editorials, our staff has worked with the News Literacy Project as well as some area educators and librarians to develop an interactive program that our editors have presented around the suburbs, including a five-part series we offered last fall through the Community Education program at Northwest Suburban High School District 214.

As we've reviewed the work we have done on this whole Facts Matter topic, it's dawned on us that we need to do more to let you see inside the newsroom.

It dawned on us that we need not only to introduce you to your neighbors here who cover the news and those who make the calls about what we cover and what kind of play it receives, but we also need to do a better job of explaining how we report on stories and the origin of policies that guide us in our coverage.

So on Monday, we're going to try an experiment. We're going to devote this page to something we call, "Pulling Back the Curtain." You can find the elements of the print page online at https://www.dailyherald.com/topics/Pulling-Back-The-Curtain/.

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It will be the first of a monthly series of stories and explanations about how we do what we do.

On occasion, we'll try to have a little fun with it, but the point is to inform.

As professionals working inside the newsroom, we take some of the thought that goes into our coverage for granted, but it's probably not as readily apparent outside the newsroom as it is inside.

We want you to know us, and that's certainly part of our motive for doing this.

But mainly, we want you to be part of an informed citizenry and one of the ways you get there is to understand where you're getting your information and to see into the operation well enough to assess the biases and safeguards involved in the reporting. So, we're going to pull back the curtain and, over time, try to share that with you as objectively as we can.

As we've said in this space before: if we the people are to be the republic's governors, we have a responsibility to actively seek the truth and to do so through reason, not emotion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Yes, facts matter.

We believe that to get at the facts, we all have to work. We must be neither naive nor cynical, but instead constructively skeptical -- to tirelessly search for truth, to think critically, to challenge our own views at the same time we're challenging those of others.

In the end, it's up to news consumers to vet what they are reading.

And a big part of that is to vet who's doing the reporting and writing.

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