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Reflections on Covering News in Wayland

Patch came to Wayland a little more than three months ago, and I've learned a lot very quickly.

Well, I have successfully navigated my first experiences with town elections and town meeting in Wayland. I’m strangely exhausted and energized at the same time.

Exhausted because I’ve basically been “sipping” from a fire hose all week long, doing my best to take everything in and then somehow put it back out there so that you, the readers, can be informed and aware.

Energized because this week has been an exercise in why I got into journalism to begin with: The challenge of learning new things and then turning around and teaching those things to others; meeting with and talking to people who all have stories and opinions and backgrounds to share; and staying up late to make sure all the information I collect makes sense and adds value to the readers who deserve to be informed.

The biggest challenge of all has been determining what is important to the people of Wayland – what do you want to know about and how can I ensure you get the information you seek?

The truth is, I will never be able to write everything you want to read or attend all the gatherings you want me to attend. But I can (and will!) adhere to the following principles:

I operate an entirely online news source, so my deadlines are constant. It gets busy for me, but for you it means that you can often expect coverage of important meetings and events to post on Patch just hours after the event. In the online world, news becomes old quickly, and I have a unique opportunity and charge to keep you up-to-date … not two weeks late.

That doesn’t mean I will cover everything, but it does mean that what I do cover will be done with an eye toward timeliness. It also means I need to know what’s important to you, so I can be there.

Patch has a policy of fairness and objectivity in its news coverage, and I am committed to that policy not just because Patch insists upon it, but because that is what good journalism is about. Patch, however, acknowledges “true impartiality is impossible because human beings have beliefs,” and “in the spirit of simple honesty” asks editors to “reveal their beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable.” Frankly, I am excited to have the opportunity to be transparent with you – I much prefer everything to be out in the open.

So what does all this really mean about the way Patch covers the news? It means that you can and should expect coverage on Wayland Patch to be timely, objective, relevant, informative and, I hope, interesting.

It does not mean you’ll necessarily agree with the way I choose to cover something. Wayland is fortunate to have many vocal, passionate and active residents with strong opinions – and the research to back them up – on every side of every issue. It’s unlikely that I will ever write a story with a tone and focus that pleases everyone, but you are always welcome to comment on the articles and let me and other readers know that. In fact, I encourage it.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Wayland throughout these past several months. I’m confident that I’ve barely begun to peel back the layers on all the things that make Wayland unique, and I’m equally confident that I will need to rely on your help to continue pulling those layers away. Post your comments and thoughts in the Comments Box below every story, email me with your news tips, join in the conversation on Facebook, and, by all means, say hello when you see me around town.

Kim Sklar Reichelt April 10, 2011 at 01:18 PM
Thanks Brooklyn. You're doing a great job!
Katrien Vander Straeten April 10, 2011 at 01:26 PM
I don't know how you do it all, but I know you do it well. Keep up the good work!

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