‘That's not news’, ‘it’s click-bait’ and ‘shoddy journalism’ are all comments we journalists are beginning to hear more frequently.
And you have as much right to tell us that as we have to publish the stories you believe we shouldn’t.
It’s all part and parcel of the job and as someone who believes it is important to hold others to account – I accept that I should be held to account also.
This week has been Local Newspaper Week and it’s in local reporting I feel at home.
I’m an outsider to Huddersfield, moving from just over the Pennines nearly a decade ago. I bought my first home here, started a family here, work and volunteer here.
I love this area and I love reporting on what happens, but that doesn’t mean it should not be under scrutiny.
And it’s in my job as a journalist at the Examiner where I help scrutinise and report on the people, the politicians, the decisions made, what happens and so on.
I’d consider myself a critical friend – I wouldn’t tell you your bum looks big in the dress but I’d tactfully suggest a different dress to wear!
Along with colleagues, we look at what the politicians, council, police, fire, businesses, charities, community groups and people do everyday.
If you pick up a newspaper you’ll see a real mix of stories and the same applies to our website and social media pages too.
We do our best to celebrate the best of our town – we run annual community awards to honour the unsung heroes and we run business awards to recognise the achievements of our many small, medium and large enterprises.
The job of a local newspaper reporter is varied – the days of shorthand and a bit of legal knowledge are long gone, although in my opinion both are vital.
This week I was live blogging – writing about police incidents, talking to businesses, writing about a film shoot in Marsden, researching and writing about the victims of the moors murderers and compiling a list of questions for a readers’ survey as part of our General Election coverage.
I’ve typed the digits ‘M62’ far too many times into a live blog to let readers know about the many problems on the motorway and I read the Labour Party manifesto – all 123 pages – to blog the key points.
I also live-blogged the visit of Jeremy Corbyn so people who couldn’t make it knew what was happening.
Every day is different and we always strive to be fair and balanced in our coverage.
Getting the balance of stories right can be a challenge.
A reader flicking through a newspaper will see the contrast – the positive, the negative, community, court, charity, sport and so on.
Online it’s a little harder – sometimes people judge us after seeing just one story and tell us ‘that’s not news, can’t you write proper stories’ And yet our website will have an array of stories on different subjects.
And we know stories dismissed by some are well-read by others.
Just as I prefer writing some types of stories to others, readers have their own preferences.
For me, telling a reader what their politicians are doing it vital, as is court reporting. We have a dedicated court reporter and we have a local government reporter – a job I did before I had a baby.
It often meant being critical of people I’d have to later call for a quote, but I hope I was always seen as respectful and understanding, even if they disagreed with the angle of my stories.
We have to make judgements all the time, for example we knew on Sunday night that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be visiting on Tuesday. But the party didn’t want to put pressure on police resources and had been asked to keep it off social media so we held off publishing a story until the cat was well and truly out of the bag.
Sometimes the critical comments we receive are fair – yes there are typos, we’re all human and make mistakes.
Can anyone one of you say you never make a mistake in your own jobs?
Some of the comments we receive are not fair.
Often there are legal judgements to make about how we present a story.
The Examiner has made a decision not to publish active court cases on Facebook. The legal meaning of active is someone who has been charged with an offence but there is not yet a verdict.
Some national news organisations have a different approach, but they also have more money to spend on legal cases if problems arise.
We have adopted this approach for one reason – we do not want to prejudice a trial and we don’t comments made by others on our stories to prejudice a trial.
I’ll be able to write more openly next year when one particular court cause we’ve received criticism for is complete, but for now readers should know that we never try to cover up any story.
Recent comments include “the silence is deafening. Why no report...” and of us “carrying on with your head in the sand”. Had these two complainants looked at our website they would have seen the very story was at the top of our website at the time they criticised us.
We’re not above criticism, I expect some for this column, but the Examiner is staffed by a bunch of people who love where they live and work.
People can support their local paper by buying it or clicking on a story for free.
And if you want us to share story ideas with us we’ll welcome them.