9 reasons to support local your local nonprofit news: Reason 8
BenitoLink is a nonprofit news service created to serve its community. Our primary goal is to provide valuable, sometimes life-saving information to the residents of San Benito County. We want to be your trusted news source and we plan to be here for the long haul. You can help ensure that happens by supporting us.
Local news is the most trusted news in America today. Why? We think it’s because we live here and have established relationships with our community. Our reputations are at stake. We have built trust and we value the relationships we have.
BenitoLink team members focus on these key methods to retain our readers’ trust.
Being open about our news process. BenitoLink team members make themselves available to answer questions about our reporting. We respond to phone calls and emails, we listen to other perspectives. We react quickly when corrections or revisions need to be made.
Keeping news fact-based. BenitoLink reporters keep their personal opinions out of news stories. We have a clear line separating our news articles and the COMMUNITY OPINION section. All opinion pieces are clearly labeled. BenitoLink takes no editorial positions and does not endorse candidates. BenitoLink does not accept campaign advertising.
Being authentic. As a local news team, we live here, we raise our families here and we are committed to our community. News gathering is a two-way street. Our reporters treat interviewees with respect. In turn, the public gains confidence in us and allows us to help them tell their stories. BenitoLink staff makes the most of face-to-face interactions in order to build real relationships.
Supporting accuracy. Professional journalism requires accuracy, research and line by line reviewing of articles. It means checking and editing and checking again. Still, we do occasionally omit important information or get facts wrong. In some cases, publicly funded agencies do not respond to calls or emails or answer Freedom of Information Act requests, which they are required to do by law. Open communication and transparency help the public understand local issues on a deeper level.
Admitting errors. Journalists are human, too. Though we work to keep errors to a minimum, information can be misunderstood, mathematical errors can be made, and deadline pressures can sometimes lead to mistakes. BenitoLink staff and reporters accept our mistakes and admit to them to our readers.
This fall, the BenitoLink staff, reporter team and interns received training in ethics, working with retired Mercury News reporter Larry Slonaker. As an author and veteran city news reporter, Slonaker has over 25 years of first-person experiences to share with our newsroom.
BenitoLink Content Manager Noe Magaña said afterwards, “I thought it was really good. Specifically, I liked the way he shared situations and asked us, ‘What would you do?’”
Magaña also liked what Slonaker said about identifying when a story is a story.
“I thought that it was something any news company could use. I particularly appreciate the way he reminded us to keep our opinions out of the story because I think that lesson has been lost in the last several years,” said reporter Jenny Mendolla Arbizu.
Our intern reporters were able to hear several real-life examples where reporters had crossed the line when it came to professional behavior.
As journalists, we are faced with ethical decisions daily. As a major source of information for county residents, we know we have been given a lot of responsibility and we want to earn your trust.
BenitoLink is fortunate to have the support and guidance from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Poynter Institute and the Trusting News Project. As a nonprofit, we are now going through training with the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press. Starting in January, staff and reporters will begin learning more about journalism law through online training.
Citizens play a role in the quality of reporting and news gathering that is occurring in their communities. Financial support, whether through monthly payments or one-time donations, make a critical difference in the final product you read. Finally, involvement as a volunteer, board member, intern, or just attending BenitoLink’s in-person events are opportunities for all of us to build meaningful relationships.
We rely on your year-end support and monthly subscriptions to keep our reporters and staff going so that we can provide this important public service.
Support San Benito County’s local nonprofit news organization by donating to BenitoLink.