News

Truth can win

A Poynter Institute article suggests that truth can win ...if we are willing to change course and focus on local news.

Where do you get your news?  This is a question I ask all the time and today, I was asking it a Christmas gathering. The intelligent young woman I was talking to responded saying, “I used to get most of it from scrolling through Facebook. But I don’t read Facebook anymore.” She went on to explain that she doesn’t have a lot of free time and finds just a few minutes here and there to catch up on news while standing in line or waiting for someone.

Many people still get their news from social media.  We don’t recommend it. Instead, just google “BenitoLink” and get fresh, conscientiously produced local news every day.

A Dec. 5 article about local news from Poynter Institute, a journalism school, warns that though many enjoy social media to keep up on friends and family, it is not the place to get information you can count on. “Private Facebook groups and other social media then amplify the false claims, filling the gap of reliable information with websites that often walk a fine line between something resembling reality and conspiracy theory,” the Poynter Institute opinion  article explained.

In San Benito County when BenitoLink was created (we started publishing in 2012), readers had lost local reporting and were stuck with regional news organizations like the  Mercury News and KSBW. But staffs keep shrinking and they could no longer afford regular coverage of the county.

Just taking a quick peek online for this article, the Mercury charges $90 per year for the online only paper. Does it cover San Benito County? No. But BenitoLink publishes San Benito news daily.

But in their recent Poynter article, “Truth can win if we change course and focus on local news,” writers Vivian Schiller and Bonita Robertson-Hardy present the promising message that through local news operations readers are familiar with, like BenitoLink, communities can regain their trust in the news and gather the information they need.

Schiller and Robertson-Hardy are critical of national media and recent coverage of the election in rural areas in particular saying, “the national media kept coming back to these narrow identities to advance a reductive, pre-baked narrative.” They point out the irritating national media habit of “parachute reporting” where they fly in just to follow their own preconceived script and forget to listen to anyone who has their feet on the ground.

Research has repeatedly shown that readers trust reporters they can talk to and are approachable, whose family they know or they see at church or the grocery store. They like people they are comfortable talking to… sharing their stories or providing feedback.

“Most importantly, we need local news written by people from the community, for the community,” the article concluded.

“Our ability to solve the biggest societal challenges, and the very preservation of democracy, is predicated on our ability to rebuild a news ecosystem that earns our trust. Each of us has a role to play, and we urge everyone to work with your neighbors to build your own community-driven solution to it,” said Schiller and Robertson-Hardy.

BenitoLink is a community-driven solution and we are all very fortunate to have an established, committed newsroom for a growing county.  We want to thank our local major donors who are providing much of the matching funds we are using for this fall campaign; Sallie Calhoun and Matt Christiano and Randy and Rebecca Wolf. The Institute for Nonprofit News is also playing a big role in this year’s fundraising match of $55,000.

By the first week of December, we are showing $33,897.89 in community donations that will double with the match.

For those community members who have already donated and are listed below, THANK YOU!

If you enjoy BenitoLink but haven’t had a chance to donate yet, don’t forget to support your local, nonprofit newsroom by donating.  Let’s keep a good thing going.

Join the crowd and DONATE.

 

Alacia Welch Kerry & Harry Tobias
Alan Heminger Kimberly Randle
Amelia Ryan Kozean Wright & Patrick Wright
Anna Smith Krista Van Laan
Annamaria Baez Laura Romero
Anne Hall Leila Sadeghian
Barbara Rubio Leslie Austin
Beverley Meamber Leslie Schwabacher
Bob Reid Liz Smith
Cara Vonk Lynn Overtree
Carol Hawkins Margret & Russell Ellwanger
Carol Lenoir Mark & Dawn Eason
Chang So Mark Levine
Charles Tobias, DVM Mary Kathryn Rubino
Charles W Sorbet Jr Mary Margaret Lanning
Christina Andrade Mel Angel
Christine Breen Michelle Noble McCain
Clark Family Fund Mitch Hammond
Daniel Dungy & Nancy MacLean Monica Vargas
Dave Ruprecht & Jennifer Coile Nancy Oliveira
Dave Wright Nick Bailey
Dawn Soza Patrice & Doug Kuerschner
Debbie Pollack Cochran Patrick McKenzie
Denise Cauthen-Wright Paul Scherer
Dennis Finnigan Phillip Esparza
Diane Ortiz Rachel Ponce
Dianne Carman Rebecca Salinas
Donna & Gary Swanson Regina Datta
Dr. Lois M. Locci Rhonda Perrotti
Dr. Parveen Sharma Richard McDavid & Susan Echaore- McDavid
Dr. Stelvio Locci Rob & Jenny Bernosky
Eugene Zanger Robert Marden
Gary & Ria Byrne Robin Pollard
Gerri Johnson & Gary Rocchi Roger Brown
Gerry Wright Rohit Sharma
Gifford Swanson Sandy Cabral
Harriet Brin Sara A Steiner
Heather Callens Shari Stevenson
Janet Grist Sharlene Van Rooy
Janet Watson Sophie Schwabacher
Jean Lierly Stacie A McGrady
Jerry Magorian Steven Perricone
Joan Domingues Stirling Burnet
Joan Randolph Stuart Blakewood
John David Susan & Franklin Dean
John Reed Tami Aviles
Judy Gansen Thomas Breen
Karen Van Gerpen Thomas Davis
Karminder & Randy Brown Tina Baine
Kate Modic Trisha Brem
Kathi Stirling-Morris Valerie Egland
Kathleen Davis William Baker
Kathy & David Kessler William Powers
Kay Filice Women’s Club of Hollister

 

Leslie David

Leslie David is a Bay Area independent reporter/producer and is a BenitoLink founding board member. She has produced for radio, television, newspaper and magazines in both California and Wyoming. She was with KRON-TV News in San Francisco as camera-woman, editor and field producer, where she won the Commonwealth Club's Thomas Storke Award with Linda Yee for their series on the Aids Epidemic. She started as a small market news reporter shooting her own 16mm film at KEYT-TV Santa Barbara. Leslie lives on a ranch with her family in San Benito County.