Why only bad news from Iraq?

Question: I did read your response and I still don't understand why you insist on printing only "bad" news. Yes, we need to know the bad news, but we also need to know what good news there is and I am sure there must be some.

If you only print and highlight the bad side you are continuing the policy that "bad news sells" and I think most people are aware of this and sick of it. We who want the "whole story," would like to make our judgments with all of the facts, not just one side. I suspect that in your journalism classes in college you learned the exhibiting a bias in presenting the news was an improper way of reporting. You are exhibiting a bias by not giving us both the good and bad side of Iraq.

Please try for "fair and balanced" articles so we can get a better grasp of the whole picture. Otherwise your "bias" is obvious. -- Jim Love, Spokane

Answer: For starters, I think we have to agree that we disagree on the amount of "bad" news that we publish. I will argue that we have a wide range of news in our paper and that in fact many of our stories are inspiring and uplifting in a variety of ways.

We regularly report on the success of students, community residents, local businesses, employers and organizations. Of course, we also report on crime, accidents, business failures and the like. It's the nature of what a newspaper does.

You suggest that we have a bias and that we only present one side of the story. Again, I have to disagree. While every story may not cover every angle, we do strive to present a complete and accurate report on the major points of any development.

You urge us to be "fair and balanced." We certainly agree with your point on that. It's a theme that we stress everyday in our newsroom with reporters, editors and photographers. -- Gary Graham, managing editor

Follow-up question: I am talking about IRAQ and your imbalance of news. I am glad to see that you print good stories locally. What I don't see is the other side of the IRAQ War. After 10 months over there, I believe, we must have done and are doing some good. Let's have a weekly story about positive events to offset the other six days of bad news. We have lots of local soldiers over there doing good work helping get that country back to a functional level. Let's hear something about that.

I do believe that you get all or most of your international stories off the wire services which means you only print what you are fed. If they are feeding exclusively bad, violent stories and none of the positive ones then they need to get the message. -- Jim Love

Answer: I'm sorry for the confusion. I thought you were talking about news in general. You are right, we do rely on various wire services for our international coverage, as do the majority of newspapers in this country. We will continue to look for a variety of stories that go beyond the daily accounting of explosions and casualties, but I suspect the continuing dangers and the allied response to those issues will continue to dominate the news coming out of Iraq. -- Gary Graham

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