There’s never a dull moment here at The Gazette. The phones ring constantly, and people drop by all the time. And the e-mails. Oy. The e-mails.
But I’m not complaining. I like it busy. Keeps us sharp.
The calls that come in are about a variety of things every day, but one of the most common calls we get concerns the police report. People call all the time and ask how much the fee is to keep their own names, or the names of loved ones, out of the paper.
So allow me to take the time to set the record straight: We don’t do that. We have never done that. There is no amount of money that you can pay to keep your name out of the paper if you are arrested. If it’s in the police reports, it will be in the paper.
I’m not sure where the rumor started. I’ve had people say they were told that many years ago, this was common practice here. I’ve even been told by a couple of people that somone at the Sheriff’s Office told them they could call us and pay a fee to remove their name from our police report.
I checked with our own Jetty Tanner, who has been at the paper more than 30 years, and she said there has never been any such policy.
I have to say, every paper I have ever worked for has had the same policy: You get caught, your name goes in the paper.
If our publisher got picked up for something, it would be front page news. Heck, if I got picked up it would be in the paper. Just because we work here doesn’t mean we’re exempt.
So, to everyone out there...if you get arrested, you can expect to see yourself in the paper. It’s not that we’re heartless. We don’t like reporting this kind of stuff. But it’s our job. And to do it fairly, we can’t discriminate in any way. There’s no way we could leave one name out, then justify to the next guy that his name was listed.
Another complaint we get is about the mug shots we run on the front page. People ask why we run them.
Well...once again, if you do the crime, you’ll be in the paper. For the larger stories on more serious crimes, we publish the photos.
I have to believe that if we didn’t publish the information and photos, we’d probably hear from readers about that as well, complaining that we didn’t.
Lastly, we recently got some complaints about the fact that we publish a sort of crime roundup, which points out smaller crimes that take place around the city. The question was, “Why publish that small stuff? Who cares?”
My answer? Well, if you live in a neighborhood where there have been several attempted break-ins, wouldn’t you want to know? If there had been a lot of criminal activity, no matter how small, in any area of town, I’d want to know so that I can protect myself and what’s mine. Plain and simple. That’s why we publish that stuff.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining that we hear from our readers. We like hearing from you...complaints and all.
But understand that we must be fair in what we do. We make every attempt to do so. Even when it’s painful.
You can reach Angye Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.