EDITORIAL: A second milestone for your hometown newspaper

It’s been two years since we began our attempt at a newspaper bailout and rescue here at The Independent. In some ways it seems like only a few weeks and it has been 104 weeks to be exact. In college, there were these ancient looking professors (in their 50’s, no doubt) who claimed newspaper years were like dog years times seven. Later in working for large daily newspapers, we met the folks who had paid their dues, covered real news, weathered the political and journalistic storms and they bore evidence that it’s a difficult business. Telling the truth may not make you as many superficial friends as the frivolous folks who rush around trying to curry favor with those in temporary power—but it does generate respect from our readers who know they can find the facts minus the agenda here in The Independent.

Our main mission two years ago was to establish a professional news source for Liberty Hill and the communities of the Shin Oak Ridge. For one year prior to ownership of The Independent, we operated a web based news site that quickly outpaced the two newspapers as the fastest, most reliable source of news in the area. Two years later, we are happy to report that we’re well on our way.

Here at The Independent we have refused to meddle in the things that cause news organizations to become bogged down in conflicts of interests or cause us to become part of the story.

When you see other reporters at events you have to ask, which hat are they wearing? Are they representing themselves as an elected official, or just working for one? Are they working for a governmental entity like the city or the school district or working for a privately owned business? More often than not, it’s difficult to really know. That’s what we mean by conflicts.

Remember Boss Hogg from the old television show? He sure wore a lot of hats. He was politician, used car salesman, and probably owned a newspaper, too.

Here at The Independent we only wear one hat, only talk into one microphone, we never seek to cover up a news story or shade it or turn it a certain way. We write the truth, just for you — our readers. We are credentialed journalists with years of experience and you can depend on us to report the news instead of trying to create it and then report on it. You’ll never see us start a petition or run for office. It’s unethical for journalists to try to control both ends of the news and information.

When you subscribe to The Independent, you know you can trust us to get the story and bring it to you without worrying about whether we can win the next election or save our side job with governmental entities.

In addition to reporting the truth about the Who, What, Where, When and How of the news, we also  tell you the truth about how many people actually subscribe to our paper. We don’t try to bump the numbers by passing out a bunch of free unwanted newspapers that some folks leave laying around on counters. We don’t have an artificial website counter that adds you as a new viewer every time you click your mouse to move to another story. We believe the truth matters all the time, not just in church.

We know how hard it is for businesses to make ends meet in a tough economy, so we take their advertising investment seriously. We want them to see results from advertising with us, so we don’t fudge the numbers to make a quick buck.  When businesses partner  with us they know that we’re being honest about who will see their ads. Businesses count on us to treat them professionally. We don’t try to intimidate, bully or threaten folks into advertising with us. And parents don’t have to hire us to cover their kids in sports because that’s unethical, too. We believe in this community and if it’s news, we gladly cover it.

In the end, the proof is in the pudding. The Independent is the award-winning hometown newspaper. We are very proud to have the recognition of our colleagues in the Texas Press Association. Our columns, editorials, features and photography all received awards by TPA this year as we competed against newspapers across Texas.

None of this would have been possible had it not been for you — our readers, advertisers and supporters. As we touch this little milestone we want to say thanks for another year of trusting us with your stories, thanks for letting us help your businesses be successful and thanks for the news tips. It helps us keep folks honest.