I applaud the Herald’s efforts to improve media literacy. It’s important to distinguish news from opinion and fact-based journalism from fake news.
So I was sorry to see “John Simpson led fight against Durango’s proposed tax increase” (Feb. 18) reverse course on this commitment and instead present opinion as news. The front-page story (where news is typically found) took a lot of newsprint (729 words exactly) to introduce us to Simpson’s opinion of the city and proposed tax increase.
Simpson alleges financial mismanagement and overreach, but the story only quotes him as saying the city is “too powerful and overstepping” and that “It appeared that the municipality wasn’t in as bad of financial shape as city officials seemed to suggest.” The article never stated more than that – his opinion.
The article built suspense about some alleged wrongdoing, but didn’t say what that was, nor his alternatives to a tax increase. I would like to know. I also would like for the Herald in the future to do some research and include more sources.
The article only perpetuates opinion as news and sows doubt in our elected officials and city staff. I would like to know (with examples) why Simpson thinks the city has enough money in its budget and how it is not being used appropriately. Local media can help, but one-sided, opinion-based “news stories” only further undermine the public’s view of the press and its vital role in informing our community and a healthy democracy.