Integrity in news

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]



In all the years I have been writing personal opinion columns, I have never received the reaction from a column like the reaction I received on my recent column “Answer.” It was the column that explained what happened in the general election. So many of you said I put into words what you had been thinking, and that pleases me because I believe there are real live people in the world that don’t make noise – they just vote.

What I want to do with this column is draw a distinction between the controlled national news media and our regional newspaper.

Truthfully, I would be embarrassed to work for a news source that had an agenda, and nowadays major city newspapers and TV news outlets appear to have agendas. I could not call myself a journalist if I hid information from the public because it didn’t fit my narrative or the narrative of the President of the United States.

I said all that to say this. I am probably the most contented person I know when it comes to my job. I realize I do something that most people do not understand, so I have to take that into consideration, but I have no agenda and the Daily Times has no agenda unless you count trying to keep the public completely informed, as an agenda.

There are people who think we try to hide something, though I can’t, for the life of me, think how that would ever benefit my newspaper. So it is time to make a blanket statement and here it it: “I have never been told by management to write or not write something because it is controversial, involves a well-known person, a client of this newspaper’s sales department, or might bring on legal ramifications.” There, I said it. What my boss insists on is that all information is verified and attributed to the actual source.\

Now, let me talk about my boss. Quite frankly, in 55 consecutive years of working, I have never worked for someone so thorough as Hope Comer. She is critical and demanding, and it is that policy that makes our stories thorough and meaningful to the reader.

“Look, Frank, you need to find out this and that because, as a reader of this paper, I really want to know all that,” she says to me more often than I would like. But she has always been right, and because of her policy, we have more and better content in our paper and online than we have ever had.

We have no political agenda. We are completely neutral, and that makes for a free wide-open area from which to draw a story. We carry opinion columns which we clearly separate from news, unlike some of the national media. You may agree or not agree with those opinions, but they have a legitimate reason to exist, and I will defend the right of any person to voice their opinion as long as we make it clear that it is an opinion.

After what just occurred on the national political scene, I have and I presume you have, learned agenda-driven “so called” news coverage is not trustworthy, but I can tell you this – when you go online and read or pick up your copy of the Times, you can rest assured we have been honest and as thorough as we are capable of being and you can trust us and after all there is nothing more sacred than a newspaper that is trustworthy.


By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.