As a small media company, we get to see up close the faces and lives behind our stories. Nearly 95 percent of what you see in any of our products, whether it be our digital sites, newspapers or magazines, is what we call hyper-local. That is to say, we spend nearly 100 percent of our resources on covering Ellis County and its towns. By design, we provide little space to national events and even less to international happenings. You can get that information most anywhere, but you can’t get detailed, exclusive, unique and specific information about Ellis County in just any old place. Matter of fact, you can’t get what we provide anywhere else.
We aren’t built, nor do we have the desire, to be just another media outlet. We have a newsroom full of journalists and editors whose sole purpose is to be the source of news, sports, etc. of Ellis County. We spend countless hours covering, investigating, assembling and then printing detailed amounts of content derived from the work of our teams.
Some of you like how and what we do and some of you don’t. As a media company goes, both reactions are OK. When an information outlet becomes either unbelievable or ordinary, it quickly becomes irrelevant. And, once it becomes irrelevant, game over.
Such is the case regarding much of broadcast media in America. As I see it, most of said media is so desperate to avoid becoming ordinary, and thereby irrelevant, that what it produces is outlandish, sensational and inaccurate. Fact finding and truth have given way to developing a niche, regardless of veracity, that creates the appearance of the extraordinary story or angle.
Think back to the nonsense of the stories related to WISD’s contract with Jon Kitna. The misinformation being spread, compounded by the misguided approach by those spreading it, gave a couple of Dallas media outlets the appearance of a story or two. Then think back to the lack of depth given to those non-stories, but the over-the-top hype each story received.
When a Dallas reporter strolled into Waxahachie to “investigate” a shred of information given to him by a small group of attention hungry folks hell-bent on disparaging WISD, it worked … for about a day or two.
Had the story been a story, we would have covered it, reported on it and followed it until it was resolved and over. We knew it wasn’t a story the minute we realized those provoking the hype went outside of the county to throw mud and embarrass this community. They knew that, had they approached us, we knew better and would have said so. Matter of fact, we investigated this story, more than a month prior, from every angle and found no wrong doing … at all. The Dallas outlet however knew nothing about the motives of those providing the information nor did it seek to find the truth. Sure, board meetings were attended and a little effort was made to interview some folks, but that was done after the claims had been swallowed hook, line and sinker and then broadcast to an unknowing, unsuspecting audience throughout the Metroplex. By then, the aforementioned niche of appearing extraordinary had been accomplished.
Love us or hate us, we’re going to stick with what we find and then tell you about it. We’re built to provide you with detailed insight about Ellis County and, in doing so, serve our purpose. It’s a purpose we won’t veer from and will always pursue.
Other media can do things their way. As for us, we’ll do it right.