Going public

When I began working at the Vanguard in 2004, I was relatively inexperienced with the inner workings of journalism. But I was skeptical, and maybe even a bit cynical, of an industry that purports to strive toward objectivity.

A year later, many of my concerns remain, but I have come to value the power and necessity of an independent media to engage and inform the public by providing a critical lens and holding those in power accountable.

This year, the Vanguard is introducing a new role to the paper, the public editor. As public editor my job is to turn that critical lens on the Vanguard and ensure we uphold and maintain the journalistic integrity we strive for. This is the first in a series of bimonthly columns aimed at bringing greater transparency to the inner workings of the Vanguard newsroom.

In this column, I intend to provide readers a view inside the newsroom and help readers better understand the processes and decisions that affect the paper. In addition, this column is meant to provide a critical voice and to hold the Vanguard staff accountable to our readers.

I believe that through greater transparency the Vanguard can both better live up to the standards we set for ourselves and build trust with our readers.

In this space I plan to address transparency through a variety of means. When a specific issue arises I will dissect the processes and decisions involved and publicly assess our performance in upholding our journalistic integrity. On occasion I will pick a news topic and follow it through the editorial process to enhance readers’ understanding. I will also use this space to address readers’ concerns and publicize the Vanguard’s response to criticism.

Traditionally, the public editor is an outsider whose sole job is to represent the reader. I understand that there might be concern that as managing editor I would have a conflict of interest between the duties and responsibilities of my job. But while I am conscious of the difficulties involved, I believe that the two jobs are well suited for each other.

As managing editor, my job is to ensure that the Vanguard is working toward being the best paper it can be, and I believe that the critical perspective this column will provide is an important part of maintaining journalistic integrity. In addition, the in-depth knowledge of the Vanguard’s inner workings I possess as managing editor will better serve my ability to provide readers with a view inside the newsroom.

 

Do you have a question or an issue that you would like to see addressed by the public editor? Send your comments to [email protected]