In her letter, she asks, “Why would a local newspaper feel it’s necessary to not only take sides in an election but to also display derogatory information?” She also states: “And why would a local newspaper feels that it’s necessary for its editor to subject their readers to politicking is beyond me!”
Port News never endorsed a candidate in the Village of Manorhaven or took sides in an election. In fact, there is no election going on in Manorhaven right now, as it holds its annual elections in June. We gave both sides an opportunity to comment in news articles, maintaining fairness.
Community newspapers report local news, and they also include paid advertisements. Jim Avena paid for his advertisement, which he wrote, and submitted dozens of pages of documentation to support his claims in order to have it published in the newspaper. Port News covered the Manorhaven Village Board meeting and reported on Village Attorney Casolaro’s reaction and how Casolaro related Jim Avena’s ad to politics. We reported the facts of this meeting (Casolaro’s statements were digitally recorded and typed up word-for-word) and the unfolding story.
The editorial criticized Casolaro for using his power at the dais to campaign against a presumed political opponent at a public board meeting. As the editorial stated, the purpose of these meetings is for village business, not political issues. If Ms. Brand is suggesting that reporting on public board meeting comments that tied an advertisement to politics means that the newspaper itself is politicking… well, that is beyond us, too. Was Port News politicking when we printed Giovanna Giunta’s criticisms of the past village administration, before she was elected mayor? How come we did not hear a complaint from Dina Brand then?
Furthermore, is Ms. Brand implying that Port News should never print anything – whether it is an ad or a news story – that criticizes someone, or reports on a person who might be doing something wrong? That we, as a newspaper, should never hold people accountable for their actions? If we did that, we would become something like a community newsletter filled with nothing but fluffy announcements, not a newspaper that upholds journalistic integrity.
Journalistic integrity is maintained by reporting the facts, whether the behavior of the people involved is good or bad. This is an important service to the community, as Port News always works to provide the truth to its readers.