I was just checking out the Colebrook News and Sentinel to find out what was going on with the explosion that destroyed a gun factory on Friday, and I saw their slogan at the top of their website: Independent but not neutral. I couldn’t agree more. The job of the newspaper is to provide information to citizens so they can better self-govern. The information has to be timely, accurate and without political bias, but it isn’t necessarily neutral. In many arguments someone is wrong. Laying out in print both sides of an argument without first establishing each argument is true doesn’t help citizens make decisions, and it isn’t what papers should do.
Unfortunately for Berlin many of the discussions that dominate the community are not true or false discussions. Was the city better off with the mill? By some measures, yes. Would it be better off without a biomass plant or a prison? In some ways. Is it more important to retain services or maintain the tax rate? It depends on your view.
Those arguments aren’t decided by newspaper coverage. They make it onto the editorial page, but they aren’t matters of fact that make for crisp stories. Ultimately residents have to decide where they want the future to be. At times democracy is a messy business.