Airport coverage is fair, as is reporter
I'm at a point in my life where I'm trying to ignore the rants from certain critics. But much like Al Pacino in the "Godfather" sequel, every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in.
Most of the time I welcome the interactivity of newspapers and their websites. Letters to the editor, emails, phone calls and Web comments are part of the process. We shine a light in dark corners and the citizenry shines a light on us. That's the way it works.
When the response from readers is honest and open it adds to the discussion, can make the light brighter and more focused and gives the truth a better chance of emerging. But when the response is a paranoid or hate-filled manifesto aimed at simply deriding the messenger, the value is diminished. Vicious diatribes made from the shadows of the Internet with no requirement for accountability or accuracy allow lurkers with nothing more than Web access and a grudge to litter the Internet with their electronic graffiti.
Much like real graffiti, the anonymous barbs occasionally can be quite beautiful, works of critical art, despite the nebulous identity of the artists.
But also like graffiti, there is a stark difference between a picture painted by an artist in the dead of the night and a gang tagger who is nothing more than the equivalent of a dog marking his territory. Both toil in anonymity, but one tries to beautify the world while the other delineates the parts of it he doesn't want you messing around in, the latter often attempting to muddy a clear message with indecipherable scrawl.
For quite a while now, the Daily Post has dedicated ample space in print and on the Web to the coverage of the attempt to commercialize Briscoe Field. The paper has tried to give its readership the information that is available in a timely fashion. I think our reporters have done a fair and accurate job.
Whether readers agree with me is, of course, up to them. Both supporters and opponents of commercialization accuse the paper of being in bed with the other side, which is usually a good indicator of having done a balanced job. Making everybody mad is sometimes a welcome reaction in journalism -- it means you've struck multiple nerves, and that usually means the truth has begun to bubble toward the surface.
But whatever readers think of the airport or the coverage, there is one small contingent offering their opinions that I can no longer allow to spew nonsense without attempting to stem the flow. Though tiny, it's the group that makes personal attacks on one of the Daily Post reporters covering the story.
I've known Camie Young for a decade. She is a fair-minded, ethical and tenacious journalist. She covers the government issues of Gwinnett County and Georgia with one concept in mind: Get the story in the paper, and tell the whole story. The idea that some are putting forward that she somehow has an agenda or answers to this entity or that is preposterous.
These attacks come mostly via the Web and email and accuse her of everything from being a mouthpiece for the Board of Commissioners to being a willing participant in some secretive plot by the paper to push airport commercialization forward, as if Briscoe expansion will somehow help us pave the newsroom with gold.
These ideas are at once offensive, if you know Camie, and also silly. One person's comment about her alleged nefarious conspiracy not only got her name wrong, but the name of the newspaper wrong.
Yet somehow we're the ones not getting the story right.
When it comes to the airport, or any issue of importance, do your part as a citizen: Get involved. Do your research. Hold everyone's feet to the fire -- including ours. But think twice before trying to obscure the picture some are trying to accurately paint simply because it's one you didn't want to see in the first place.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.