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MCCULLOUGH: Airport coverage is fair

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 nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.

Comments

NewsReader 2 years, 6 months ago

Nate, I agree with you on "...don't shoot the messenger...". But isn't Camie, a seasoned veteran of the industry, a big girl who can stand on her own and defend herself when attacked? You get attacked yourself - including by me. Do you await a colleague to come to your defense when you are attacked? I don't hardly think so. And I must say, for the one time I did attack you, I've pretty much agreed with most everything else you have had to say. It has actually brought a smile to my face from time to time.

Let Camie defend herself. But there is one thing about reporting the news that you cannot overcome and get around. That is, it is human nature to report the world as you see it. Your view of the facts may not always be consistent with that of the reader. Camie has to defend herself, if for no other reason, to tell the rest of the world, "I am a very good journalist who takes my job very seriously", and for those of you who want to attack the messenger, either put up or shut up. The bully will never respect the recipient for their actions until the recipient stands up to them and puts them in their place. Just my two cents!

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ptm4936 2 years, 6 months ago

According to Tom Hanks "There is no whining in journalism!" So in the words of the Eagles Don Henley "Get over it!"

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teelee 2 years, 6 months ago

Camie Is a great reporter, she has to please her boss also. If there was ever a positive and optimistic story about expanding Briscoe Field in the Post,then I missed it. I have read positive stories in other newspapers including artist rendering of what the new terminals will look like. The Post has never done this to my knowledge. They are quick to print negative headlines. I can only assume that somebody near the top of the newspaper lives in Lawrenceville and does not want a bigger airport near their home.

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jack 2 years, 6 months ago

teelee- you've posted six times in the last two days on a GDP thread with an artist's rendering of the terminals.

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Don 2 years, 6 months ago

Having met Camie during the stadium debacle and the trash issue i think this critism is unfair.

She has intergrity and is a great reporter!

I really do not care how the artist rendering of the terminal look, we have not even got to that point yet. Ever heard of "the cart before the horse?"

The issue here is of what liability will this place on the citizens when Propeller goes under? do the citizens of this county want this? Afterall the BOC are elected and are to do the desires of those who elect them.

Teelee, i guess you think that the GDP should write and article on how great Kennerly and Bannister are for paying millions more than land was worth? Afterall is it not negative to write about their downfalls?

Privatization or Briscoe could work but just no comercial flights is the issue.

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Katrina 2 years, 6 months ago

Nate, When Camie Young has written articles describing county commissioner meetings and citizens' airport committee meetings that I have attended, the articles have always seemed accurate to me. In addition, when I have seen her at these meetings, my impression has been that people at these meetings (mostly anti-commercialization folks like me) seem to genuinely like her. While J. K. Murphy is on the record as being in favor of commercializing Briscoe, he has published numerous letters from those of us who are not, including several of mine. I think the coverage of this issue by the Post and Camie Young has been fair.

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rco1847 2 years, 6 months ago

Fair? Everyone who had a vested interest was fair to their side of the issue - if you can call that fair. What I find interesting is that only one side had something to lose. The homeowners. Everything else was for someone's gain. And the overstated economic and job impact was shameful. Some guys really know how to put the SIN in buSINess. The game of tempting local gov't to sell and asset for some quick cash is an old one. It gives privatizing a bad name. But privatizing should be left out of the equation. The real goal all along was to commercialize, develop, expand and make money at every turn and, to do it all with little or no money of their own invested.

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