This week, newspapers across the nation are devoting time and space in honor, homage and celebration of our service to our communities during National Newspaper Week, and The Lebanon Democrat is no different.
We are excited each year when this week comes around because it gives us an opportunity to show just how far we’ve come with the incorporation of technology and the rates at which we can deliver trusted, valuable news and information to people when they need it using the mediums by which they want to get it.
This week also lends us the opportunity to toot our proverbial horns as to the importance newspapers have, continue to and will always provide in a community like Wilson County. Our responsibility is that of service to our community, first and foremost, and it is our pledge to bring it no matter what the cost.
Conversely, and this is the thumb’s down portion of this editorial, we still have a long road ahead of us when it comes to keeping accountability in government, though newspapers still remain the most constant and trusted watchdogs in that regard.
Limitations and loopholes in antiquated laws, such as the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, written decades ago have not adequately provided newspapers with the ammunition needed to fight the good fight. Also, with the advancement of technology, new and innovative ways of hedging the true spirit of the law are becoming all too common.
Take, for example, the issue of serial meetings, or meetings held between one official with another – and another, and another – until a decision is made behind closed doors without a quorum and out of the public’s eye. These types of meetings can happen through email or text and were unheard of when the law was originally drafted.
Thankfully the majority of our elected officials in Wilson County appear to keep the spirit of the law in check when making decisions, but that may not always be the case in the future. That’s one reason we have elections.
In any case, we wholeheartedly thank our readers and businesses for their support this week and every day. After all, this is your newspaper; we are just steering the ship.