By Stephanie Stanislao
FCC Content Services Studio
Editor & Publisher, one of the most prestigious and long-standing magazines dedicated to covering the newspaper industry, recently sought out one of Forum Communication Co.’s editors to contribute to its monthly publication.
Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner was asked by E&P writer Nu Yang to share his thoughts in a monthly “Critical Thinking” column.
“Critical Thinking” takes insight from both a veteran journalist and a rookie journalist on a topic related to the newspaper industry.
“As part of the request, Nu Yang sent me a column example focusing on digital media and asked for my commitment to write an answer in 300 words or less,” Wagner said. “Once committed, he would then provide the question.”
Wagner mentioned that it was “intriguing” Yang had asked for commitment to contributing prior to sending the critical thinking question.
The question that Yang posed to Wagner and Elliot Pratt, a Western Kentucky University journalism student, was “Should newspapers accept financial support from a government it’s covering?”
Wagner posed a few tough questions of his own, while sharing views on why newspapers should avoid public funding as a financial source.
In his response, Wagner states, “Accepting public funds establishes a slippery slope of ethical decision-making, including: Does it erode public trust and confidence in journalism? Does the appearance of collaboration, rather than independence, serve the public? Does the paper’s existence, at all cost, allow it to produce enterprise journalism that may turn critical of public processes and figures?”
For the full piece, check out E&P’s May “Critical Thinking” column.
The Grand Forks Herald is owned by Forum Communications Co., a multimedia information company based in Fargo, N.D., which owns dozens of newspapers, websites, television and radio stations, and commercial printing plants in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.