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Letter: RE: Deadly Week in Newton

To the Editor,

News by its definition is what goes wrong, rarely what goes right.  As a 40-year veteran of the broadcast news business and journalism academia, I should know. 

Aside from accuracy, the biggest job of a purveyor of news is the editorial judgment that decides space and placement, time and length of a news story.  Sunday’s front page of the Covington News causes me to question the editorial judgment that went into the composition of the page and the blaring headline that greeted readers: “Deadly Week in Newton.”

If a one-on-one shooting results in one death, the tragic incident directly affects relatively few people in the big picture: the family and friends of the victim and the perpetrator.  On the other hand, were a school child to board a bus with a hidden firearm and later display it to friends, that specter raises a larger and more far-reaching fear factor.

I vehemently oppose the imposition of outside influences on a journalist’s decision-making. However, I believe a paper that is truly local in a small community – the Covington News – needs to consider the relevance of its crime content to its consumers.  The three stories placed on the front page belong in the paper, but not on the front page with a banner headline screaming “fear.”

VR Bob Furnad