Editorial: Editorial writing vs news writing, and our view on what is ‘progress’
At the beginning of this year, we wrote a story in which we talked to various Elburn village officials to find out their views and thoughts on the upcoming year (see “Elburn looks ahead to the new year” in the Jan. 3 edition of the Elburn Herald, or find it online at www.elburnherald.com).
In that story, they talked about the potential Elburn Station development, the potential Anderson Road bridge project and the village’s overall financial struggles.
In addition, they shared their views of the general business climate in the village.
Village President Dave Anderson pointed to a number of things that made him feel as if there were signs that the local economy is beginning to turn around. He listed a handful of examples that led him to that perception: expansion at Schmidt’s Towne Tap and Bob Jass, the pending opening of a pancake house, and the pending sale and change of the Northside Pub.
“These are all positives for the village,” Anderson was quoted as saying in our story. “Businesses have indicated they like it here, and they believe Elburn is headed in the right direction. They’re an integral part of it.”
Those two paragraphs sparked a piece of feedback that we feel warrants a clarification. The feedback (viewable on our website), states that the Elburn Herald should be ashamed to say that the closure and sale of a local business is “progress.”
We want to make two things clear: we did not state the opinion that we view the business’ closure as “progress,” and at no point did we state our opinion in that story. The simple reason is: that was a news story, and in news stories, we report the facts and opinions held by others, and keep our opinions to ourselves. We do not inject our opinions into our news coverage; we do not allow any staff member’s view to influence what stories are written, nor how those stories are written.
We simply try to seek facts and report what we find out. If someone else shares their opinion, we will report what they tell us.
Our printed opinion is reserved for this space—the editorial (and in the occasional column when it is clearly labeled as such). Anything we write in the paper outside of the editorial and occasional column is us reporting on the views, statements and facts that we find as our team finds them.
So, to be clear: we do not view the closure of the Northside Pub as an example of “progress” in the village. Incidentally, we don’t believe that was what Village President Dave Anderson was trying to say, either, but that is beside the point.
Our view on the issue is that we feel the Northside Pub owners and staff are the victims of the unresolved parking lot issue that has been going on for months in downtown Elburn (see “Church parking lot issue remains unresolved” in the Jan. 10 edition, or find it online).
As former neighbors of the Northside Pub, we know well how much harm the parking lot closure caused. We saw the initial worry turn to actual fear, then turn into tears.
This is not progress, nor a positive for the village.
Anytime a small business closes its doors for good, it is a loss for the entire community. It represents jobs lost, opportunity taken away. It means someone’s, or a group of someones’, livelihood is gone, and their lives forever changed.
We are sad at the news that the Northside Pub will soon be gone, and our sadness is nearly matched by our frustration that this turn of events did not have to happen.
See next week’s editorial for our take on the downtown parking lot situation.