By Jackie Devereaux
To Inform, Entertain and Educate Our Readers with Relevant Editorials
Freedom of the Press is a First Amendment right granted by the United States Constitution. This right allows the media, including this newspaper, to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas without government restriction or censorship.
The First Amendment says in part that, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the press.”
The federal courts have struggled to determine whether the framers of the Constitution intended to differentiate press freedom from speech freedom. That intellectual and esoteric argument carries on to this day.
In the meantime, I have concluded through my 28 years of experience in the media that the freedom of the press derives from the freedom of speech and is protected under the First Amendment.
Under these laws, it is my purpose to layout a playing field for the free exchange of information under the Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. I, as the Editor-in-Chief, will filter, disseminate and edit to the style of journalism endorsed by The Associated Press (AP). If you wish to conform to the AP style, then please buy a copy of The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2011 ($19.95). It will tell you all the specifics about the craft of media communications. This is my Bible. It is what I follow. So if you have a problem with what I say in the newspaper, I will always refer back to this book as my guideline and standard. I did not invent journalism, nor did I create the laws and guidelines that monitor the institution. I simply abide by these rules established long ago.
Under the First Amendment, I have the right to express myself freely in public without fear of persecution by the government. So do you, and I’m giving you that forum.
My editorials will not be like those found in the Wall Street Journal. Instead, they will be editorials based on the daily lives of residents in the Coachella Valley. I want and welcome responses in Letters to the Editor. I seek a partnership with our Readers within the community and want to exercise these Freedoms of the Press, not in an attempt to overreach or influence but in an attempt to “Inform, Entertain and Educate our Readers.” Help me do that.
The creation of the editorial section will be in the first person – the “I” voice, which will be my personal views. Let me state up front, for anyone still confused, that my editorials do not reflect the views of the Desert Star Weekly’s ownership, management or staff, but are exclusively my own personal views.
I realize that since the beginning of recorded human history “influence” has been created by the written word. Since the first cave drawings and ancient hieroglyphics, mankind has exerted his influence on one another in some form through the written word and images.
I want the community to participate in this process by submitting news stories, photographs and announcements of upcoming events. No event is too big or too small. Send me your wedding announcements. Send me your Girl Scout cookie drive schedules. Send in your engagement announcements and the dreaded obituary notices about local folks in the community who have passed. I’ve lost family members, plenty of them, and know how important it is to express our grief. I’ll find room for all your news and photos.
We are your local, community newspaper. We’re not the daily “big guys” and are not competing with them. Maybe they fear our new movement into the advertising base, but in reality, we are not their competitor. We are a small, weekly community newspaper ecking out a space in the Desert.
To let everyone know, we are now distributing door to door in Desert Hot Springs and will soon expand our distribution to Cathedral City and Palm Desert. After that, we’re heading east with door-to-door delivery in single-family homes. Gated communities and apartment complexes may not be available to our delivery system. Those folks will have to get our newspaper at the hundreds of locations throughout the Coachella Valley distributed by Jim Foxx and our staffers.
In addition to our new distribution routes, you will notice several subheads and page sections in the newspaper’s new format. We will be refining and altering our paper over the next few months to reflect our new image more precisely.
Perhaps the most important or controversial area of any newspaper is the converge of area politics. Like many things in life, politics is a two-way street. It has many sides of the story and that’s exactly how I intend to report it. There will be no more one-sided points of view. There will be no more unsubstantiated rumors about people in office or the business community. There will be no more trash published is this newspaper! I repeat, there will be no more trash published in this newspaper.
My influence will be to report the other side of the story. Something that this region has not enjoyed since the closing of the Desert Sentinel newspaper decades ago. There isn’t any one person influencing our coverage on any event or issue.
Here’s what’s going happen. We strive to maintain objectivity and balance in our reporting while trying to clarify the issues and express the other side of the story. As an editor I’ve learned that there is always another side of the story. Right or wrong, there is another side.
My purpose is to make all the esoteric press and speech freedoms relevant to you. How is all this academic philosophy relevant to our Desert living? I intend and strive to make sure the editorial content is relevant to everyday life. For example: a decision coming from the local school board about busing children to a school choice versus geographic restrictions or zip codes is an example of community relevancy, and not what’s happening in Washington, D.C.
I need to keep my focus on what’s local. Help me do that with your comments and Letters to the Editor.