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In Our Opinion: Say Hello To The ‘Advocate’

by Bill Bowman, Editor.

We started this online news site nearly two years ago with a simply stated mission: To bring to Franklinites the news that affects their lives as township residents.

We think we’ve done a pretty good job of that in the ensuing 23 1/2 months, bringing our readers stories about what’s good and excellent – and not so good – about the 5th Best Place To Live in the country. Within our pages you’ve read about the achievements of our students – academically and physically – the diversity of our community, how our tax dollars are spent.

Naming this publication the “Franklin Reporter & Advocate” was not an accident; it was arrived at after a lot of thought about what we wanted to be and what we wanted to accomplish. Yes, we wanted to report the news, but we also knew that we had an obligation to go beyond mere reportage. We knew that there would be times when we could use our “bully pulpit” to bring to light things that some might want to keep hidden, and also to push for changes in policies or systems that were flawed.

In short, the “Advocate” part of our name.

We’ve spent most of our time up until now trying to establish a credibility on straight-ahead news with our readers; if you can’t believe what we write about everyday topics, what chance would we have when we dove into controversial subjects?

Your response has been gratifying. We know from your comments and support that we have created a news site to which people trust they can turn to find out what’s going on in Franklin.

And while in the past we have dipped our toes into the “Advocate” side of the site, we’re now fully activating that part of our mission.

The recent story about a Township Councilman’s charge that opposition to Catalpa Park is race-based is an example of that, as was the story about the Board of Education member who objected to the board president’s comments at the high school graduation. And there are more to come.

We know that not everyone is going to be pleased by these stories, the least of which are those upon whom the light has been directed. Indeed, we’re already experiencing some push back from the aforementioned story, and expect more. But we may have more to say about that in the near future. There have even been threats and intimidation over a story that will soon be published.

We’ll be presenting these stories as straight investigative pieces, and also as something new, which we’re calling investigative editorials or “investigatorials.” We’ll use the latter model when we think it’s important to include more analysis, narrative and context than one would normally see in an investigative piece.

And although our reporting will get more aggressive, you can be sure of our continued commitment to fairness and accuracy. Because it all boils down to this: if you can’t trust what we present, we might as well sell fish.

As always, thanks for your support.

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