By: Korie Marshall, Editor
We can’t pretend bad things don’t happen. Many people think trying to forget about them or not talking and telling people about them will make things better, or that bad stuff is just best forgotten. I don’t agree. I know it can be difficult and painful, but ignoring bad stuff doesn’t make it go away.
And certainly when it comes to the news, it can seem like the bad stuff is top of the headlines. But part of the job of journalism is to show what is going wrong so that people can make better decisions and ask questions – and learn from other people’s mistakes.
Whether it is something relatively unimportant like a mix up with fuel that affected a few people, or something huge like the death of a man, not talking about it doesn’t resolve anything. Some residents have recently expressed their displeasure with my coverage of each of these issues, and they have every right to feel that way. I appreciate them letting me know. But to me, the measure of a person’s character, a business, a system or a society is not whether or not bad things happen. It’s how we react and deal with the situation, and what is learned.
About the issue with the fuel, I told a story about a young man who had a really bad day, because something bad happened to him while he was in Valemount. His life will go on, he’s told me his issues have been resolved, and I think it might have been easier to tell the story if the owner of the gas station had been able to talk to me. But many franchise owners have to sign agreements that say they won’t speak to members of the press about certain issues, because they have to go through the parent company’s own media people. It is something I find difficult to wrap my head around, because I am still a member of this community – I care about what happens here, and how people are treated when bad things happen to them. If a company or a person is doing their best, and trying to do the right thing, that is worth sharing. I know big companies have their processes, and I am glad that the few people who were affected are being helped. I don’t think that looks bad on a business, or on a community. I think it shows we care, and that we are interested in making sure things are done properly, so bad days don’t happen to more people, especially in our community.
About my recent editorial about returning a cat to Shanna Beuhler after her father was killed, some people have questioned why I would tell the story without having all the facts. But that is my point – no one has all the facts on that situation yet. There are clearly many sides, many people involved and affected. Many people have expressed their thanks to me for trying to tell the story – at least part of it, because it is something that we as a society need to know the truth about. There are lots of rumors and plenty of hear-say, and each of those stories can get distorted along the way. They are never the whole truth, though they may be part of the truth.
I love to celebrate and congratulate the people that are doing good things, the people that have exciting things happen to them, and the amazing things that are happening in the Robson Valley. But I won’t shy away from the bad things because those stories need to be told as well.