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EDITORIAL: Some disputes tough to report
We have received a few e-mails and calls recently alerting us to issues in Parksville Qualicum Beach neighborhoods that we have decided not to cover.
Two recent calls concerned neighbours blocking ocean views.
While we appreciate the contact, and feel for the people facing these issues, we'd like to take a moment to explain why we don't always pursue these stories.
First, there is no hard and fast rule on this coverage issue for us. Truth be told, it's not an exact science where we have developed a list of things we cover and things we don't. Each story is, and should be, viewed independently for its merit, or lack thereof.
There are also manpower issues for us — we do not have as many people in our newsroom as, say, the Vancouver Sun, obviously. We have to make hard decisions on what we cover, what we write, what we photograph, every day, and there are many times when events and news items that are worth our time and effort just don't get the attention we would like to give.
So, with no shortage of stories and events to cover without any kind of debate about their merit, it's easier for us to pass on neighbourhood and third-party disputes.
That is not to say these stories never get in the paper. Often, these disputes end up on the agendas of local government council meetings, and they might receive coverage once they hit that level. As shallow as this may seem, we are often at these meetings anyway and the information is right in front of us. And if a neighbourhood dispute has been deemed important enough by a senior government official to get to a council table, then perhaps it deserves a look from your local newspaper of record.
The difficult part, for us, is trying to explain to people why we won't delve into their dispute. We understand how personal and passionate these issues can be for residents, and we find it hard to tell them no, we don't have the time, resources or inclination to pursue their story. It can sound cold, and we certainly don't want to convey that feeling.
Please don't stop calling about your issues — we ask you for understanding.
— Editorial by John Harding