Dear Reader | Christmas gifts for readers and journalists

cmurray@thesunnews.comDecember 24, 2012 

If I had the powers of Santa (but preferably not a bowl-full-of-jelly belly), my bag would be filled this year with gifts eccentric, esoteric and philosophical for our readers, my colleagues and the news industry itself.

To all, I would impart the gift of appreciation, that they would be able to claim a quiet moment this morning, and every morning, to say thanks:

• for the dawn of a new day with its new challenges;

• for the colleagues, friends and family members that will help us overcome those challenges;

• for the visual beauty of this area, from its coastal edge to its wooded inland backroads;

• for the spirit and creativity of those who helped build this area and those who now work to protect what makes it special so that it will continue to thrive and ;

• for the generosity of strangers, many of whom we have chronicled on our website and in our pages, for their tireless work on behalf of those in need.

To the journalists who come to work at The Sun News each day filled with a desire to share information that our readers need to understand their communities and live their lives, I would impart the gifts of curiosity, critical thinking and time management. The educated use of those tools will help them navigate the always complicated task of gathering information and sharing it in a way that enlightens readers and viewers, made even more challenging in an era in which they must also keep up with technology that evolves almost by the minute.

A successful journalist approaches each day with curiosity, seeking answers to the most important questions most plaguing readers. To do that, they must first listen to what those readers are saying, either literally in coffee shops and grocery lines or through the miracles of social media. Then they must sift through those questions and comments to determine which among them will have the most impact on the most people.

That’s where the critical thinking comes in: They must view the issues through historic perspective that reflects not only what has come before, here and elsewhere. Then they must manage their work time to research, report, make a breaking news post as soon as they have something worth reporting, communicate via Twitter and on Facebook, and update the earlier post as more information becomes available.

To the news industry, which has been buffeted with predictions of its demise, the gift bag would carry a sense of confidence in the critical importance of what we do, no matter what delivery method carries our work. I believe professional journalists around the area, country and the world, are the best sources for conveying balanced information to all of us. This is not to say that those who seek to understand our world shouldn’t read other sources –0 unabashedly pro and con.

A balanced reading diet is as critical for our mental health as a balanced diet is for our physical well-being. For we are the ones who will make the decisions large and small that will determine the direction of our shared future, and being the providers of that that information is a business model that can – and must – be sustained.

So thank you for reading this, and the rest of the work by my colleagues at The Sun News. For me, that’s the best gift of all.

Contact CAROLYN CALLISON MURRAY at cmurray@thesunnews.com or follow her on Twitter at TSN_ccmurray.

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