We are lifting the veil and giving you the opportunity to see inside the newsroom.
We want you to see what we do each day.
We want to give you the opportunity to be directly involved in news gathering, vetting, fact checking and decision making.
This is more than insider baseball.
It is asking you to join us on the field of play.
Beginning today, you can join us each Tuesday morning for what we call a “budget meeting.”
Budget is an old newspaper term that we have just held onto over the years, like many of our legacy phrases and newspaper traditions. The budget meeting traditionally is how we budget or select news articles, features, photographs, graphics and sports coverage for the next day’s edition of the newspaper.
Budget meetings are nothing new to newspaper insiders. What is new is bringing you inside — through social media — and letting you not only watch but participate.
You can help determine what the newspaper covers, what questions reporters ask and perhaps even help in news gathering.
Journalists have always been a bit guarded, and we have acted like we are the protectors of the news and holders of deep secrets. That kind of cloak-and-dagger mentality is not productive of any good and does nothing to help build trust.
Our readers and local government officials know that we talk a lot about transparency.
Well, now it is time for us to put up or shut up.
We are going to work hard to be every bit as transparent as we expect the agencies we cover to be.
You can attend the Valdosta Daily Times newsroom budget meeting livestream at Facebook.com/TheValdostaDailyTimes/
In a couple of weeks we are also going the lift the veil on our editorial board meetings. How are newspaper editorials created? Who writes the editorials? How are opinions shaped? Who sits on the editorial board?
You will be able to participate through livestream on social media, observe the process, share your thoughts with us and be a part of shaping your local newspaper.
The third thing we will be doing in coming weeks is inviting you all to an in-person town hall-type meeting where we can hear from you and get to know you better.
We know what we are doing is a bit risky, a bit outside of our comfort zones and pretty near unprecedented.
So, why are we doing it? Why are we lifting the veil? Why are we inviting you in?
Well, there are a few reasons.
First, we want you to get to know the reporters, photographers, designers and editors who gather the news, assign beats, edit stories, take the photos, build the graphics, design the pages and bring you the news and information you want and need to know. We would like for you to see that these are men and women living in the community, people you know, who you see in the grocery store, in restaurants, at a ballgame or go to church with. They are your neighbors.
We want you to see the processes the news team goes through, the challenges journalists face at times and the excitement we have serving this community.
Next, we are doing this because we need your help. Let us know what matters to you. What would you like to see covered better? What are we covering that you simply are not interested in? We want to know so we can make better use of our resources and provide you with coverage online and in print that is valuable to you. You might also be able to help us by putting us in contact with a reliable source or telling us about something happening the the community that we just did not know about.
We are doing this to build trust and to let you see the good will of our news team. We hope you will see these are dedicated men and women who care deeply about this community and want to see its people and institutions be successful.
Finally, we think lifting the veil is long overdue. We fundamentally believe that a newspaper belongs to its community. We are merely the current caretakers. The Valdosta Daily Times is your community newspaper.
Your news. Your voice. Your Times.
What: Valdosta Daily Times news budget meeting
When: Tuesday mornings at 10
Who: You. Everyone is invited to attend