A few weeks ago, I had an interesting phone conversation with a KCUR listener. “Stop bashing Trump,” she told me. “Give him a chance.” We went back and forth a bit — she voiced her concerns about the country’s current direction and media bias; I talked about the urgent need for credible news organizations such as NPR and KCUR to do their job objectively and thoroughly.
“We are not a divided country,” she said, arguing that this is a narrative manufactured by the media.
But with this recent election, journalists have had their eyes opened to the deep divisions in America – divisions that are not simple cases of right vs. wrong, Republican vs. Democrat, white vs. black, rural vs. urban or any other obvious demographic contrast that might come to mind.
Our challenge, as a free press, is to clarify the complexity of our divisions and opposing viewpoints and ultimately bring the truth to light. And to do so in a nonpartisan manner.
Here at KCUR, I’m proud to work with journalists who understand that it is our responsibility to give you the facts and to clarify the truth in all matters. In recent staff discussions, we have re-affirmed our commitment to providing listeners, readers and viewers with the information and context they need to be informed and engaged participants in our democracy and communities.
KCUR's growing newsroom aspires to be a credible source for all people in our community.
In 2017, we will continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards, prioritizing the clarification of facts and challenging assumptions and misleading statements. You will see and hear us put more resources into in-depth coverage. You will see and hear us spend more time in diverse communities across the region. You will see us and hear us provide balanced, objective analysis of the key issues that will determine our future.
We will work to increase our own and our audience’s understanding of the facts, as well as the way facts, or lack of facts, are used to strengthen or undermine our communities and democracy. This non-partisan embrace of the journalism's important "watchdog" role includes:
- Reporting when false information is being promoted
- Questioning who is promoting false information, what they have to gain, and what damage is likely to be caused by false information
- Paying particular attention to the actions of those in positions of power, whether it be in the public or private sector.
- Regularly explaining our coverage choices and decisions to provide the utmost transparency
Of course, we can’t do this without honest give and take with our citizens. All our citizens. I want you to know that the KCUR news and talk show staffs diligently track the feedback we receive from our audience whether it’s through phone calls, emails or social media. This communication is shared across the organization every day, and it informs our decision making.
And we'll soon be announcing new programming that we hope will provide an immediate platform for broadening and encouraging that communication.
We welcome your perspectives, your ideas, your challenges, and even your scolding. We’re listening.
Now, let’s get going. This newsroom has a job to do.
Donna Vestal is the director of content strategy for KCUR. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.