Many of our club members and members of the audience we serve have remarked on the Deadspin video compilation published last week, which shows Sinclair broadcasters, including some journalists from the Central New York market, reading a corporate promo on “fake news.”
The Syracuse Press Club shares many of the concerns vocalized by members of our community. However, we would also like to extend a message of support to our members. It is our understanding that many journalists featured in the video compilation read the promo under duress. We don’t pretend to have all the facts on how each broadcaster at each affiliate came to read the Sinclair promo, but we do understand the pressures of the industry and restraints built into broadcasters’ contracts.
We want all members of the CNY press corps to know the Syracuse Press Club is here to support you and to support the award-winning local journalism you produce every year.
Each journalist must be responsible and accountable for every news item he or she publishes. We urge all of our members to take this precious responsibility seriously, in every aspect of the work we all do. However, we believe the root problem of this controversy is not the anchors and reporters across the country who read the message. Instead, this falls on the executives at Sinclair who deprived local journalists of airtime and a say in their own newscasts, effectively calling into question their hard-earned credibility with their audiences in the process.
Our mission at the Syracuse Press Club is to stand for local journalism. We believe that the public is best served when members of the local press who understand the communities they cover make local decisions about content local readers need.
We see the conglomeration and concentration in ownership of news media, particularly as it relates to Sinclair, as part of a disturbing trend in journalism that suppresses local voices and news stories in favor of recycled content that toes the line of corporate propaganda.
In today’s media environment, we surely don’t need vague statements that question the integrity and hard work of legitimate news organizations – we need more resources to pursue local stories, more airtime and column inches for local voices and, more importantly, we need to stand together in our pursuit of the truth.
Board of Directors
Syracuse Press Club, Inc.