A Keyboard Does Not A Journalist Make

There seems to be a bit of confusion lately about the difference between news pages and gossip sites.

The difference?

News is informing the public with facts – not opinion or supposition.

That is to say, facts that can be backed up and proven by reports, or official statements, which can be verified. Gossip is imposing perceived facts, opinions or ideas, not backed up by facts.

I’m not targeting any particular site or Facebook page. The same applies to any page, person or app.

Without facts, supposed news is just plain gossip.

There is an incident happening in the Nordonia Hills School District as I write this.

A coach, who has worked for the district, has resigned.

The coach was not identified.

However, several posts on Facebook have named a coach.

However, court dockets were checked, and no charges were found against the alleged coach.

According to a press release from District Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark, a former staffer, a part-time freshman baseball coach, resigned this month due to alleged “photos and statements sent via social media from a staff member to a Nordonia High School student.”

Clark responded to an email sent by NordoniaHills News, via the incident.

Clark did not identify the coach.

According to a Macedonia Police spokesperson, the incident report was not completed December 8.

Police did not identify the coach.

Several visitors to our Facebook page, including some posters who claim to be close to the reported situation, left comments.

Still, the coach was not identified.

Why wasn’t the coach identified?

Because there is no written proof or spoken statement naming the coach.

No proof – no news.

What if we named a person who was innocent?

Worse yet, what if we named a person and that person took his/her own life.

It’s happened before on a story I covered.

An employee in another district was accused of inappropriate behavior with a student.

In this instance, the man was being changed by police.

I talked to him on Thursday evening.

The next morning he was dead. The man took his own life with a rifle.

I found out about it as I checked my computer before work and heard the eerie 911 call on the site of the newspaper I was writing for.

I was also named in the man’s suicide note.


Because I treated him with respect, even though he was charged with a crime.

A charge is not a conviction.

He was charged, so he was named.

However, a name associated with crime, will not be published unless there is a report, a statement we can verify or charges.

We will not be guilty of libeling a person, ruining a reputation or worse.

When the report is complete, it will be read by the editor and a decision will be made on naming the coach.

There are families at stake. There is a juvenile at stake. Our integrity is at stake.

However, we will not hide the truth to protect anyone.

At this writing we don’t know anything more about the student or the incident, including gender, age or grade.

Again, I’m not targeting any page, post or person.

A journalist’s job is to present proven facts, without the slightest tinge of opinion.

That’s what we do here.

Anyone can post anything. They often do.

But if you want unbiased news about Nordonia Hills and the surrounding areas, keep checking here.

Check back Monday for any further updates, which will be posted as available.

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