Grand jury coverage comes off as biased
July 29, 2014
The front page news stories in The Union often times come off as biased. The July 19 article entitled “Grand jury’s homeless growth claim off the mark?” was hardly written in the style of a news article.
What happened to the who, what, when, where, why and how of reporting? The lead paragraph — “There were fewer homeless people recorded in Nevada County in 2013 than there were in 2009 — but don’t tell that to the Nevada County Civil Grand Jury.” This derisive tone smacks of bias and an article meant to malign the grand jury. The article went on to give some homeless population estimates (that is all they are as it is difficult to accurately count the homeless in a rural community) and some not-so-subtle criticism of the grand jury. The writer saved pertinent facts for the end (on page 8) — Hospitality House and Sierra Roots spokespeople as well as area homeless people agree with the Grand Jury’s conclusions about the growing numbers. How many readers turned to page eight?
The grand jury is a watchdog group of local citizens volunteering their time to investigate and report on government entities within the county. They take an oath of confidentiality. They cannot identify or defend themselves when their reports are attacked. Those who testify before the grand jury do so knowing their names will not be revealed which encourages witnesses to come forward without fear of retribution. To discredit and attack the grand jury and others in news articles is unethical and unprofessional journalism.
The above-referenced article was a creative story writing exercise with a goal of swaying your readers and discrediting the grand jury. Just give us the facts. Let us make up our own minds.