While the GUARDIAN works hard at offering up good factual information within the posts we make, it is difficult to verify the comments made by readers–most of whom use an alias.
This past week we allowed a lengthy comment regarding Valley Regional Transit and its managers. It was less than complimentary and one reader felt it lacked credibility because the author didn’t use his/her real name. That touched off a minor flurry of comments and prompted a private comment from a “legacy media” reporter who said, “We simply cannot publish things like that without attribution.”
And here lies the difference between the constraints of traditional journalism and today’s internet citizen journalists. The old school reporters like to dismiss those of us who provide a forum and outlet for folks who can’t afford a Public Relations staff or hold elective office as “Local Bloggers”
while bemoaning the fact we often scoop them with stories of official misdeeds.
Meanwhile, as a well respected blog–at least well read–the GUARDIAN lives in fear of someone using the forum to make false accusations that go beyond mere opinion. With a one man part time staff it is nearly impossible to check out every comment or allegation.
When we make a formal posting–not reader comments–the GUARDIAN pretty much has the facts nailed down whether we go into details or not. We have a proven record of rooting out improper or illegal activities such as theft of city property at the poop farm, use of city tools for private purposes, workers moonlighting on city time or using city resources, government inflating value of property for trades, public money being used for private club membership, using tax money to fund parties for lobbyists and legislators, giving away a bus to an employee of the transit agency,…and the list goes on.
In nearly every one of those stories, we got the tip or important information from honest decent insiders who wanted wrongs to be righted. If those who helped the GUARDIAN or offered comments were to provide their names or positions in government, they would risk their careers.
If it is good enough to use anonymous sources for tips to the CRIMESTOPPERS, MAYOR HOTLINE, or to get a court ordered search warrant, it is good enough for us. We will continue to be wary.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.