Tahlequah Daily Press

Editorials

March 8, 2013

Join in the conversation

TAHLEQUAH — As of this writing, the Daily Press has more than 5,700 “friends” on our Facebook page. And while social media are not the most effective means of gathering and disseminating news, they have become a valuable tool in our arsenal of platforms.

Many folks – even those who are online with other venues – remain leery of Facebook. Some say the postings and comments move too quickly for them, and that they’re not able to keep up. Others dislike the tendency of many posters to become angry and let their fingers do the talking, upsetting or offending their peers, and sometimes bordering dangerously on libel, defamation, or privacy invasion.

As we’ve explained to many readers, newspapers are held to a higher legal standards than generic bloggers or “social” walls not associated with an official media outlet. That’s why we must also hold our readers – or “friends” who post on our Facebook wall – to higher standards.

“Freedom of the press,” as we’ve pointed out many times, does not mean the freedom to say whatever we want, with impunity. The First Amendment clause was established to protect the media itself from being silenced by the government. And if we must be careful what we say in accordance with legal constraints, then we must also ask our online friends to do the same.

This is why sometimes we will delete a thread that contains inflammatory comments. Readers frequently private-message us to ask why we did that, and we’ll try to explain. We hope folks trust that, with the years of experience we have under our collective belts and the other expert resources at our disposal, we know what’s safe, and what’s not. We’re not trying to suppress opinions; we’re merely trying to protect ourselves and those who participate in our forum.

But make no mistake: Your opinions are important. We may not always agree with them, and you will not always agree with ours. But we want to hear what you and others have to say, as long as your comments are delivered in a civil tone, and with respect to the newspaper and others following our wall.

With that in mind, we’ve begun a series of forums on our wall. Every weekend, we hope to ask a question relevant to current events, and we’ll be seeking input from you, our readers. Sometimes we may use the comments in a story for our print and e-editions; other times, we’ll just be trying to stimulate a conversation.

We have a number of well-informed, articulate and engaged folks among our Facebook “friends.” Several have already contributed significantly to issues we’ve discussed there. Only a few have crossed the civility line, forcing us to delete a thread before it got out of hand. Even more impressive is the fact that, during the time the Press has been on Facebook, we’ve only had to ban about a dozen people from our site for refusal to respect our policies.

If you’re not already on Facebook and would like to jump into the conversation, join up at www.facebook.com, and then click “like” on our page; it’s at www.facebook.com/tdpress. We update our page six or seven times a day, letting you know what we’ve planned for the next day’s editions; posting links to unusual or important national stories; putting up briefs of community events at the request of readers; and asking you questions through polls or ongoing conversations with other friends.

While we will remove comments that accuse people of crimes without absolute proof, or invade their privacy, we welcome your viewpoints and your criticisms of government policies, community happenings, elected officials, and more. We will also post events of a nonprofit nature for you, but you must send us a private message with your request; we ask that you not attach it to an unrelated post, but rather stay on topic. We also ask that you do not post under the “recommendations” panel. Many people can read only parts of these, and we remove them as soon as we see them, because we feel we have a right to check what you post before it’s made public. Again, this goes along with that higher legal standard we mentioned earlier.

So, we invite you to find some spare time to get involved in the conversation: during work or lunch breaks, on weekends, during the evening. You’re sure to find something that interests you.

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Editorials
  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014

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