Editorial: Here's what we'll follow, and why, in 2017

About 18 months ago, we started a project to speak out and advocate for our community. We started publishing editorials, opinion pieces that went beyond news reporting to make informed judgments on problems the community is talking about.

As a local news organization, our business is covering the community. We dig for news, we ask questions, we do our own research, we seek out experts and we interview people. Then we present authoritative, reliable news stories online, on television and on social media.

With all that information at our disposal, we believe it’s our responsibility to deliver informed opinions on big issues to our audience.

The key word is "informed." We don’t shoot from the hip, and a WCPO editorial represents the opinion of the news organization itself. Our editorial stances do not influence our coverage of the news. Just the opposite: Our fact-gathering informs and influences our opinions.

We ask you to help us. We want to know what’s on your mind. What would like us to investigate? What’s your opinion? The best way to let us know is to email opinion@wcpo.com.

We are open and transparent about what we do and how we do it. We don’t know of another local broadcast TV station that editorializes to this extent.

It’s in our journalism DNA. Our parent company, Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co., as a newspaper concern, had a tradition of editorializing on local and national issues. Now, as part of what has evolved as a digital and broadcast company, we carry that on.

Who's on WCPO's editorial board: Jeff Brogan, WCPO general manager; Mike Canan, digital editor; Libby Cunningham, social media producer; David Holthaus, managing editor, opinion and engagement; Chip Mahaney, news director; Mona Morrow, community affairs director; Kevin Necessary, digital cartoonist; Dave Peterson, digital general manager. Three community members: Pat Bready, consultant; Gino McGowens, African American Chamber of Commerce; Kevin Wright, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation.

These are our guiding principles:

We are independent. We follow no political party or philosophy. We may be called lots of names, but we will call every shot as we see it, not viewed through a political or ideological lens.

We err on the side of common sense.

We speak up for the rights of individuals and for people whose voices don’t usually get heard. These include the underprivileged, those faced with discrimination and the powerless.

We believe in getting at the truth of an issue and expressing it. We expose falsehoods. We hold people in power accountable.

We are an example of our mission: “WCPO takes the extra steps to be an advocate for the community and each other."

We will reach out to our audience and ask for their ideas and opinions.

We will meet with opinion leaders, news-makers and others so we can be a sounding board for community issues.

In 2017, we’ll pay particular attention to these topics:

  • Revitalizing and supporting our older neighborhoods, especially those that have been neglected.
  • This is an election year for the Cincinnati mayor and city council. What should they candidates be talking about? You can help by telling us what you want to hear them take a stand on.
  • Protecting and improving the health of the community by continuing to advocate for change in how the heroin epidemic is being treated; examining how people will be affected by changes to Obamacare and changes to Medicaid.
  • Fighting for access to public records; speaking out against restrictions on freedom of the media and freedom of speech; promoting the credibility of the legitimate, ethical media; defending fact-based journalism.
  • How we get around. We need a new Brent Spence Bridge, a new Western Hills Viaduct, our streets resurfaced, a better bus system, and a successful Cincinnati streetcar.

Things will come up during the year that none of us can anticipate. These principles will guide how we respond to them.

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