I’ve been at The Darien Times for nearly 13 years (as of September). I’ve seen many local reporters come and go. Too many to count.
I’ve gone through two pregnancies, including while covering Board of Ed and Board of Selectmen meetings, and graduation ceremonies. I’ve brought two babies to various Darien meetings and events I probably shouldn’t have but sometimes, I had no other choice.
I’ve made lifelong friends internally, and externally. And via the same parameters, I’ve probably had my heart broken and broken hearts, unintentionally. I’ve been screamed at by some, and cried and held hands with others. I’ve laughed with many, and I’ve snapped at others.
I’ve learned and become an expert in so many things I can’t even begin to describe — Catholic church teaching, shellfishing, special education law, affordable housing legislation, and political strategy.
I tell you this so you can see reporters as people. But in the end, The Darien Times isn’t about me. It’s about you.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on The Darien Times and its relationship with the community. We have covered the ugly and we have covered the beauty. We have covered the embarrassment, and the many, many triumphs.
We have covered both with the same dedication and attention to detail. Bottom line, we focus on integrity.
There have been times I wish I could just walk away and leave a story alone, and other times I wish I could go all in and lose my temper in print — but at our core we are journalists. Our job is to report and reflect the truth.
Especially as small-town journalists, our role is more than just a reporter.
We, like you, are part of the community. It makes our job both harder and easier. It gives us your trust, but also can make you think we are betraying it.
It is easy for national headlines to toss around fake news. And with good reason — there are many who simply seek clickbait or controversy.
We can’t speak for the world of journalism. We can only speak for us.
You might get angry at us.
You might feel we have let you down.
You might celebrate our efforts.
You might call us friends.
As long as we know you are reading, and continue to respect us as part of your community, we welcome it, in our 25th year.
Real news is challenging. Real news can be agonizing for both the reader and reporter. Real news is our obligation and what you should not only expect — it’s what you should demand.
It’s what we demand from ourselves.
Real news is what The Darien Times will always be about.
The only thing real about fake news is that it does exist.
But remember every real reporter with integrity is out there — community or otherwise — the ones up all night, the ones dragging their pregnant self to meetings until midnight, the ones being honest, the ones reporting the hard truth, the ones taking their hits and their critics.
Real news — it deserves real respect.
Let real news ring out loud — loud enough to drown out fake news.