None of the contributors to Electric City Weblog pull any punches with the Great Falls Tribune. We gladly expose the Tribune when it makes mistakes, whether technical or factual, or when it oversteps the bounds of journalism. Which may give the impression that we dislike the local newspaper.

So far as I am concerned, that impression would be false. I enjoy having the Tribune around. I start my day with the ritual of reading it. I use it for news, entertainment and shopping (but it is losing out to online sources when it comes to sports--I just cannot wait until the morning for scores and recaps). And, without the paper, where would we get our subject matter? It provides the spring board for almost everything we write.

As to the flip side, I do not know. Some attacks against the 'blog (see here, for example) give the impression that the Tribune would prefer that we did not exist. But we serve a valuable role to the paper, whether its editors would admit it or not.

Even though I like the Tribune, I do see flaws, and sadly, a decline in quality over the years. A local newspaper is too important to our community to allow that to happen without saying something. I hope the Tribune thrives forever. That is why I am hard on it. Its role is too vital to allow it to be sloppy without being called on it.

GeeGuy touched on this before. A newspaper should honor its responsibilities to its community. That means digging up and reporting facts about people and events that affect our lives. In particular, it must shine a light on those in power, to ensure that the power is yielded properly. Generally, that means keeping an eye on the government, but the same can be true of quasi governmental and corporate powers that shape our lives.

Not many corporate entities wield so much power in our community as the Great Falls Tribune. Someone needs to shed daylight on what it does, or does not do. We need the newspaper to keep the government and other powerful entities honest. The newspaper needs readers who will speak up, and call it on its failures in the same way.

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