The people will be watching

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By John Whitlock

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been talking to new and returning local officials following the general election earlier this month.

Plenty of promises have been made and lots of goals and ambitions established in hopes of winning support from the public.

In the next few months, we will monitor the progress of these issues and many others topics.

The News-Herald will support and encourage their agendas for the betterment of the community while still working as watchdogs for the effective use of taxpayers’ money.

And judging from the amount of emails and letters I have received concerning local government, I know the public will be watching too.


As a newcomer to Owen County, I’ve been truly impressed by the people of this area and the commitment they have to making their community better.

There is a spirit here that is pretty rare these days – a real sense of community.

You can see it in the tireless work of the Owen County Friends of Animals and the Owen County Historical Society.

Personally, I barely have time to let my dogs out to go to the bathroom every few hours much less work hours upon hours to make the world better for the animal population of Owen County.

The historical society is another great example of people will to take time out of their own busy lives to make things better for the future.

These days, some people would be content to just let the past slip into the dark - more concerned with their own problems and headaches than those of people dead for many years.

The members of the historical society have the insight to know that any community is built on what has gone before and are willing to dedicate their free time to preserving the past. It’s a noble enterprise.


I spoke with a county official last week.

The official welcomed me to the Owen County and offered to talk about some of the county’s problems and controversies during an off-the-record conversation.

I told the official I would be happy to sit down and discuss anything but I don’t like to sit down with anyone “off the record.”

I’ve always thought that off-the-record comments and unnamed sources are a major source of problems for newspapers and the media in general.

Talking to someone off the record should be very limited to people who know and trust me and to people I know and trust. It’s just not a good idea to start out any relationship with secrets.

For the most part, if it can be told to a reporter, it should be told to the public.

Although I will admit there are times for off-the-record interviews, confidential background talks and unnamed sources, the role of a newspaper should be to inform and entertain the community – not hold secrets.