The news media “is the enemy of the American people.”
President Donald J. Trump
Dear Mr. President:
I first read that quote last year when you sent it out on your Twitter account. To be honest, I didn’t know quite what to make of it. I wondered if you really meant that, or if it was just more of the hyperbole we’ve become accustomed to on social media.
“… the enemy of the American people.”
I still have difficulty coming to grips with that statement. And yes, I realize the comments were directed at the national media rather than anyone such as myself or my small-town colleagues.
But then it dawned on me. This actually does apply to me.
Because I am the media.
A miniscule pixel of a much larger picture, no doubt. But I am part of the media, nevertheless.
Here at our weekly newspaper, The Anna Maria Island Sun, local news is what we do. News about our schools, our local economy, the Community Center soccer league, neighborhood flooding, the garden club flower show, the Kiwanis Club barbecue, this year’s city budget.
It’s all part of life in our corner of the kingdom. Chronicling the events of the day and the lives of those around us is our job. It’s what we do.
For example, one of our stories this week is about a fundraiser for a local family whose business recently was devastated by fire. Friends and neighbors packed our Community Center gymnasium in a rally and show of support that revealed just how tight the bond is among people here on this Island. This is small-town life at its most fundamental, represented in a single event.
That spirit, that basic humanity, is what we try to capture on the pages of our newspaper.
It can be tricky. Not all the news is good. When Hurricane Irma dealt a final blow to our Island’s aging fishing pier, our stories and photographs reflected not only the extent of the damage but also how much this iconic structure meant to those living here and how much we did not want to lose it.
But we’re happy to be there when the grade-schoolers put on their annual play, and the parents in the crowd are proudly craning their necks to get a glimpse. When the city commission decides what type of benches will look best for our version of Main Street, we’re there for that, too. And when the question of increasing taxes arises, we are in those commission meetings, as well.
Each of these aspects of covering a community for a weekly newspaper is personal for me. I take them to heart. Why? Because I am the media. My co-workers are the media.
And I don’t see an enemy of the American people among them.
– Mike Field, publisher