Meridian Star

Editor's Blog

March 12, 2007

March 12, 2007.

When all else fails, blame the media.

It looks like a few local officials have decided to take shots at the media, rather than focusing on how they can better serve the ones who pay their salaries — the taxpayers —when it comes to luring industrial prospects to East Mississippi.

At today’s Council of Government meeting, a few officials took shots at us for our series — “Why not East Mississippi?” They also took shots at WTOK-TV for their reporting of Toyota choosing to locate its next plant near Tupelo.

We’re too negative, they said. We’re part of the problem by the way we report such news, they said.

But guess what? Our job isn’t economic development; it’s reporting the news. The headline of our series, “Why not East Mississippi?” is a perfectly legitimate headline. That’s the question that sparked the series. It’s quick and to the point. And you know what — most of their constituents likely asked themselves that same question when they heard Toyota chose Tupelo. Heck, I bet even some of them quietly asked it when they heard the news.

And the story itself was very thorough and balanced.

We also wrote an editorial on our editorial page that touched on the Toyota announcement. In that editorial, we wrote that several government sources close to the Toyota deal said East Mississippi had a reputation for not getting along with each other and following through on projects.

Several officials at the COG meeting disputed that. They said, “but we do get along.” It’s not something we made up. That is the perception that some — especially some that really matter — have of East Mississippi. Simply saying we don’t have a problem won’t make it go away. We can no longer pretend problems don’t exist. That doesn’t work.

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