Social media has changed the landscape of the information age in this new century. No one has to tell me about declining circulation figures of daily and community newspapers. However, that does not make us much different than a lot of industries.
You learn to adapt. When televisions were beginning to be bought at a rapid rate by the mid-1950s, predictions that radio would disappear were predicted. But radio flourished in the 1960s and 1970s because it changed. Listeners did not turn on the radio to listen to episodes of “Little Orphan Annie” anymore. People began listening to the radio to hear the top hits as rock ‘n roll was in its early stages.
Talk shows and news programs began to saturate the air waves. Now, sports talks shows are all over the dial.
Newspapers will also survive because they have changed out of necessity. I am biased. I believe people should pick up newspapers at least once in a while so they get a more balanced and comprehensive take on a story.
I have nothing against online material. Bloggers can be interesting to read but these are mostly opinion pieces. It seems anyone can call themselves a journalist these days if they purchase a laptop or tablet and rant about anything.
To be honest, I don’t always look at these online publications. My week is filled working on material for The Reporter.
But I will start paying more attention when I was told that my name was used in what appears to be a news story. An article with no byline appeared online in the Oak Lawn Leaf, which posts a variety of material that seems to be consistently opposed to the policies of Mayor Sandra Bury. The online publication is often critical of anyone who gets along with Bury or has a solid working relationship with her.
In this instance, Oak Lawn Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) was the target. The Oak Lawn Leaf takes Olejniczak on following comments he made at a recent Oak Lawn Village Board meeting and a story I wrote that crime in the village is no greater or worse over the past few years. Olejniczak informed me in a story I wrote that there are certain spikes during the year in which local crime escalates, and at other times during a year that they decrease.
The online article, which actually reads more like a column, takes Olejniczak to task and disputes those figures. I’m not going to get into all that here due to space. But there was some inaccurate information that appeared in the story. Olejniczak, for instance, did not call me. I actually called him.
I contacted him because I saw a series of police cars on an Oak Lawn block. The first reports indicated that there was a burglary. I thought maybe he would know something about it. He was unaware of it and the conversation naturally led to overall crime in the village.
Getting back to the incident, it turns out a resident of the home accidentally triggered the burglary alarm of his residence. I know this because the police got back to me later that day. The delay in responding to me was because there was no police report.
The Oak Lawn Leaf contends that somehow the Bury administration and the police are hiding some information. I have seen no proof of that. Some crimes are still being investigated and police may not provide information because they do not want to jeopardize a case, especially when perpetrators are still at large. Naturally, I will always still try to get the information. Police eventually do get back to me or a reporter when they have information to provide.
But I don’t see that is hiding or fudging on crime statistics. But if I find out otherwise, we will look into it. The Oak Lawn Leaf is entitled to its opinion. If you attend Oak Lawn Village Board meetings, the Oak Lawn Leaf has come under criticism by Bury and other trustees that they claim is under the direction of Trustee Bob Streit (3rd), who is quoted in the item. Streit has always denied that he has any influence with the Oak Lawn Leaf.
At this point, I’m not really sure who is affiliated with the Oak Lawn Leaf. All that I ask is in the future is that if they have any questions about a story or a column I wrote, contact me. My email address appears at the end of the column. They can always call the office.
Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.