Monday, December 29, 2008

Journalistic Integrity

I've still been thinking a lot about the Nishiki scandal, although it seems, by and large, to have blown over at this point. As someone commented on my previous post about Nishiki, there's a lot more to the Nishiki story than the simple facts of what occurred.

It honestly astounds me that the Nishiki story broke after the election. While I know that it's dangerous to continue comparing Portland to Maui, it's hard not to in this case. Back in Portland, a scandal like Nishiki's would have broken months before the election was held.  Not only would the Willamette Weekly, Portland's trendy, non-mainstream weekly newspaper, have been all over the story, so too would have the Oregonian, the state's largest paper.

I would think that investigating a candidate's financial background would be a top priority on any journalist's list. So what happened here? I'm inclined to think that it's merely sloppy, amateurish journalism. In reading all of the papers here on Maui, I frequently find myself disappointed with the quality and frustrated with the lack of actual information presented. Where is the substance?

However, I'm still essentially a newcomer to Maui. There could perhaps be more to the story. Are Maui journalists complicit in covering up damaging stories for Maui politicians? I find this highly unlikely, but it's not unheard of. Politics is certainly filled with a vast amount of corruption, which seems to bleed into all other aspects of life.

This is an interesting journey that I have been on over the last 5 months, as I learn to adjust to this new place. I learn more and more every day. Back in Portland, I volunteered over the course of several years for a non-profit, independent, left-leaning newspaper. It was a paper that was beholden to no one, that chased stories no matter the fall out. It was interesting and informative. I would love to see a paper like that on Maui.

So often here, I feel starved for information and "out of touch." How I would love to not feel that any longer.

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