There’s been an interesting online debate in the Hamiltonian and Raise the Hammer about media credentials. Clr. Sam Merulla told the editor of the Hamiltonian that she should appear as a delegation before council if she wants answers to her questions about the Hamilton Waterfront Trust. His argument is that from his standpoint the Hamiltonian has no Media credentials and therefore is ineligible to ask questions as a member of the media.
The fact is that Journalism and Politics are similar in that there are no credentials. You can run for office or engage in journalism with no qualifications whatsoever, and sadly,we see many examples of both here in Hamilton. I hasten to add that from what I can see the Hamiltonian has striven to take a more neutral stance than most blogs do and adopts a respectful, mostly non-judgmental tone. For that they are a welcome addition to the local media scene.
If someone were asking my advice, and they are not; I would advise the Hamiltonian to avoid appearing as a delegation before council if it values its role as a trusted independent source of information. In journalism its an old adage that no matter how tempting, “you can’t march in the parade you are covering.” You either are a source of news or a source of community activism–you can’t be both. The reason CATCH has become irrelevant is because its editor also appears before council as a delegation and engages in activism publicly and behind the scenes.
Based on the comments I have seen on the Hamiltonian they have an intelligent, engaged readership. Trust your readers to take the necessary steps to get to the bottom of HWT. Here at the Bay Observer we will keep plugging away at this story which in the end is really only a symptom of a much broader malaise.