Journalism rules that should never be overlooked

There are a few rules in journalism that should never be overlooked.

For instance, always report objectively and do not opine; do not join organizations where you will be required to report on their activities; always fact-check information provided by sources.

It is number three, ‘fact checking’, where we have to admit that we recently fell down.

The subject in question here is a controversial issue of a ‘heritage’ home in Southampton, known as Glen Huron house, that has been purchased and the future of which is in doubt.  It was earlier reported that the house was to be moved, without corroboration of the new owner. Thus, the lack of ‘fact checking’ … something that we always attempt to do.

The only reason I can give is that, when you live in a small community, you tend to believe some of those with whom you have been in discussion over many subjects day-to-day.

But let’s look at what draws people to Southampton in the first place.  Among the attractions is, of course, magnificent Lake Huron and her beautiful shoreline and the quaint character of the town itself with its historic homes and buildings.  Southampton is a town embedded with homes and buildings that reflect the early history of settlement along the Great Lakes.

Over the past 25 years, the Town (now Saugeen Shores amalgamated) has attempted to cultivate the rich marine heritage history with things like an interpretive plaque program and historic walking tours that appeal both to visitors and those residents who remember the history of the community.

With many new residents are moving into the area, it may be well to suggest that those who purchase heritage homes are, in fact, becoming the ‘caretakers of history’ as were generations before them .

The Glen Huron home, for instance, has appeared not only in Southampton’s official Walking Tour brochure but has also been in Ruth Cathcart’s book on Significant Homes of Bruce County from 1850 – 1900.

But I digress. It is unfortunate that the situation of Glen Huron has become a source of anxiety and frustration for many.  There are those who seek to preserve the past and, then, there is a new owner who, perhaps unknowingly, stepped onto a path riddled with history.

At last report, and, here we go again but, with ‘fact checking’, the matter has not yet been resolved.  Things may yet reach a solution that answers everyone’s concerns.

Oh, by the way … the last rule of journalism?  When you make a mistake … own up.