Being human

As you’ve already read to the left (if you for some reason read articles right to left, go over and read it first), one of our reporters had what was likely the hardest day of his career to date

It certainly wasn’t the first time a member of The Haldimand Press has been yelled at or called a liar. 

One of the first such instances I witnessed was when I too was a reporter. Another reporter had done a stand-up photo (what we call a photo with no story) on a business in Haldimand. There was a disagreement on the exact wording used, based on a quote from the owner. While I was not privy to the exact conversations that took place, I do know it ended with that reporter in tears.

One of my own worst conversations came shortly after Jillian Taylor and I took over as publishers. A new person was on announcements, and she made the unfortunate mistake of missing one. The family was understandably upset, and we offered what we could – to post it on our website and to run it for free the following week. Long story short, the family wanted more, the situation was escalated to myself, and on refusal to pay the nearly $1,000 bill that was sent to my email for a big city paper to run the announcement, I was yelled at and given a promise that I was going down to that too-warm place.

And of course, I will never forget the first time we held a Thanksgiving sale. A handful of people who had recently renewed under the regular price contacted us, yelling from the get-go and insulting my employees for not telling them about the sale (before we had even decided to hold a sale) and for “stealing” their money. It disgusted me, to say the least. I ended up having to write a letter, much like this one, as I was just about ready to never hold another sale again if that was the abuse my employees could expect from it. Fortunately for us all, whatever was in the air that Thanksgiving seems to have dispersed, as future sales went much more smoothly.

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What happened last Monday to Mike Renzella was the greatest show of aggression and vulgarity to occur against one of our staff in my memory. He did not have an ideal response, but he knows that. So let’s look at the heart of this issue.

There is an increasing hatred toward and violence against the media. Globally there has been a sharp rise in the killings of journalists, particularly in war torn areas. But even here in Haldimand, while our lives may not be on the line, there is a growing number of people whose anger ends up pointing our way. They want us to take their side, to prove their theory of corruption, to fix the damages they perceive in the world.

But that isn’t our job. 

Our job is to inform residents, showcasing every side of the issue we can gather, and to record these happenings so our community’s history is not lost to time. What people do with that information is up to them.

Regardless of a persons’ job, political leanings, race, personality, religion, sexuality, hair colour, skin routine, height, or whatever other means humans use to distinguish each other – to mark this one as a part of the group and that one as “other” – enough.

Enough of pretending like we’re not all humans, all capable of great achievements and equal failures, all with feelings and lives outside of what you may witness.

Enough of putting your expectations on another human as if that means anything, as if they owe you anything beyond the basic human courtesies to allow you to live safely in the same way they’d wish for themselves.

Enough of thinking that because you’re upset you have the right to make others upset, to make others feel less-than so you can feel something more-than (anger, sadness, whatever it may be that’s led you to that dark place).

Enough.

I ask our readers (and especially the people who won’t see this as they refuse to read anything from “the media”), please be kind. Remember we are all human, and what that means to be hurtling through space together on this ball we call home.

We are always open to feedback, even to criticism, when it comes from a place of growing together. We cannot be everything to everyone, but we strive to be the best we can to support our community. If you have a story idea, feedback on our work, or something else you’d like to share, please reach out and connect with us – human to human.