Decision making at the San JuanRecord
While several journalistic outlets decided otherwise, we did not cover the story about the November 2022 traffic stop involving the son of San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams.
Simply, we felt that the story did not meet the criteria for news that we would report. In general, we do not report allegations, we report charges… and no charges were filed against Commissioner Adams.
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The son of Commissioner Adams was arrested for an outstanding warrant near Monticello on Friday evening during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.
After the arrest, Adams drove to the location to retrieve the car. Believing that the warrant was not valid, Adams angrily confronted law enforcement.
San Juan County Sheriff Jason Torgerson and his staff reviewed the incident, including footage from the officers’ body cameras, and determined that the officers had acted professionally and appropriately in a tense situation. They visited with Adams to defend the officers. No charges were filed against the commissioner.
It turns out that the warrant was valid and the arrest was appropriate.
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We faced a similar situation last fall regarding allegations against previous Commissioners Kenneth Maryboy and Willie Grayeyes.
In the lead-up to the 2022 general election, emails were released between the Commissioners and representatives of several environmental, tribal and civil rights entities. The emails show a clear coordination of efforts outside of open public meetings, in addition to raising a number of troubling questions.
We did not cover the allegations, but did report when the issue was brought up in a public meeting and when a legislative audit was ordered by the State of Utah. If and when charges are filed, either by the audit or a criminal charge, we will aggressively cover the story. Until then, they are just allegations.
As far as I know, we have reported every single felony charge in the local court system for more than 20 years. But once again, no charges have been filed in the situations involving the Commissioners.
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It is a challenging environment for small newspapers. Literally hundreds of newspapers have closed in recent years, including the local newspapers in Blanding, Dove Creek and Dolores.
They served their communities wonderfully and now they no longer exist.
The result is the development of vast “news deserts,” areas with little detailed coverage of local communities and government entities.
This is not good for our communities or our government entities. Simply put, no news is bad news.
The challenge was created in part by social media and the void is filled poorly by social media, with quick and often unfounded, often anonymous, and often unvetted accusations.
We trust the deliberative process that accompanies investigations by law enforcement and careful deliberations by prosecutors. We will always report on actual charges and convictions. The goal is to get it right and that is often a difficult task to complete.
Social media is incredibly powerful. As a user of social media, you provide a massive amount of information about yourself and, over time, social media knows you better than anyone else.
Social media knows your likes and dislikes. It knows what triggers you and what causes outrage. And simply put, it is very effective in feeding you a potentially endless stream of information that triggers outrage.
Wow, no wonder we are all so angry all the time.
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The San Juan Record believes that a small newspaper will never be able to compete with social media, particularly if we try to play by the rules of social media. So we will not play by the rules of social media. We are committed to truth, fairness, and accuracy. Social media claims no such commitment.
Despite the challenges and the risks, the San Juan Record has been able to survive (and even thrive) by focusing on several key points.
The San Juan Record chooses to report on our area of the world with detailed coverage of local government entities, with coverage of the court systems, and with coverage of local sports, celebrations, and events.
We cover life in San Juan County from the births of babies to the deaths of our friends and neighbors. Our feature stories and columnists help us understand and enjoy our incredible corner of the world.
We are determined to provide this coverage in a positive manner.
With our sister ventures at Redrock92, sjrnews.com and pictureitpalmer.com, we provide a great avenue for local businesses and organizations to get the word out about their events, goods and services. We appreciate our advertisers, listeners, viewers, and subscribers for making this possible.
Letters to the Editor provide your input about issues of local interest. We are happy to hear from our readers. Of course, letters must be signed and please... be civil. There is more than enough outrage in the world. – Bill Boyle