Coverage lacked sensitivity

To the editor:

Do we still balance authentic journalism with consideration for our own?

I’m writing to express concern and disappointment regarding an article published in the paper on Feb. 8, 2024 about my father. (“Saranac Lake man gets 7 years in prison for attempted murder.”) While I recognize that your paper has a responsibility to report news — factual, real updates for our small community — it also has an equally as authentic responsibility to consider empathetic journalism in a small town. This is where you missed the mark.

I question the necessity of revisiting a story and case that occurred nearly a year ago, and more so, highlighting the sensitive content of said story on the front page. It seems unlikely that there has been a clamor for updates from the community. Therefore, I can only assume that the push for publishing yet another article on this topic was influenced by external political agendas. This level of prolonged coverage on a single topic is unusual for you and our area, and raises my concern about the motivations behind it.

I encourage you to consider the impact of your actions on all parties involved and their families. This past week has been incredibly difficult for my family, and it is disheartening to see our pain disregarded in the pursuit of an attention-grabbing story. The decision to publish this article almost a year later only serves to reopen old wounds and hinder our ability to heal and move forward privately.

My husband and I chose to return to our town, buy a home, and raise a family so we could live amongst the kind, good-natured community that is Saranac Lake. As for the newspaper, however: I strongly urge you to exercise greater empathy and discretion in your reporting, especially when it involves local families facing challenging circumstances. There are always two sides to every story, and our family’s perspective deserves to be respected. We are deeply disappointed and hurt by your actions, which have only served to exacerbate our pain. And now, ahead of what is designed to be a weekend of social, exciting activity, we’ll be flooded with questions, stares and pity as it relates to our dad’s sentencing. Irrespective of the news you’re reporting, are the people you’ll impact ever considered when you print the newspaper?

Readers can agree or disagree, but I write to argue that we don’t throw consideration of others in the trash when reporting. After all, we all choose to call Saranac Lake home because of an unsaid expectation of support and community. You have greatly disappointed that. The countless calls and text messages received by us from our friends and neighbors in the wake of your story is noteworthy — they share in our hurt and they offer compassion; for that, I’m incredibly grateful. I hope that in the future, you will be more mindful of the impact your reporting has on the lives of those affected.

With hurt and dismay,

Katie Finnegan

Saranac Lake


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