I was going to write something Christmassy this week, but instead I want to share what it's like to be a journalist covering a controversial local issue.
It is quite simply a case of "damned if you do and damned if you don't".
That's what's happening with our coverage of the upgrade of Port Macquarie's southern breakwall. As the community debate becomes heated in the lead-up to next weekend's public rally, so too is the criticism coming our way.
I want to reassure readers that we have not and will not take a position for or against the upgrade.
Because ratepayer and taxpayer funds are at stake - even if it's just the cost of the time spent debating the issue in council - we will report all civil, sincere and relevant perspectives, and let readers make up their own minds.
In fact, every day we discuss our approach to this story, and every other story we cover, from a position of neutrality and objectivity. It is how we are trained and when you've been a journalist as long as I have, it becomes part of your hard-wiring.
There will always be those who attack the media, but journalists have a saying; if both sides of an argument start complaining, then you know you're getting it right.
To those who've emailed about the ads on our website, or who are simply mumbling under their breath... I hear you.
I like seeing what local businesses are selling or have on special or what events are coming up. In fact, I'm more likely to read the classifieds or click on ads on a webpage than in my social media feeds.
However, when a dodgy or gross link, or scantily clad women start popping up in the middle of my team's news stories, I'm as frustrated as you are. (And no, it's not because these are things I'm googling, which is how algorithms generally work.)
These sorts of ads are often out of our control. But the good news is, our product team is on the case to ensure subscribers have the best experience possible.
If you see something dodgy, take a screenshot and send it my way and I'll pass it on to those who look after these things. We want to make sure you're seeing the right ads so that you can support local businesses, but I also want you to enjoy the stories we're working hard to share with you.
As for that something Christmassy, that'll come next week.
Editor, ACM North Coast (Port Macquarie News)
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