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WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF A JOURNALIST?

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Cleary's Trial Postponed...Once Again! 

 

 

William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews editor

 

“Are you sure you want to become a journalist? If you are looking for a job that will make you renowned, you have chosen the wrong field."

~George F. Cleary Sr.

Gloucester City News & Camden County Record publisher / Editor Emeritus

 

GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (February 11, 2024)—As you know, on October 10, my son and I were charged by the Cold Springs School Resource Officer Brian Green with stealing a child’s bench, which we thought was trash. It had been lying on the asphalt behind the school with other trash for several weeks. When we learned it wasn’t trash, we contacted the police and spoke with Officer Bennett. Shortly after explaining our mistake, we returned the bench to the school. We were also charged with trespassing for walking around the school grounds on a weekend.

 

Screenshot 2024-02-11 at 18.45.14

 

Our most recent trial date for those alleged crimes was scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, but it has been postponed until later.  Previously, it was scheduled for January 30, but the prosecutor adjourned it on January 29.  We also appeared in municipal court in November and December. Each time we walked into the courtroom, we thought that we would finally have a chance to explain our side. 

I have been a journalist for more than five decades. This year, I will be 80 years old. Every so often, someone will ask me why I am still working. My answer is always, “I enjoy what I do.” 

I take my duties as a journalist seriously. After all, the press represents the people, which is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.  Some time ago, I read an article written by Peter Millett, Britain’s ambassador to Liberia, who gave his opinion on the duties of a journalist. One line that particularly stood out pertained to politicians complaining. “If a politician dislikes criticism from the press, then he is definitely in the wrong job.”

The ambassador wrote the following;

The backbone of any democracy is an independent, professional and responsible media. Their role is to inform, criticize and stimulate debate.

For the media to be credible it has to take responsibility for getting its facts right.  **That means digging deep, talking to a range of people to get the different sides of the story, and checking their facts rigorously. It should not hesitate to root out and expose lies, hypocrisy and corruption, but has to be sure of its facts before doing so.

Credibility also means avoiding exaggeration or scare-mongering just to sell more newspapers. Stories based on rumors or sourced from someone with an axe to grind are what makes people joke that you can’t believe anything you read in the papers or see on TV.

Being responsible means not only telling the truth but also abiding by the law and being honest in the way a journalist gathers information. If the press drifts into law-breaking, it will lose the respect of its readers and the nation.

Those in the public eye should not fear or be defensive about the press. If a politician dislikes criticism from the press, then he is definitely in the wrong job. As a British politician said many years ago: “for a politician to complain about the press is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.”

*Regarding Mr. Cleary's quote, I told my father that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a journalist.  

**(Emphasis CNBNews editor)

World Press Freedom Day this year is May 3, 2024.

 

WHY HASN'T THE VIDEO BEEN REMOVED?

 

GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (February 11, 2024)----On the 10th of October, 2023, the Gloucester City Police Department posted a video on its Facebook page that captured the Clearys taking a metal bench from a pile of discarded items behind Cold Springs School. The video's caption, which read, "The GCPD is investigating a robbery from Cold Springs School; if you recognize the individuals or vehicle, etc.," falsely implied that the Clearys were thieves. Despite clarifying to Officer Bennett that the other man in the video was their son, the caption on the video still stated nine days later that the police had identified one person but not the other. 

 After Bennett visited Cleary's' house, they expected the police department to correct the mistake and remove the video, but even now, it is still being played on the City Police Department's Facebook page. Cleary’s Sr. said, “Why is the video still being played? Why haven’t the police removed it?  The video is not only misleading but also paints my son and me in a bad light.”

 

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