Have you ever heard of a municipal government creating a newspaper to censor an existing one?

That’s what South Burlington is experiencing right now — our government has created what it calls a newspaper.

The South Burlington Times surfaced last week, in direct response to reporting from The Other Paper.

We are disheartened that South Burlington has decided to create this online “news” agency under the guise of transparency. As we have reported, we have been tangled in a battle with the city for public records related to police activity.

The irony of starting a news outlet to censor the newspaper of record is far from lost on us.

This process began in late August before the announcement of this new outlet.

Who’s paying for this?

The city says no taxpayer money is going to it but doesn’t say what is.

Is staff time being used to produce this newsletter? Are the contributors paid?

No one is perfect. We have critics. We’re critical of ourselves. We take questions, concerns and critiques seriously. We always strive to do better.

We also fully know what it means to share the stories of South Burlington, the good and the bad, bringing happy news balanced with holding the people in power accountable.

And we have a deep understanding of what it means to be a journalist and hold ourselves to strong ethical standards.

The first rule of journalism is don’t assume.

We pride ourselves on reporting well-researched and accurate news — even if officials don’t like it.

The best way to garner positive news is perform positive action.

We won’t regurgitate minutes. Rather, we will share the issues, stories, challenges, good deeds and noteworthy accomplishments within this community.

The concerns raised in the abusive and unfounded “articles” will not deter us.

News is objective, not something that the city can dictate or censor.

We have been in this community for decades and we will remain. The way news is covered has changed, and evolved, and grown, and will continue to do so — journalism shifts as the world shifts.

And if there’s anything we’ve seen in the world lately, shifts happen.

Reliable news and information is vitally important. Local advertising has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis but the Vermont Community Newspaper Group remains committed to its responsibility to serve its communities. Your communities. With some assistance from loyal readers, community organizations, foundations and other funders, we hope to keep reporters on the job keeping you informed. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our local journalism fund. Thank you for your support.

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