To the Editor:

I believe a local paper has a greater obligation to the people of its community than the Stowe Reporter realizes. Placing the name of a local business in the front-page headline in a story about COVID was irresponsible, and as a local business owner, it concerns me about the direction this paper is headed with regards to its handling of the pandemic news cycle.

By the time this paper hit newsstands, the situation at Piecasso was already mitigated. For the coming week, that name stands emblazoned on the cover, isolating them from the tourist economy they rely upon — and why? That daily paper style of reporting does not make sense given the context of your weekly format. I have thought that many times before. Prior to becoming a dentist, I spent two years writing for a weekly paper in a resort community before going on to write and produce network news in Manhattan. The editor of my paper always practiced the utmost discretion and consideration when the news could potentially impact members of the community. In this situation and my own personal experience with your paper, I can say that is not always the case.

I understand COVID is news and it is your obligation to report events honestly and without bias, but the real story, the one I want to hear, is the human one. Ed Rovetto and Piecasso’s rapid response to this exposure protected this community. His transparency about the event might have hurt his business, but his concerns about safety of his patrons and employees was paramount. He deserves to be applauded, not called-out.

The facts, as presented in the lead of your story, offer clear cut opportunity for conjecture. Did the worker get the kids sick? The best part of the story, Kyle Walker’s contribution, warns about exactly that. Unfortunately, it was buried deep in the story and many of your readers will never see it. Going forward I hope that you take more consideration for the impact your reporting has on this community. That feels a bit like asking the Bourne’s guy to put the oil in the tank and not all over the lawn.

John Hirce

Stowe

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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