In support of dogged reporting

The Sacramento Valley Mirror’s recent unpopular editorial decision shouldn’t overshadow all its good work

A couple of years ago, the Willows Journal and the Orland Press Register merged into a single newspaper. That move was a sign of the times when it comes to corporate-owned publications. But it wasn’t unprecedented around these parts. Years before that we watched as the Chico Enterprise-Record took over editorial operations of its sister paper, the Oroville Mercury Register.

The result of this cost-saving measure, of course, is the homogenization of news content. That’s not a good thing for the communities these papers serve. We believe that a robust media landscape is a competitive one with multiple media outlets.

The more voices in a region, the better and more thorough the discussion.

One of the voices we’d hate to see silenced in the North State’s publishing world is the Sacramento Valley Mirror. That Willows-based paper manages to put out two issues a week that include not only local coverage of small-town affairs such as the county fair but also investigative pieces that hold government accountable. The small paper, led by its dogged publisher/editor, Tim Crews, is a beacon of truth in a community where corruption would otherwise go unnoticed.

The oft-embattled Crews and his news operation are being threatened with a boycott for publishing the photo of a man who died after his speeding motorcycle crashed in a ravine. Crews defends his editorial decision to print that photo, saying that it has news value; that doing so may prevent a similar tragedy from taking place in his rural neck of the woods.

We understand why the family of the deceased man would be upset seeing the photo, and many newspapers, this one included, likely would not have run that photo. But we respect Crews’ editorial judgment and hope that readers of the Mirror will continue to support this invaluable local resource.