Last week, every newsroom in this valley received an envelope with no return address. It contained documents dealing with a couple of disputes between police officers and Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung.

Most newsrooms ignored the material, which is customary with these kinds of poison pen memos that appear regularly in election years. That’s what usually happens when someone—figuratively or otherwise—slips material under the door of the newsroom and then runs like crazy.

One exception was KRNV News, which took the material and ran a report on April 26, a perfectly proper thing to do, though it could have left out the impression that the report was the product of diligent digging.

The Reno Gazette-Journal then did a front page April 28 story about KRNV’s story, an old technique used by some media entities to get into a story that they didn’t want to do head-on. (Sort of like this editorial.) Between the front page and the jump page, the Gazette-Journal seems to have used a full half page on the story about the story.

Before the newspaper even got into the substance of the anonymously distributed documents, it first ran text about their political implications and also recounted an earlier Jung/police dispute. Then it reviewed the documents, which dealt with two instances when Jung entered the county courthouse. On one occasion, she was required to turn over a gun she was carrying before entering the building and had difficulty getting it back when she left. On the other occasion, she objected to a procedure in which she and other members of the public were told to remove their shoes while going through metal detectors at a time of inclement weather when the floor was dirty and wet.

The newspaper also ran a follow-up May 1 front page story on the same topic.

On her Facebook page, Jung responded to the publicity this way: “This is a smear campaign by my opponent and her backers because they do not want to talk about the issues important to this community!”

Contrary to Ms. Jung’s posting, this is a legitimate topic for scrutiny, not a smear, though it was put out there by someone with something to hide. Jung seems to have a hair trigger on her temper and an arrogance in expressing it, though most people will probably also sympathize with her tussles over security screening. She should acknowledge her failings, indicate some contrition, give some assurance that the future will be different, and move on.

Next, there are the anonymously distributed reports. They are composed of police reports from both the Reno Police Department and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department. Their language, particularly in the case of the sheriff’s office documents, suggests that they were produced less for internal use than for public consumption.

Then there is the matter of throwing the kind of news spotlight on this dispute that suggests it is a major story. It was out of all perspective to its importance. It would be nice if this kind of space were being given to this area’s real problems. By contrast with the newspaper’s 1,130-word Jung story, an adjoining Associated Press report used just 368 words to describe the declining value of Nevada’s popular Millennium scholarships.

Republicans, naturally, jumped on the dispute with an English-challenged full-page ad in the Gazette-Journal that attacked Democrat Jung. Their use of that kind of space is not surprising. But the newspaper, which these days produces few reports of its own, could have devoted those 1,310 words to something of greater moment. The same is true of KRNV.