Why we’re taking more time to explain our values and process

Editor Kyle Palmer moderating a forum for the Overland Park mayoral candidates in 2021.

It’s no secret that people’s opinion of “the media” is pretty low these days.

They’re upset by opinion pieces designed to stoke division. They don’t feel like they can trust the information journalists present. They’re overwhelmed by bad news they feel like they can’t do anything about. And they’re flustered by the sheer volume of information coming their way.

Simply put: They’re fed up.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

At the Shawnee Mission Post and the Blue Valley Post, we’ve taken a different approach to local news. Instead of focusing on the topics of interest to power brokers, political parties or other journalists, we prioritize the issues that matter to average residents. And we work hard to make it quick and easy to get caught up, so that it doesn’t feel like a chore to keep up on your community.

We also know that, in the current environment, we can’t take our readers’ trust as a given — even if our most recent subscriber poll put our trustworthiness rating at 95%. It’s something we have to keep on earning every single day.

That’s why we’ve been so thrilled to work with Joy Mayer of Trusting News over the past two months on how to proactively communicate our beliefs, our values and our process. To that end, we’ve made some extensive updates to our “About Us” page, which you can find here.

You’ll now find detailed descriptions of what we cover, what we don’t cover, and the values we hold ourselves accountable to — and hope you’ll hold us accountable to as well. (See something that you don’t think meets the standards we’ve set for ourselves? Let us know here!)

You’ll also find information about how we make money, who owns the site, and how we keep the sales operation from influencing the decisions we make in the newsroom.

The new About Us page is just the first step in a process to increase transparency and continue building trust with readers like you. Moving forward, you can expect to see more frequent notes from our editors in the stories we publish, explaining the processes we use to gather and confirm information as well as the thinking behind pursuing a particular story.

Our goal is to be the “user’s guide to Johnson County” — a resource available for anyone who wants to make sure they’re plugged in to what’s happening in the place they call home. We know we can’t achieve that goal without the community’s trust.

Thank you for your support in keeping local news strong in Johnson County! If you like what we do and want to support of our efforts, the best thing you can do is become a subscriber. It’s just $1 for your first month and then $7/month or $77 per year after that.