Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Mon, Nov. 18

Miner Editorial | A public information officer can make all the difference

There are times when the Daily Miner hears criticism from its website and social media readers that there was not enough information provided in stories about traffic accidents and shootings.

You can rest assured it is not because the Daily Miner is keeping information from its readers.

In these situations, The Daily Miner’s reporting staff waits upon law enforcement officials for their first report, which is then written for the readers.

We do follow social media, and we do see and read what people are posting about specific incidents. In fact, a lot of tips are garnered from social media, but how much information used from it is limited because there are laws protecting private individuals.

The Daily Miner holds its responsibility to the subjects of our reports in high regard – first ethically, and second because we understand that libel and slander laws are necessary so reputations are protected.

Talking to others about incidents comes down to trustworthiness and reliability, especially in the time immediately following an event. In that short span of time, The Daily Miner is reliant upon law enforcement officials.

These agencies understand the public’s right to know what is happening in our community, and if the police, sheriff’s department, or state troopers want to get to the bottom of an incident, they are wise to get information out to public because they’ll have a better chance of understanding what happened or catching suspects who may be at large.

Law enforcement agencies also have reasons for withholding some of the information. If an incident is still under investigation, it makes sense the agencies don’t want to let everything they know out in the open while they pursue additional lines of inquiry. It is also possible they don’t want to risk scaring the general public.

There are times when The Daily Miner agrees with its readers; we, too, wish the agencies are more forthcoming with information. If the agencies withhold for too long of a time, there are steps we take to make certain the public gets the information it needs. The Daily Miner will ask for police reports and other records through public records requests and moving up the chains of command.

However, before we reach that point, the public information officers of the agencies we deal with have to work with us. Again, there are times when we want them to reveal more than they have about an incident, but for the most part they deliver and answer our questions promptly.

The Daily Miner is excited about the recent hiring of Anita Mortensen, who was hired as Mohave County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

Mortensen said at her press conference a week ago that she wanted to give the community more transparency and deliver more communication so that the public gets the information it wants.

It’s early, but Mortensen is being true to her word. The Daily Miner feels refreshed by her attention to not only the delivery of press releases, but to her prompt responses to inquiries.

The Daily Miner’s readership should be feeling refreshed as well.

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