The Bucks Herald quite regularly takes a kicking over stories it runs both in print and online, usually coming from councils, police and company press officers more concerned over reputations than the facts.
Some editors may be concerned about this but quite frankly I am not. In fact I see it as a big positive for the paper, Aylesbury and its readers.
Now that is not to say that I want to attract criticism or a reputation for poor reporting, or for getting things wrong. Absolutely not.
The reason I see the current status quo as good news is because it brings about healthy, thoughtful debate and in some cases changes for the better.
I promise I will not bang on about the key role of papers in the democratic process but sometimes I feel the army of so called spin doctors out there have forgotten, or more so I suspect, don’t understand the reasons for press freedom.
Recently there have been a number of examples where the Bucks Herald has, rightly so, decided to challenge the establishment after readers have alerted us to the story behind the story.
The fatal crash a couple of months ago on the A413 near Wendover in which two men died brought forward motorists angry at the actions of the police over an incident just prior to the crash. This matter is now in front of the police complaints commission.
Last week we highlighted dangerous contamination at the Aqua Vale pool and asked questions on why it took 11 days to act on reports from environmental health officers.
We have also been highlighting the extraordinary actions of the Aston Clinton Parish Council embroiled in a land row that has ended up costing villagers tens of thousands of pounds.
Then there is the questioning of Watermead Parish Council’s decision to hold a ‘fun day’ to mark the beginning of the First World War which has attracted criticism.
Just a few examples of stories brought to our attention by readers keen to challenge the decision makers.
All of the above have attracted severe criticism of the paper and its motives from those involved. Although there is very little evidence to suggest we got it wrong.
So I applaud my team for remaining true to journalism and hope that more people realise that without newspapers the spin doctors and ‘all powerful people’ will take over the world if not more than occasionally brought to book.