August 24, 2017

Arizona Republic’s editor, Nicole Carroll, heard from readers after President Trump’s Tuesday night rally in Phoenix. Here’s one email she got:

It is refreshing to know that the most powerful politician in the world is not kowtowing to the backbiters you in the Fake News Media have become.

The battle lines have been drawn.

On Thursday, Carroll wrote a response.

Protecting the First Amendment, protecting free speech, is at the core of what we do.

But our job also is to be the eyes and ears of our community, to see and share what’s happening. For the public to have informed opinions, it must have information.

So here’s what I would like everyone who wrote to me Wednesday, including Eliot, to know about what our team saw, and reported, Tuesday night.

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That night, she wrote, as objects were thrown at police outside the president’s rally in Phoenix and police fired back with pepper spray and tear gas, 17 Republic journalists covered the chaos outside as it unfolded.

Carroll tells the stories of her staff, where they were and what they experienced as they stayed to cover the story.

For us, there were not battle lines, just news to report.

We had live coverage of the president’s rally inside the convention center.

We had a full staff covering events outside.

And then, when the time came, our professional reporters and photographers put themselves in harm’s way to let you see the events as they unfolded.

That’s about as real as it gets.

The Republic stood up for its work last year, too, after endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Arizona Republic President Mi-Ai Parrish, who’s also on Poynter’s National Advisory Board, wrote about threats the newsroom received after and put names and faces to her staff.

…The journalists I introduced you to here walk into the newsroom every day to do their jobs.

When they do, they pass by an inscription that fills an entire wall, floor to ceiling. It is 45 words long. It is an idea that is in my thoughts a lot these days.

It is the First Amendment.

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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