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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

columnist Leib should comment more on local developments

Reader says local columnist should pay more attention to local issues
Posted on Nov. 18, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.

I was gratified this past summer to read The Elkhart Truth’s editorial declaring its priority of covering the local area. I believe that’s key to the newspaper’s future success. So I continue to be baffled by The Truth’s local columnist. Rather than covering developments in this community, why does Richard Leib continue to pretend to be a national political columnist — and why does The Truth continue to let him?

I have no doubt that Leib is an intelligent observer of national affairs. But that doesn’t qualify him to produce a column about them. (Neither does his experiences of operating a furniture store, serving on planning committees or participating in an illegal auto race.) Consider his Nov. 10 column, “Analyzing Tuesday’s Elections.” How can Leib, here in Elkhart, have access to the sources necessary to adequately and authoritatively write about state elections in New York, New Jersey and Virginia — or about anything else of a national scope? Certainly there’s plenty online, but that’s not enough. As a result, Leib has yet to provide any original insights or information, choosing instead to rely on little more than second- and third-hand observations interspersed with witticisms.

Meanwhile, he ignores issues that most affect local people, such as the sewer compact, the apparent increase in crime, education standards and downtown revitalization. Leib hasn’t even tried to find Elkhart County angles on state or national concerns. Those are the sorts of things a local columnist, like a local reporter, is supposed to cover. By not doing that, Leib and The Truth are doing a disservice to their readers and their community.

Rich Preheim


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