I must admit to feeling a touch uncomfortable this week, mostly because the closer a story comes to hitting home, the more uncomfortable it gets.
This one was within our small media circle.
We had been hearing from subscribers and adult carriers of the Erie Times-News of delays in delivering the paper over the past month, ever since the company stopped printing the paper in Erie and contracted with the Butler Eagle to do the work there and truck the paper here.
So, at 2am Sunday morning my photographer Rob and I got out of our warm beds and drove down to the Times Distribution Center, a building across Myrtle Street from the paper's main building on West 12th Street.
There we talked to carriers about their concerns; one telling us she was even quitting because when the paper arrives late it interferes with her full time day job.
We watched the truck come in, on time this day, and recorded the carriers as they loaded their vehicles and went out about their deliveries.
The story, titled "Printing Erie Paper in Butler Causing Early Headaches" provoked quite a response, including other carriers who were looking to air other grievances anonymously.
We politely declined.
I've heard in the days since how it must have given me such joy to bring up a shortcoming in a competitor, to give the other guy a black eye.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
There are people at the Erie Times-News with whom I have worked and known for more than twenty years.
We grew up in this business together; went to the same fires and crime scenes, recorded the same moments in history.
We are far more alike than we are dissimilar; far more alike perhaps than even we would care to admit.
And we're in the same foxhole these days, too.
My enemies do not work for a newspaper. My enemies are apathy, and stretched resources, and a vast blog land where checking the facts never seems to get in the way of a good rumor.
In my business changes in technology come at the speed of the latest smart phone app.
And change can be painful; we've gone through it and the paper is going through it now.
This too shall pass.
But regardless of how we get the information to you, the integrity of the process has to be maintained, so that you trust that we have no agenda other than just getting out the facts.
That means we have to be willing to shine the light wherever it's needed, even if that means shining that light into our own mirror.