Gut Check

Nicole Rogers

Gut Check

2 mins
August 17, 2021

Probably more than is healthy, I stress over the newspaper businessProbably more than is healthy, I stress over the newspaper business. Over the years, I have told myself to suck it up and don’t let others’ opinions, or the fact that we must report unpopular news, get to me. Instead of getting stronger, it has just festered. I have come to realize; I don’t have the stomach for it. I love to feature all the sunshiny news but, when it comes to reporting on the tough stuff, the news that might not be taken well—well, that gets to me. 

I cringe when I lay it out, I cringe when it gets emailed off and then when I hear back negatively that’s really a sock to the gut. What’s the solution? Do we ignore breaking news? Is that even responsible? If it was up to my gut, we would never write anything remotely controversial, unless it is an editorial, even then we are cautious. The editorials that are sent in, even though I may not agree, are not the issue. I don’t mind them, in fact, I encourage people to write and express their opinions, even if they don’t align with ours. But it is the other hard-hitting news that affects my gut.

Maybe I shouldn’t be in the newspaper business… because no matter how you might write a story, it may raise the dander of someone. It is never my intention to hurt anyone but news is news. Our newspaper reflects ourselves, true, but it also should be, in many ways, non-reflective. That is the part I struggle with the most. Too often, I get emotionally involved in a story or event that happens in my hometown. And we try to be non-biased and I believe we succeed; I over-analyze everything and am never completely sure. There have been many times we could have written more on certain subjects but did not in order to keep the peace. And is that the right thing to do, either? 

For my personal mental health, I am taking a sabbatical from municipal news reporting. Am I being too sensitive? Probably, but I must face the fact that I am a sensitive person who never wants to offend anyone. Should I be ashamed of that? No, I shouldn’t. I can’t deny it, anymore. I can’t play the part of a tough newspaper publisher because that is not in my bones. 

When we began the Sentinel, the intention was to bring a positive view of the city and the surrounding area, and we still dedicate ourselves to that goal. But it’s not always sunshine and roses. Our city is not perfect, so news happens that needs to be reported. It takes courage to do so, especially when you have lived here all your life. I get protective of it and want our city to be at peace. As I mentioned before, I am my own worst critic. When anyone criticizes our newspaper, they should know I punish myself mentally more than they could possibly do through their unkind words—which I know is not healthy. That is why I am letting go of much of the writing. I just want to add that I haven’t been personally bombarded with criticism, just a few times over the years that I know of. 

I cherish the times I get to share with our readers through my column. If I am not everyone’s cup of tea, that’s ok. I just feel privileged to share myself with those who care to follow me. Showing myself, flaws and all, is my way of saying to others, it’s ok to be yourself. I am weak sometimes; I get emotional and, sometimes, I get things wrong. But I am at least strong enough to admit it. 

After supporting me through many stressful times having to do with the newspaper, Travis graciously offered to take some of the burden and stress off my shoulders. He really has the thick skin and mental toughness and confidence for this occupation, way more than I. I will still be the sunshine reporter. I am so very blessed to have faithful readers. My goal for our paper is still to shine a light on the positive stories. 

Well, there you have it—me over-sharing once again. Even though many times my column is about me, myself, and I, I hope you all know that I bare my soul to our readers because I hope it will offer comfort, encouragement, and just a laugh to keep you on the sunny side. 

This article was orginally reported by
Nicole Rogers

Nicole Rogers, lives in Owen, WI, and is the co-editor for the Sentinel & Rural News.