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How The Truth Stacks Up

February 25, 2012
By Heather Ziegler , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

I tried to follow the helpful tips I read recently on how to better organize my life. There were these simple tips on cleaning and saving time and advice on how to do everyday tasks in a more sensible fashion.

One tip was, when loading your dishwasher (something I acquired only in the latter years of married life), you should group all your spoons in one slot, knives in another, forks in yet another slot of the machine. This was supposed to help you save time when putting the clean items away.

But wait, in the very next article I read, the self-help guru said you should scatter your silverware in different slots so that the spoons don't rest against one another. The same for the forks and knives. Humm. That made more sense to me because when the spoons stack up against one another, they don't get clean in the dishwasher. The heck with saving time. At least they would be clean.

I'm not really talking about cleaning or organizing my predictable life these days. What I really want to talk about is sorting out truth from fiction, or better yet, truth from rumor.

In recent weeks, we have all read or heard stories or, in some cases inuendo, about people and events making the news. In one day, I heard a story repeated to me several times and each time I heard it, the story got bigger and more blown out of whack, so much so that I could not tell what was real and what was someone's attempt at bravado at the expense of another person.

We sometimes get critized at this newspaper for not jumping on a "story." This may be the decade for instant communication and in-your-face breaking news, but just because faceless people behind a computer or an anonymous caller to a radio station spew what often prove to be half-truths, does not make it newsworthy.

In recent weeks there have been a number of allegations against a few teachers and a coach in our area. How these things are handled often depends on the agency for which they work. Some choose to let the public know about an investigation, while others remain mum on a case unless criminal charges are involved.

It's a slippery slope and news outlets often slide right along into the muck in an attempt to get the story first. But what about the person at issue?

It's not an easy road to travel when you hold someone's future in your headlines. While it's our job to present the news in a straight-forward, truthful manner, it's not always immediately possible when information is not made available from a reliable source.

And that is where some agencies do a disservice by not making information known to the media and the public. The last thing we want is for people to jump to conclusions, and the only way that can be prevented is with the truth, no matter how long it takes to get.

If only the truth was as simple as stacking spoons in a dishwasher.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at

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