In small, close-knit communities, doctors, teachers and clergy hold high positions of trust.
If they have lived in the community a long time, they develop a personal connection with residents that may go back generations.
So when one is accused of wrongdoing, it can have a traumatic effect on those whose lives they've touched. Families and friends may be divided in their opinions on the individual, which can alter relationships forever.
When this happens, people tend to look for someone to blame. Oftentimes, the target becomes the messenger.
I've talked to a number of people who are angry over our Page One story Monday, "Report: Doc a drug dealer."
The in-depth story by Standard-Examiner court reporter Tim Gurrister delved into the details of the Department of Justice investigation of longtime Brigham City doctor Dewey MacKay, who has been indicted on 130 counts of illegally prescribing drugs.
Some readers thought the story was unnecessary and was "kicking a good man when he is down."
The report included some intimate details of MacKay's alleged relationship with a female patient who was also a DEA informant. Some readers thought this information didn't need to be included because it wasn't part of the charges.
Journalists operate on the principle of providing who, what, where, when and why information to the public. Background stories like this one help detail why criminal charges were filed.
It's information we feel the public needs to know.
TO BLOG, OR NOT TO BLOG: Every week, we get electronic communications from our congressional delegation.
These include staff-prepared news releases, texts of speeches on the floors of Congress and quoted reactions to other issues.
Sometimes we use these releases as a starting point for our own news story, or we may use parts of the speech texts or quotes to include in other stories.
Sometimes we ignore the communications altogether.
The missives from the offices of Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop are, of course, one-sided perspectives on issues. When we use the information provided in news stories, we hope to balance out the perspectives.
However, we also feel citizens have a right to make their own judgments on how important these releases from their representatives are.
That's why we have set up a place on our website where we will publish all releases from Bishop and Hatch. Entitled "Orrin's Musings" and "Bishop's Counsel," they can be found on our blogs page.
We understand these aren't blogs per se, but this is the web page where most of our regular political wonks hang out. This allows readers to comment directly on the releases, and even challenge the representatives.
Also, our regular bloggers will be able to easily link to and refer to the items from Hatch and Bishop. And, who knows, the representatives, or their staff, may even respond with comments of their own.
If newly elected Sen. Mike Lee starts sending us stuff, then we'll set up a "blog" for him, also.
RECORD DAY: The Standard-Examiner broke a record for most single-copy papers sold in one day on Thanksgiving.
More than 10,500 papers were purchased at stores and from racks that day, shattering the previous record by more than 700.
Thanksgiving Day is always the biggest day for newspaper sales. While I'd like the news content to take credit for driving the sales, the increase is due mostly to the number of advertising inserts and the hard work of the circulation department.
The fact that we broke a record this year may be an indicator the economy is bouncing back.
Andy Howell is executive editor. He can be reached at 801-625-4210 or email@example.com.