Mirror carries torch for coverage

Eleven years ago, when I first came into office, there was a vibrant and engaged local media regularly attending our county commissioners meetings.

They reported on a myriad of important issues for our citizens after listening to their presentation and debate. The media members in attendance were also able to present their own questions for response which resulted in a more informative report for the public.

The media in regular attendance at that time included WRTA radio, Altoona-based WTAJ (Channel 10), Johnstown-based WJAC (Channel 6), and the Altoona Mirror.

Their coverage frequently differed in presentation of relevant facts and issues. By doing so, the public was better served in understanding the many issues addressed by county government.

Because of this coverage, our citizens were a much more informed electorate.

WRTA radio was the first to discontinue its regular attendance at commissioners meetings. WJAC stopped its regular attendance and coverage about two years ago. Finally, in the past year, WTAJ, our own Blair County television station, also discontinued its coverage of the county commissioners meetings.

Regardless of the reasons for the loss of radio and television coverage, the citizens of Blair County are the true losers in this development.

An informed citizenry needs energized and multifaceted media coverage of local government operations, most importantly County government.

Differing reports from different media sources are essential in educating the public what goes on here at the County.

The Altoona Mirror has been the sole member of the media which remains committed to regularly informing the public about the important matters at the county.

Elected officials at the county have a responsibility to lead. The public has a right to know what decisions are being made. They can then better evaluate the impact, both short and long-term, of actions taken by county officials.

The Altoona Mirror continues to prioritize its role to cover county news and inform our citizens. Without the Mirror there would be no regular coverage for our citizens to the detriment of everyone living in Blair County.

Both county officials and the citizens of Blair County are indebted to the Altoona Mirror for its continuing commitment of service to the community.

(Editor’s note: These are the remarks of Commissioner Terry Tomassetti at the Blair County commissioners meeting on Sept. 19, 2018. He sent them to the Mirror for publication.)