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Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli is a Post-Star reporter with experience. She has worked at several different newspapers and covered a variety of news stories over the years.

Post-Star readers probably know her most for her feature work in Arts/Life, but she also covers Washington County government.

She is also our lone general assignment reporter on Saturdays and covers whatever events and news that are happening. This past Saturday she covered a 5k run that was a fundraiser for the Hometown vs. Heroin group, a milking competition at the Washington County Fair and a pro-Trump rally in Glens Falls.

That’s the busy live of a small-town reporter.

The story on the Trump rally was the front page and is well reported with the voices of people there, observations about the rally and the odd dynamic that two pro-Trump groups seems to be at odds with each other.

I thought she did a good job. I thought the story was fair.

Phalen-Tomaselli explained her thought process in covering the event and talking to organizers. The discussion turned to grievances the organizers had with our newspaper.

Phalen-Tomaselli described how she tried to address their complaints, but at least one of the organizers began shouting at her.

She said she felt “uncomfortable,” as others joined in the shouting.

She decided to remove herself from the situation and cross the street.

The organizer who was shouting at her eventually crossed the street and apologized for yelling at her. That was a nice thing to do, but then another person started yelling at Phalen-Tomaselli.

She wrote this in her blog post:

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“I have been in lots of dicey situations in my career, but in today’s unpredictable and volatile climate, it is disconcerting to be a lone reporter in the midst of 65 or so shouting, angry men, especially when some of the shouting is directed at me.”

This has to stop.

If members of this group have problems with Post-Star coverage in any way, they should set up a meeting with me and talk it out.

There is nothing brave about being part of a mob and attacking a reporter doing her job.

I have gotten no complaints from either of these groups.

They have not called me, they have not asked for a meeting.

Mobs tend to be good at spreading hate and misinformation and that seems to be what we have here.

Reporters should be off limits.

Always.

No exceptions.

Now consider that front page story again that was in Sunday's newspaper. Despite the fact that she was personally attacked by people at the rally, there is no mention of it. 

The writing is clear and level-headed and without animosity. You would never know there was an incident.

That's what reporters do in these situations. They write what happened and leave themselves out of it.

I doubt any of those in the mob could do that. 

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Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com.  His blog  “The Front Page” discusses issues about newspapers and journalism. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.

 

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