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We’re advocates, not enemies

August 19, 2018

When your work is described as “fake,’’ and you and your counterparts are called “enemies of the people,’’ it deserves a reply.

That’s why many journalists are upset about President Trump’s attacks on the media and why some 350 newspapers nationwide took exception Thursday and printed editorials defending the work they do and the vital role of a free, vigorous press.

The Daily Journal did not take part in that effort, in part to draw a distinction.

Community newspapers such as ours are different than the mainstream media brands exemplified by major cable news networks and metro newspapers. We are a genuine part of the community. We live here, work here and are engaged here. You know many of the past and present personalities who have worked at the Daily Journal.

One of the most vivid examples was provided by former award-winning reporter Dennis Yohnka, who sadly passed away two years ago.

Yohnka was the epitome of a people-person and took a caring interest in the thousands he wrote about. He was comfortable around all kinds and understood the human condition like few others. He had an uncanny knack for finding the quirkiest detail or imperfection and turning it into compelling stories that served as a triumphant testament to one’s character.

He is deeply missed by those here who worked with him, but know this: Yohnka’s presence and influence still is felt in this newsroom, and while his distinctive style never can be matched, we continue to employ elements of it in our own work.

Yohnka didn’t have a single enemy, as far as we could tell. We who remain aren’t your enemies either. A commonly held goal here is to help people. Our hope is to be more advocate than adversary, and we aim to keep it that way.

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