Local Author Discusses The Truth

Bob Giles, author of When Truth Mattered

   In today’s society, the media is something that many people rely on to consume their news. What if that media is no longer trusted by the people? Journalist Bob Giles was put in charge of the Akron Beacon Journal on one of the most important journalistic days of his career. 

  May 4, 1970, the day of the Kent State shootings, where the National Guard shot into a crowd of student demonstrators who were protesting the Vietnam War. It ended with four dead students and nine wounded students.

  In Journalism, staying unbiased and just reporting the facts is the hard part. That’s why today, there are websites to tell us what way a news source leans because most major news sources have a bias. 

  “I think it’s really important to stay unbiased because I just think it’s really important to listen to people. So if you come in with an attitude, or point of view, then you can’t really hear what the other person is saying. Secondly, if you’re really biased you may not even call that person which would be a tragedy,” Fran Stanton said, executive director of the National Writers Series [NWS]. 

  The NWS hosts authors from all over to talk and inform people about their writing. Normally, events are held in the local City Opera House with crowds of up to 200 people. However, with the pandemic going on, all of their events have been online, hosted over Zoom. The NWS has been working with writers since it’s starting ten years ago to get their messages out and spread their love of writing. On Nov. 10. 2020, the NWS hosted Giles over Zoom to speak on his experiences, and with Giles being a board member for the NWS, it wasn’t hard to convince him to join.

  “I think culture is really important, I think when we bring people together to listen to an author who has thought a great deal about something, your horizons widen, you become a more thoughtful person, you become a better citizen of the country and Traverse City is a pretty small town,” Stanton said. “It’s easy to feel insular, it’s easy even to maybe even become narrow-minded, so listening to authors, and we have a wide range of authors, really broadens your understanding of what it’s like to be alive and what it’s like for other people to be alive.”

  Putting trust back into the media after everything that has occurred this year is going to be hard because President Donald Trump spoke out against the media, causing many to believe that the media cannot be trusted.

Book cover of Bob Giles’ book


  “Stick to their [the media’s] core values, truthful reporting. Build trust with the people whom you go for the news, the sources. It’s a long path, it takes time but if you’re dedicated to truth-telling and trust-building and you stick to it, the public will eventually come to believe they can trust you and that what you’re telling them is as accurate as can be,” Giles said. 

  Many people want to stay up to date on events going on or just keep their minds away from whatever else is going on and the media is a great way to do that. 

  “I love journalism because it helps inform the public and it serves a great purpose in our democracy. I have been thrilled to realize how important free press has been in the last several years and truth-telling and discovering where the lies were, where the misinformation was, where the disinformation was, and guiding people to a truthful understanding,” Giles said.

  Giles lives his life by always seeking truth, no matter what. Ever since his time at the Akron Beacon Journal, Bob has learned the importance of unbiased journalism and media. 

  “My takeaway was that Bob asserted that there is truth. And I think right now you’re hearing well there’s this truth and there’s that truth and you can’t really say that’s the truth and what he said last night [Nov. 10] is if you dig deep enough and hard enough you will find the truth and your first responsibility as a journalist is to find that truth and that’s the only way you can have the trust of your readers,” Stanton said. 

  Wanting to find the truth and stay informed is a very important thing, it takes a lot of effort to know you’re getting the truth but going to a trusted source for your information will help everyone have accurate information and stay informed.

  “My advice is [for journalism students] don’t depend on social media, do the reporting, do the leg work. Check out many sources before you post something, go to the places and the people who know what’s going on, who can give you an accurate portrait or statement about what has happened or what may happen or what the facts are, and then use that for your story,” Giles said.