As part of Oklahoma Gazette's 30th anniversary year celebration during 2009, commentaries will occasionally reflect on our newspaper and publishing company. This commentary is about our independence.

We're proud of it. We proclaim it each week on the front page of the Gazette, "Metro OKC's Independent Weekly."

To maintain the trust, confidence and support of our readers and advertisers, our newspaper must be independent as it gathers, interprets and reports information and news.

Oklahoma Gazette is part of Tierra Media Group, our publishing company, which also publishes OKCBiz and both publications' Web sites, and It is a private company that has no outside shareholders, nor is it owned by any other company.

Because of the efforts of our loyal staff and the incredible support of our readers and advertisers during the past 30 years, we are supported by advertising and are not dependent on any other external group or interests for our existence.

In journalism, independence is not only freedom from external forces and controls, but also about internal influences and the ability to be fair and objective. Oklahoma Gazette's independence is fostered by our lack of adherence to or influence by ideology and partisanship.

We want to examine and report on our community's quality of life from all perspectives and to stimulate meaningful discussion of issues from all viewpoints.

There is a challenge to being an independent newspaper these days because the media landscape is changing at a frightening pace and in a concerning manner.

Many newspapers are owned by interests whose overwhelming concern is the bottom line and extracting profits, with little concern for the viability and quality of their editorial product. As printing, paper and personnel costs increase and advertising revenues and circulation decline, newsrooms are often the most vulnerable to cost cutting.

Tierra Media Group believes it is very important that the ownership and staff of a newspaper avoid civic positions that create a conflict of interest between creating the news and reporting on it. When the hint of such conflict does exist, we inform our readers of the potential.

Our company refrains from having its staff and ownership participate in any governmental endeavors and positions that are within significant purview of our editorial coverage. Our ownership also refrains from any investments or financial dealings in Central Oklahoma that might conflict with our coverage.

Independence means a great deal to our ownership, staff, readers and advertisers. We consider it a bond of trust and, in our 30th year, we re-pledge ourselves to the independence of our publications and their commitment to quality journalism. 

Bleakley is publisher of Oklahoma Gazette.

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