It is three months until the Keyser city election, and I am already losing patience with the depths to which some of the candidates and their followers have sunk.

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
It is three months until the Keyser city election, and I am already losing patience with the depths to which some of the candidates and their followers have sunk.
Throughout my career in newspapers I have always hated the down-and-dirty side of politics, but the atmosphere is so much worse now with social media part of the messy mix.
Why is it that people think they can say anything they want on Facebook and no one can or will challenge them?
And when they do get challenged, suddenly they are “being picked on.”
A. Jay Root, administrator of the Mineral County Health Department, made an excellent point at the last Keyser City Council meeting when he appeared there to explain some things to the council and to the audience.
He was at the meeting because he had been “called out” by some people on Facebook about his supposed role in shutting down the Keyser swimming pool.
Although he did answer some of the charges, and even shared copies of the health code online, he came to the council meeting to explain the situation in person, rather than become involved in a nasty back-and-forth exchange on Facebook.
You can read his comments about the pool on today’s front page.
In talking about the role of the health department in keeping a public pool compliant with state regulations, however, he took a bit of a side track into the realm of social media and how, if not used with some sense of decorum, it can cause issues to rapidly blow out of proportion.
He cautioned the officials, and those in the audience who are running for office, that they need to hold themselves to a higher standard than John Q. Public. They are representatives of the city  and are seen by the public as representatives of the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anything they say or do - whether online of off - is seen as representing the city either positively or negatively.
He urged them to “get the facts” before getting into a debate or argument.
The same goes for journalists, whether we work for a small hometown newspaper or the largest publication in the nation. We must hold ourselves to a high standard and live by our code of ethics which states very clearly that we are not 9-5 employees, we are 24/7 representatives of our newspaper specifically and the newspaper industry in general.
Our actions reflect on our reputation. We can be professional or we can sink to the depths and not care what the public thinks of us.
Unfortunately, there are many news reporters out there who have chosen the latter and therefore made the entire profession look bad. I shudder every time I hear President Trump talk about the fake media, and yet I know there are those out there who will stop at nothing to get the story …. and not care whether or not it is the truth.
I care about my reputation, however, and therefore have always tried to be fair, objective and compassionate. I have tried to represent my paper - our hometown community newspaper - with dignity.
It is time for our elected officials and elected officials-to-be to adopt that policy. Stop the nonsense on Facebook. Stop the nastiness. Quit digging the dirt. It just makes you seem small,  petty and unprofessional.
Concentrate your energies instead on what you stand for as a candidate, what you hope to accomplish and how you can best serve your (our) community.
A.Jay said it best when he told the people in the council meeting last week, “We should be better that this.”