Is This Site a Legitimate News Source or Not?
Written By: Jeff Behnke
Because of the amount of hate posts on our boards and hate e-mails sent to the e-mail addresses listed on this website, I feel that I have to justify myself and how this website functions. I feel I have to justify the questionable content which is displayed. I feel I have to justify the lack of photos which accompany the articles that are sent to us. I feel I have to justify my lack of religious and political affiliation which is exemplified on the homepage. I feel I have to justify my own attitudes towards article posting.
Paranormalnews.com is (mostly, if not entirely) maintained by a single individual without any associated staff. the content that is displayed is done so through agreements between this individual (namely me) and the writers who want their content sent out to the member’s list and posted on the site. Collectively, these agreements allow the content you see to be displayed on the web pages of the site for you to enjoy.
As a result, Paranormalnews.com does post content which is very questionable. The reason for its questionable nature is twofold: 1.) Because of time constraints, we post articles without checking validity and 2.) Because the paranormal field is questionable in and of itself. The time it takes to run the site does not allow for time to do the ever-so-necessary validity checking, interviewing witnesses, checking authorities, calling the police, being a nuisance, etc. and no one else is offering any help. I rely on the comments by members at the bottom of every article to decide on the legitimacy of the piece. The site’s members decide on the legitimacy of the content, not me.
Reality is subjective, and there are just as many reasons NOT to believe in the paranormal as there are reasons TO believe in the paranormal. Therefore, the content should be read as is with no warranties of its factual nature. The content mostly comes directly from the community of members who have signed up on the site. When you disagree with an article, you are not disagreeing with paranormalnews.com, you are disagreeing with one of the site’s members who have sent the piece to us for posting. If you have something you would like to post and I don’t have any serious objections to it, I will post it, regardless as to whether or not I personally believe it is true or well-written or whatever. The comments of our members decide that for me. I’ve been personally enlightened by a number of responses to articles on our site, more so than many of the articles themselves, and I’m sure others feel the same.
People have compared this site to a rumor mill. It is. But it is also news. No, not news in the sense where we have sent out reporters and they have come back, proclaiming the factual basis of a UFO landing—we’ll leave that up to the Sci-Fi channel with millions of dollars in their budget. It is news in the sense that it successfully captures what is on the mind of the paranormal community. It is a bulletin board, of sorts. A hand-made bulletin board that does not rely on the back-end coding of some out-of-the-can boring solution like php-nuke. The site has been coded from scratch. The content that comes in can very often be found elsewhere, but I cite the source every time, whether that is an author or a website or an organization or a press release. So in this sense this site is both a rumor mill and a legitimate news source.
People have complained that there is no follow-up to articles that are posted on this site. This is also not the fault of us since I have no reporters. If a follow up does not occur, it is not occurring within the paranormal community itself. No follow-up thus says more about the community itself than it does about this site. Most of the time, the follow-ups are posted beneath the article itself, posted through the research of our members and not some individual I have hired to sit in a cubicle in a building with Paranormal News stenciled in blue on its window. Follow-ups are done when one of our members hears further information about an article and posts that follow-up information so others who consistently read our articles can make up their own minds whether an article’s content is legitimate or not.
The paranormal community itself has a lack of information coming out of it, in the first place. Articles aren’t pouring in the virtual paranormal doors. The information which does come in is scattered and often contradictory, done by hobbyists more than anything. The content which is displayed on this website is the best I can do with what is given to me and found by me. Many newspapers have the luxury of press releases—press releases for the paranormal are hard to come by. Newspapers often have the luxury of photos—photos in the paranormal field are hard to come by. This website since its inception has faced an uphill battle. This is the best I have been able to do thus far with the available resources and allocated miniscule budget which comes out of my own pocket as an added expense to my own family.
People have complained about certain racial slurs that are posted, certain religious slurs which are posted, certain articles which appear to be slanted in a conservative or liberal way. To which I say: this is a free country with free speech. I support free speech and I’m not going to shut someone up just because they are offending another. I occasionally delete postings which have nothing to do with the content of this website, but that’s about it. As owner of the site who spends countless hours doing the grunt work, I reserve the right to do that. If you disagree with how this site is run, bite your tongue. Build your own damn site.
In addition, the anger directed towards the ‘editors’ is really pointless since there is no one at paranormalnews.com who does any editing. The e-mail was chosen merely as a means for people to send in their articles in the case that I would at some point in the future have editors that could do some validation. Currently, the site does not, and again, no one is offering to help. Because paranormalnews.com has no editors, no consistent on-staff writers, it does not operate off of any ideology, so the constant comments concerning either religious affiliation or political affiliation of the site is unfounded.
My own views concerning the paranormal varies. I can be considered a paranormal enthusiast and not a paranormal researcher. I can be considered a gatherer as opposed to an editor. I do not blindly believe in the paranormal, but I do enjoy it. Some days I wake up and am sure that the entire field resembles a mass hallucination, much like a role playing game. I used these emotions and thoughts about the field and wrote ‘A Paranormal Story’ which you may have glanced at. If you read some of my editorials, I have taken the opposite point of view than the story and have explained how my beliefs in the paranormal and in conspiracies have altered my life. I do not care if someone is liberal or conservative. I do not care if an article is for or against religion. What I am interested in is my own and others reaction to the content. Membership posts are really a more accurate source of verification than anything else.
Concerning the validity of the content appearing on this site, up until this point, I have tried to maintain a policy of silence, but I feel I cannot do so any longer. Hopefully this editorial will provide some clarification for those who read it. If you have any problems with this site, no one is forcing you to read it. If you like the content, stay, since we all enjoy the company. The choice is yours.
Until Next Time,
“Editor” of Paranormalnews.com