Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beyond the Basics

Watch our story Sunday night on 9NEWS after the Bronco game or check it out Sunday on

Journalists, especially those of us on TV, like to talk. There’s no denying it.

This week we’ve been talking a lot about my story, “Beyond the Basics.”

Our newsroom is divided.

Many people applaud us for looking closely at what some families buy with their food stamp money. Others are outraged or upset, saying recipients can buy what they want with their own money.

We’ve had countless debates in 9Wants to Know and the entire newsroom discussing whether to run our story. And if we did run it, what examples should we include in it. In the end we’ve decided to let you make the decision on what is acceptable spending. Our jobs aren’t to censor. If I give you as much information as possible, you can draw your own conclusion. You don’t need me filtering your news.

We are not choosing a side.

Should families on food stamps be able to buy crab legs or $45 dollar birthday cakes? (A local grocery store checker told me she watched both happen recently.)

But what if that $45 cake or crab legs are for an extra special occasion? What if that family saved for weeks to be able to afford it?

Would you be mad if people used cash assistance (another program to help families buy non-food items) to buy cigarettes? It’s happening and we have the receipts to prove it.

Taxpayer money funds both programs. That means you are essentially paying for everything that’s purchased.

What do you think?

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