South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem addressed members Thursday.of the press at the annual Newspaper Day held in Pierre on (Photo by Jeremy Waltner)
‘Papers Heart Of Community’
Gov. Kristi Noem started her remarks before a gathering of newspaper editors and publishers with praise for the work that they do. Soon she was defending remarks she has made about the news media.
Noem talked Thursday to a group of editors and publishers in Pierre for Newspaper Day at the Legislature, sponsored by the South Dakota Newspaper Association.
Noem thanked more than 30 people who work at newspapers for the way they help improve their communities.
“You’re really the heart of every single community,” Noem said. “It really is important work.”
Noem has, at times, found fault with that work. She was asked to respond to a quote from one of her campaign letters that said, “You know as well as I do that we can’t trust the media to tell the truth.” She was asked Thursday if any of the media organizations represented in the room couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth.
“There’s always instances that we could specifically point to where you feel like it wasn’t a fair article or coverage,” Noem said. “I could give you specifics today, but I don’t know if that’s beneficial to the conversation.”
Noem said her family was aware of the scrutiny they would face when she became governor.
“You get to be attacked and looked at and examined,” Noem said.
The governor said her criticism wasn’t leveled at newspapers in the state.
“Everyone in this room knows, their heart of hearts, that this doesn’t apply to all of them,” Noem said, noting unfair coverage at a national level. “There are times where there has been biased and unfair reporting.”
One area where South Dakota and the governor have come in for criticism is the “Meth. We’re on it” advertising campaign.
“It was a provocative campaign and we knew that it would be,” Noem said, adding that she did not anticipate the level of discussion that it would spark.
Noem said the next part of the campaign will be a call to action that provides South Dakotans with the tools they need to help people in their lives who are addicted to methamphetamines.
“Overwhelmingly, that’s what people are looking for,” Noem said.
The state’s initial investment of $5 million in ConnectSD has resulted in $25 million in internet infrastructure, Noem said, connecting 6,500 homes and 150 businesses to the internet.
Through the program, Noem said the state became aware of internet providers who weren’t doing all they could to connect more customers.
“It kind of pointed out to us where providers in this industry weren’t necessarily investing in infrastructure,” Noem said.