+ HT editor responds to column
This is in response to Rod Thomson’s March 31 column, ‘Needed: Barbarian with a pen’:
Your premise is that because my help wanted ad was lauded by a “far-left magazine” and journalists everywhere, this is proof of the bias you’ve long suspected in journalism. With more reporting, you might have learned that a number of websites posted the ad with praise, including The Blaze — Glenn Beck’s site. Among the hundreds of positive emails I received were from people who saw it there, and from non-journalists in professions I doubt you’d consider “far-left,” such as law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces.
You made another accusation with no supporting facts by claiming the Herald-Tribune chases big, ego-puffing projects at the expense of covering local issues. Coverage of Jackson Labs, Derrick Williams’ release and the county’s contract issue, just to name a few recent examples, demonstrates our commitment to covering the community. I’ll add that an education reporter and business reporter triggered two of the paper’s biggest projects thanks to their dogged coverage of local issues. Maybe you consider the mishandling of abusive teachers and widespread mortgage fraud examples of pointless, “gotcha journalism.” At the Herald-Tribune, we call that good journalism.
Finally, I find it odd that in a column about journalism ethics, you forgot that part of the job entails reaching out to the person you’re writing about. The ad included my email address and phone number, yet I never heard from you before you published. I would have gladly answered your questions.
There is one part I enjoyed: Your plea to remember the type of reporter we hired when your readers see that person’s next “expose.” I think your readers will find it more informative than a column with no facts.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (but not speaking on behalf of the paper)
+ Reader lauds stances on teachers, spending
The Our View commentaries in the April 7 edition were terrific — kudos for all involved.
“Teachers must share the struggle” — was the best down-to-earth, unbiased factual commentary I have read to date on this subject.
“Federal spending insanity” — again simply stated presented the real situation and what is being done or not done. The family budget comparison was the best analysis that put the subject in a true down-to-earth presentation we could all follow without getting lost in the billions and trillions.
I sent an email to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan stating he should read both of these commentaries and use them in his speeches.
+ School district needs financial lessons
We are extremely excited to finally see something in any newspaper about what is happening in the Manatee School District. This School District has had major financial problems and it seems that some of our School Board members aren’t up to the challenge to make the difficult choices.
The community has had high profile business people to offer their help to put the district on a sound footing but there has been a dead silence from the superintendent. We have attended most if not all the School Board meetings, workshops, impasse hearings and have done an extensive amount of research using the district’s own documents and their own calculations and it doesn’t look good.
When you hear the district tell you it’s the “Board share” that is code words for “taxpayers beware.” Yes, they want more of your hard earned money you might not have chance to vote Yes or No. It could be left up to the School Board members. Do you feel they are looking out for you? In your article you quoted Tim McGonegal saying “The current situation is our new reality.” He can talk the talk but he can’t walk the walk. The School District invested $16,792 per child in 2009-2010 compare to the national average of $12,793.
Ask yourself: Are our students getting an education worth $16,792?
To send in your letters, please e-mail them to [email protected] or mail them to The East County Observer, 8788 State Road 70 E., Suite 103, Bradenton, FL., 34202. The East County Observer gives priority to letters of local interest and about local issues. The Observer will print all letters to the editor if it feels they are of general interest, but only if the letter is signed and the author’s street address and phone number are given. The editor reserves the right to condense letters.