You are on page 1of 2

July 2, 2012

Dear Steve: Thank you for your letter. You asked if you could communicate with me directly and personally. I must tell you that, under the law, any communication you make as part of your role at FSCJ, even from your home and on a personal basis, is public record. Here at the receiving end, I cannot keep information or communication from my colleagues and still maintain the credibility essential for my job as editor. I understand your letter and perspective and ask that you consider our position and responsibilities. Our job is to report the news and reflect reality as fully, fairly and responsibly as possible. Within that is our essential watchdog role, as an independent, community- and market-supported organization driven by our responsibility to inform the citizenry on their institutions. Yes, we need and want to attract readers and users to support our business, but within our professional mission. In our role of reflecting the community as we find it, we for years have reported many stories, large and small, that shine a very positive light on FSCJ, as the wonderful institution that it is. Just Friday, we included a quote from one of your business and finance professors about the impact of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. We plan to do many more stories about the successes of FSCJ in the future as they occur. But we also have a responsibility to investigate and report responsibly when we receive information or indications that a public institution is not performing well or falling short of its responsibilities. We have done that recently with the port, the sheriffs office, the mayors office and more. You probably saw that, last week, we had to sue the City of Jacksonville for violating the public records law. There is no motive behind, or ultimate point for, our stories of the past couple of months. We are doing them because we received information or tips from various sources, and ignoring them would be irresponsible -- just as pursuing any ulterior motive would be unethical for us. In that spirit, I must say that we have received tips from a number of people, some inspired by our earlier stories. We carefully investigate the ones we deem most important. Some of them have turned out to be unsupported or even untrue, and of course, those never see the light of day. We realize that our stories have an impact, probably on all the constituencies you list. Some of that may be negative for some in the short term we really cant consider that but we believe that our best efforts toward openness and truth will benefit the public

and FSCJ in the long term. We think that, given the facts, the public, the state and the FSCJ leaders ultimately will make their own decisions about the college. We appreciate your commitment to providing public records in a timely fashion and to being open to communication and comment when we contact you. Our opinion page continues to be open to contributions from you or others at FSCJ. And as always, when you or your colleagues have suggestions for stories about all the good work done at FSCJ, we welcome them and will continue to give them consideration for coverage. We all care deeply about our community and our state college, and we at the Times-Union have the privilege of pursuing that through our journalism. Im happy to discuss any of this further, at your convenience. Sincerely, Frank Denton Editor