Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2000

A newspaper is the voice of a city

March 30, 2000

Today marks the fifth chance we've had to introduce ourselves to you, the reader. Judging from some of the letters and phone calls I've received, the transition has not been easy .

For that, I apologize.

Change is usually a difficult thing.

And, there's no question The DeSoto Explorer you grew accustomed to reading each Thursday morning is different.

More pleasing to the eye, we think.

More entertaining and informative, we think.

And a more comprehensive reflection of DeSoto, we think.

That's not to take anything away from the former ownership group, which did all it could to cover DeSoto. When we came into town, we made a commitment to DeSoto by bringing in a bigger staff.

Admittedly, we haven't exactly come quietly into town and set up shop, but that's because there is no quiet, anonymous way to operate a newspaper. Simply put, it's our job to be seen, heard and most important read.

We promised you from Day One we planned to thoroughly cover DeSoto. We promised a compelling product. We promised to be fair and accurate.

We are working out some of the kinks any new operation has. We still have a lot of improving to do, but we are committed to bringing DeSoto the best newspaper possible.

Someone recently told me it's not this paper's duty to be The New York Times. I couldn't agree more. I have no interest in what's going on in New York and it's likely that neither does the rest of DeSoto

However, methinks she was referring to the way we covered our community aggressively, comprehensively and analytically, just the way journalists all over the world cover their respective regions.

I'm afraid that's not going to change. In fact, I can promise you it will never change.

Our mission is clear: We will cover DeSoto, Kan., better than any newspaper in the world. We'll chronicle the accomplishments of our youth, be it on the athletic field or in the classroom. We'll be the record for the births and deaths of our community members and we'll be the eyes, ears and voice of DeSoto.

What that means is that it's OK to disagree with us. We appreciate the feedback. The only way to start community discussion is through exchanges of ideas. We're going to hold the people in charge of running this city accountable for their actions.

When valuations are soaring, causing many fixed-income community members to question whether they can afford to stay in DeSoto, we're going to figure out why this is happening and aske the questions designed to solve this dilemma.

When a school board hints in no uncertain terms that once a vote is taken on an item, the topic is closed for discussion and that individual board members don't have an obligation to explain their reasons for voting, we're going to fight it.

To believe our elected officials are beyond either reproach or approach is an apathetic way of thinking.

While we agree that the elected officials of this town deserve a great deal of thanks for the countless hours they put in virtually free of charge, these people are elected by voters and are accountable for their every action.

These people are making decisions on the money we pay in taxes. In other words, they are in our wallets and, with all due respect, it is our job and yours to question them.

A newspaper is a voice of the people. Its task is to inform the community, while holding city officials responsible. It's a checks-and-balance relationship that has to exist.

That's not to say we have no respect for our civic leaders. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I happen to believe there are a lot of good people on the DeSoto Board of Education. I believe they act in the best interest of DeSoto and I believe that they will look forward to discussing all issues with this publication.

It's not personal. It's the job of The DeSoto Explorer to question every move and demand accountability the same acountability we have to you as well.

We will not be an apathetic voice.

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