Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2000

A newspaper’s job is to be the eyes, ears and voice of the 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 Eudora News 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 Eudora, we think.

That's not to take anything away from the former ownership group, which amazingly came out with a paper every week for 11 years. When we came into town, we made a commitment to Eudora 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 Eudora. We promised a compelling product. We promised to be fair and accurate.

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

Someone recently told me it's not the job of The Eudora News 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 Eudora.

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

I'm afraid that will never change.

Our mission is clear: We will cover Eudora, 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. We'll find the stories of interesting people within our city limits and we'll be the eyes, ears and voice of Eudora.

We're going to hold the people in charge of running this city accountable for their actions.

When the same house has been the subject of three fires in less than two months, it poses a threat not only to the family occupying it, but to the entire neighborhood. It's our job to find out why this is happening.

When a school superintendent of 17 years resigns, we're going to ask why.

It's our duty to do so. Only about one in four community residents voted in the last school board election, which is more of a reflection of an apathetic society because the voting percentages in Eudora are comparable with most cities in Douglas County.

But voter apathy is an entirely different subject. My point is that elected officials are neither beyond reproach or approach.

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 taken on behalf of this city.

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.

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.

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 I 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 Eudora Board of Education. I believe they act in the best interest of Eudora and I believe the board will do all it can to ensure the next superintendent of the Eudora School District will be both qualified and the right person for the job.

But it's the job of The Eudora News to question every move. every vote, every decision and every discussion along the way.

We will not be an apathetic voice.

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