Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students.
~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
The following e-mail was just sent to Maureen Downey, AJC Get Schooled blog. It has been confirmed as delivered.
Many of the DeKalb School Watch readers received a copy of this e-mail. If you did not, but wish to be put on the mailing list for this kind of e-mail, please send your name, your phone number (so your interest can be confirmed) and your e-mail address. This information will not be used for any other reason.
Good morning, Maureen
Please respond to the apparent inconsistencies in your position about reporting the news. (See article below, as published in Get Schooled blog and DeKalb School Watch blog.)
Is your real position that you report what you know only when it is comfortable and non-threatening to you and the AJC -- regardless of whether it is relevant, newsworthy and involves tax dollars?
That is certainly your right, Maureen. But, those of us who have admired your writing and thought you were a fearless straight-shooter need to know. Life is too busy to spend time reading a reporter/blogger who may be in the pocket of special interests.
Just so you know, I am copying others on this e-mail and on your response -- or lack of. You may just want to select "Reply All."
"I can assure you that unnamed sources are not used lightly and have to be approved by top editors at the AJC." (Maureen Downey, Tuesday, April 26, 2011)
"But here’s my position: If I know something important, you are going to know it, too. The newspaper is not paying me to collect information and then hide it from readers. If it is relevant, if it is newsworthy, if it involves tax dollars, then my job and the job of this newspaper is to report it." (Maureen Downey, Sunday, April 24, 2011)
Here's my position, Maureen, and I am sure it is similar to that of other AJC readers and subscribers:
The REAL story is that a DeKalb County School System Board of Education member, for personal agenda reasons, knowingly broke BOE policy and revealed confidential contract negotiations with a candidate for superintendent who had been approved by the majority of the BOE.
It now appears very likely that the person who leaked the information may have been BOE Chair Tom Bowen.
In your holier-than-thou post on April 24, 2011 (appropriately Easter Sunday) aimed at people like me who objected to the AJC and WSB running this particular story, you said, "If I know something important, you are going to know it, too. If it is relevant, if it is newsworthy, if it involves tax dollars, then my job and the job of this newspaper is to report it."
Well, Maureen ... knowing the name of the person who leaked confidential negotiations: (1) is relevant (this person has virtually assured that no worthwhile or viable candidate for superintendent will have any interest in working for a back-stabbing BOE who thinks nothing of breaking BOE policies to satisfy a personal agenda.) (2) is newsworthy (in a state and a county with abysmal education results, this person has consigned DeKalb's public school students to an inferior public education for the foreseeable future. (3) involves tax dollars (this person has cost DCSS hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars; restitution must be made)
The person who leaked this confidential information must be held accountable -- morally, fiscally and legally. This person must be fired for cause or told to resign, must reimburse DCSS for all taxpayer dollars spent during the superintendent candidate search, and must be prosecuted to the full extent allowed by law.
As you said, it is your job and the job of the newspaper to report what you know.
So, Maureen, you and/or upper management at Cox/WSB/AJC know the name of the person who leaked the negotiation information.
Report what you know or resign. Your credibility is shot if you don't follow your own statement:
"If it is relevant, if it is newsworthy, if it involves tax dollars, then my job and the job of this newspaper is to report it." (Maureen Downey, Sunday, April 24, 2011)