I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Tuesday Springfield News-Leader featured a page-one story about my sister.
Kelly Finkbiner, the youngest of the three Turner children, is a state liquor control officer based in Springfield, one of only four remaining in southwest Missouri due to budget cuts. The article focused on how those budget cuts had affected the agency.
I wouldn't mind seeing a little investigative reporting done on what effect the powerful alcohol industry in this state, including St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, has had on those cuts and the attempts to take the teeth away from Liquor Control.
In Sunday's edition, The Joplin Globe finally listed its winners in the annual Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, which were listed in The Turner Report six days earlier. That's a wonderful way to build up staff morale and to claim a reputation as a newspaper that is on top of the news...wait more than a week to tell the good news about your own publication, then bury it inside the paper. Some newspaper editors and publishers believe you should not play up your newspaper's awards, either out of some false sense of modesty or out of a belief that you should not write about your own awards any more than you would the awards earned by another business.
The difference here is that newspapers need to publicize their own products. The public needs to know when quality work is being rewarded and it is a great incentive for reporters when they see that their work has been recognized, not only by some out-of-state judges, but also by their own employers.
The Globe continues to miss the boat on this one year after year.
Whether it was because of the criticism from The Turner Report or perhaps I just missed it earlier, it appears the Diamond R-4 School District has added an archive of board minutes at its website, www.diamondwildcats.org That is a good move. Another good move would be to put the minutes on the site on a timely basis and to publish what happens as a result of closed-session votes. These votes are public information, at least as far as they are concerned with the hiring, firing, disciplining, or promotion of school employees, and that information needs to be available. The public has the right to know what kinds of decisions are being made by the superintendent and the board of education.
It is one thing to devote a considerable amount of space to what kind of uniforms the volleyball team is going to wear (as the school district's website recently did). It is another thing to trust the public to be able to handle information on decisions that actually make a day-to-day difference in the education of the children and the use of tax dollars.