Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Turner Report disclosure form

A reader e-mail I received this morning suggested that my credibility might be enhanced if I disclosed my "failed attempts" to land employment with the Joplin Globe.
While I wouldn't exactly characterize it that way, the reader has a valid point. Some of my conflicts of interest have been disclosed in this blog from time to time, but in the interest of full disclosure, I will detail my relationship with some of the people and companies that have been featured in The Turner Report.
The Joplin Globe- When I was fired at The Carthage Press in May 1999, something about which I have previously written, I did talk with Ed Simpson at the Globe about a reporting position. I was already seeking a teaching position because I had been sidetracked from that pursuit 18 years earlier, but I would have been happy to have landed a job with the Globe simply because I could have stayed in Carthage while I continued to hunt for a teaching job. When I left the Globe office, I was under the impression that when a hiring freeze that was in place at the time was lifted, I would be hired. I wrote Mr. Simpson a few days later, thanking him for the interview and noting that I would still be interested in working at the Globe. I followed that up a few weeks later. When I learned two people had been hired as reporters at the Globe, I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not at the top of Simpson's list.
While I was teaching at Diamond, I sent in an application for an investigative reporter opening. I was really more curious about what the Globe planned to do with that position. Despite my considerable background in investigative reporting, I was never contacted for an interview. I was more relieved than disappointed.
I did not hold that against the Globe. I was teaching, which is what I wanted to do. I even e-mailed a tip to Simpson at the height of the Enron situation, noting a local tie-in- that Former State Representative Roy Cagle, R-Joplin, had been a lobbyist for Enron. I can't recall that the information ever made it into the pages of the Globe, but it was offered to them. I have always made it a habit to help Globe reporters who called asking me for tips on how to dig up records or information about stories they were working on and I w as plea sed with the recent article Max McCoy wrote about this blog.
My main connection with the Globe has been as a reader since I was four years old.
KSNF- Jim Jackson did an excellent profile of my reporter Holly Sundy at the Lamar Democrat w hen she was named the youngest sports editor in Missouri at age 18 while she was a senior at Lamar High School. Another KSN reporter did a balanced article about the Diamond R-4 Board of Education hearing in which I was put on an unpaid leave of absence after already signing a contract to teach for the district during the 2003-2004 school year. Jim Jackson also spoke to my classes at Diamond Middle School.
KODE- This is the big one. Though I don't talk about those dark days often- I interviewed for a weekend weather/reporter position in 1979. I did not get the job. I have always felt that was a blessing since many have told me I have a face that is perfect for radio. Former KODE reporter Tracy Turner did a good job on a report on Carthage Press teen reporters Cait Purinton and Keegan Checkett.
KOAM- No conflicts here. Toby and Andy interviewed me on the morning show in 1993 after I ran a report detailing that KOAM carried more local news per six o'clock broadcast (a n average of seven minutes and 23 seconds) than any other local station.
O'Sullivan Industries- As I have pointed out on many occasions, the O'Sullivan family has always been supportive of me.
Politics- In 1974, as a high school senior, I served as campaign manager for teenager Wayne Johnson when he successfully ran for Newton County Court Judge (now commissioner) on the Democratic ticket. I did not help him two years later when he lost in a race for county clerk and if I had, he still would have lost because he was not going to beat Bob Bridges. In 1984, I served as Barton County coordinator for Colorado Senator Gary Hart's presidential campaign. I did not get a chance to repeat in 1988 and I was never even invited aboard the yacht. Former State Representative Bubs Hohulin worked for me at the Lamar Democrat, writing sports and taking pictures, and as I recall, he did a fine job. I also gave him the column that got him started on his political career. As far as I know, I have nothing to disclose about my relationships with other area politicians.
Diamond School District- I don't have the time or the space to go into all of that, but it has been detailed on this blog and at Wildcat Central.
Small Town News- All right. I will admit it. I have been pushing this book relentlessly for the past couple of months...and how do I say this...I actually receive money every time a copy of the book is sold. It is an obvious conflict of interest and I intend to continue doing it.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Randy on TV doing weekend weather at KODE--just think where you could be now? Over the past 25 years there have been dozens of underqualified people preparing "forecasts" on the weekend news in the Joplin market. Doubt you would have been much worse than most of them.
Honestly, this was a good post and clears up any problems people might have with your past involvement with local media.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget what Meghan's Law makes you disclose to us...

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, Randy. Did you ever take journalism classes in high school or in college?

Anonymous said...

Randy I don't think you have to "explain" anything. Especially about "pushing" your book. It's your blog, your book, your business.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you have to explain anything about why you wrie what you do on your blog. Its yours, its a free country, if they don't like it, don't read it.

Michelle said...

"Don't forget what Meghan's Law makes you disclose to us..."

Wow. Once again, it's astounding to see the immaturity of some supposed adults.

I concur with the first poster...definitely not a thing you should feel you *have* to do, but it's a good idea because it gives asinine people less things to complain about, and at the very least they can't say you weren't honest.

Anonymous said...

The only thing about "asinine people" Michelle that are complainers, will just find something else to complain about.

Anonymous said...

Randy-aren't you on friendly terms, in business nature with Bobbie Pottorff the assignment manager/assistant news director at KOAM? Don't you think you should disclose that since you are usually singing their praises? If you are being honest and open...

Anonymous said...

Busybodies like the person who emailed you don't require a response. Let em stew in their own poison.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the above comment.

Anonymous said...

Since when does being on friendly terms with someone in a business nature equal a conflict of interest? Last time I checked, being on friendly terms meant that each person has been nice to the other. That hardly qualifies as a conflict of interest. If it does then the judges shouldn't be allowed to speak nicely to prosecutors or other lawyers. Congress members would never be allowed to speak to any of their constituents, and so on.........

Anonymous said...

I think you are fair and accurate. Compared to the Globe, you are Joseph Pulitzer. Keep up the good work, and good luck with the book.

MU J-School Prof said...

Actually, Joseph Pulitzer was a notorious yellow journalist who had a running battle with William Randolph Hearst to print the most sensational news. According to one source, "The Pulitzer name remains popular today because it is associated with the most prestigious award in American journalism. Yet many historians revile the award's benefactor with charges of irresponsible reporting and sensationalism."

Anonymous said...

Randy, what is all this Meghan's Law business? Is that just a red herring or what?

Anonymous said...

It was a rude comment from some immature person trying to cause trouble. It was a stupid comment.

Randy said...

Whew! I hadn't had time to check on these comments. I feel sorry for the person who wrote the initial Meghan's Law comment. Obviously, that person has some serious problems. On the other hand, I did neglect to go into my brief lawbreaking phase, which consisted of three speeding tickets, the last of which occurred in 1987 or 1988 when I was running late to get to a ballgame I was covering.
To answer the question posed by another reader: I did not take any journalism classes in high school or college. I was on East Newton's high school newspaper, "The Fife and Drum," but the school did not have a journalism class. My education in journalism primarily consisted of reading newspapers since age 4 (when I was young, my dad was a truckdriver and would bring me back copies of the Kansas City Star, the Tulsa World, and other newspapers) and reading virtually every book I could get my hands on about journalism after I went into the business in May 1977.
As far as my comment about "Small Town News" is concerned, I wasn't trying to justify it, I was just ending my posting with a feeble attempt at humor.
I should also mention that I do appreciate the reader who originally suggested that I should disclose my history with the Joplin Globe. The suggestion was made in a helpful fashion and was not intended as an attack at all and I did not take it that way. It made sense, so I decided to follow up on the reader's suggestion.