Mt. Vernon Register-News

Big Hall's Notepad

November 6, 2007

A tough call

I was not surprised to see the press release announcing that the International City/County Management Association had decided to publicly censure former Mt. Vernon city manager Roy Payne. I was, however, taken aback by the timing of the announcement. Payne has been out of office for several months now, and the city has moved on.

That said, how do you play such an item within a newspaper? My gut instinct was to merely do a brief and stick it inside somewhere. But this was a story that drew a lot of interest as it was unfolding. Therefore, I asked a reporter to write the article. And as I chose stories for the front page, I figured the story was among those that would reach the most readers. So I placed it on the front, above the fold.

I am not crazy about the placement, or the story at all. That is not a knock on Tesa's report, but the subject matter itself. But when we prepare the pages and online content, it cannot be about our personal opinions. And I honestly believe this was a big story, or at least another development in a big story.

So I stand by the decision to place it on the front page, though I feel we contributed to unnecessarily "piling on" someone who has already been through the ringer.

***

SHAMELESS PLUG: I'll be writing my column this week on local doctor Yagnesh Oza, who recently received the 2007 Rural Physician of Excellence Award. Those of you who do not know Oza cannot imagine what you are missing, or what a gem the community has in him.

A reception to honor Oza will be held 4-7 p.m. today at the Schweinfurth House in Mt. Vernon.

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