Editorial: Serious questions with no easy answers
Several situations this week have brought about serious discussions between members of our newsroom (there are only two) regarding how we, as a reputable, family-oriented, newspaper should provide information to our readers about two situations in particular. You won’t find anything about either of them in this issue. That’s not to say we won’t provide coverage next week. It does mean we don’t have enough information yet and we are still struggling with the professional and ethical considerations involved. Although we don’t plan to be specific in this editorial, one of the situations is common knowledge and quite the buzz on social media. Mud is being slung toward an elected official who just so happens to be running for re-election this year. There are various issues to be considered: when does the private life of a public official become the public’s business; are the allegations a set-up to sabotage this official’s candidacy; will this become an issue during the on-the-record campaign between the two candidates (will this official or his opponent bring it up during the campaign)? The other situation involves another person in a high-profile public position not being honest with his bosses. This dishonesty could be considered minor, as we have been told by several people who have asked us not to report the information. And, as in the other case, this moves into the arena of the person’s private life. It has also been suggested to us that if we report this, it will do widespread harm beyond just to the person involved. But that won’t enter into our final decision. Either it’s news or it’s not. If it’s news, we’ll report it regardless of who is involved or the possible repercussions. As we sought more information last week, we proposed a hypothetical situation to several officials in the county who could be put in a similar situation to the elected body involved in this second real situation. In each case, the people we talked to responded to our hypothetical with, “Are you talking about (the name of the person involved).” The point is, word is getting out, whether we publish it or not. One person to whom we talked said, if he were confronted with a situation of an employee doing what the person in question has done, the employee would be fired immediately and without question. We would ask our readers to take two things away from this vague discussion: 1) Just because something is on social media doesn’t make it true and it certainly doesn’t make it news; 2) Honesty is always the best policy because as Shakespeare said, the truth will out – a formal way of saying the truth will always be discovered. Editorial II Congratulations are in order this week for Clinton High School. The CHS varsity baseball team is in the Region 3 AAA champions and in state AAA playoffs after a remarkable regular season. The team, 21-1 after an opening-round victory over Daniel at home Friday night will probably be favored in every match-up remaining as the Red Devils try to win the school’s first state championship in baseball since 1961. And, next year’s baseball team will get to play in a brand-new field in a brand new on-campus baseball/softball complex currently under construction. The CHS varsity tennis team entered the state playoffs Tuesday at home against West Oak. Veteran head tennis coach Clovis Simmons has done another remarkable coaching job – something we’ve come to expect. The Clinton High boys track team finished third in the region meet with 10 athletes eligible to participate in this weekend’s state qualifier at Lower Richland High School. The girls track team also finished third in the region meet and, like their male counterparts, 10 Red Devils will take part in this weekend’s state qualifier at Lower Richland. The varsity soccer team finished third in the region and opened the state playoffs Tuesday night at Walhalla (results after deadline). The junior varsity soccer team, in its first year of existence, finished 9-7 (9-4 if a pre-season tournament is discounted) and 6-1 in the region. Finally, Assistant Athletic Director Nickie Templeton was named the new athletic director to replace Dr. David Barnes, who will remain at CHS in a teaching role. Templeton is a Clinton native, graduated from CHS (where she starred in softball, volleyball and basketball while being elected student body president). She was named the female Athlete of the Year two years running. Templeton played softball at Presbyterian College, where she was captain of a team that won the South Atlantic Conference championship. Also, nine Red Devil student-athletes have signed this spring to play sports at the collegiate level. At a Friday signing, Templeton told students in the auditorium, “If you have a desire to play at the next level, have a conversation with me. We will do what we can to make that happen.” Congratulations to Templeton and to the teams and athletes for an unusually successful spring. Go Big Red.