Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A mission-driven company

Forgive me if it sounds like bragging, but may I say that this is a damned fine time to be a McClatchy journalist?

I wrote earlier this morning about how proud we all are of the fine way our colleagues in Idaho have covered the Sen. Larry Craig story. Operating under great pressure and later facing direct accusations, they've showed the professionalism and poise we'd all hope for in such situations.

Earlier in the week the nation's biggest story was the resignation of Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, an event related in no small part to the work of reporters in the McClatchy Washington Bureau. Marisa Taylor, Margaret Talev, Greg Gordon and others have been out front on reporting about firings of U.S. Attorneys and politicization of the Justice Department for months.
And far to the south in Mississippi, our colleagues at the Sun Herald have won an important victory for the public interest after months of fighting to make video of a deadly jailhouse beating public. As the paper reported today:

The release of the video for public view marks the conclusion of months of legal action by the Sun Herald in efforts to restore public records to the people of Harrison County and shed light on what has been taking place behind the bars of the county jail.

The Sun Herald began filing public-records requests in search of answers within days of Williams' death. In October 2006 the FBI seized thousands of pages of records from the jail without making copies. That December the Sun Herald filed public-records requests that led to a lawsuit in Chancery Court.

Like everybody else in our business, we're struggling with changing economics and audiences these days. Unlike some, we have a fixed star to guide us: the McClatchy mission.

We're a public service journalism company. It's what we do and why we exist. Yes, it's tougher than ever these days, but as our colleagues have demonstrated so well this week, we're making a difference for our communities and our country.

Thanks to all of them for the affirmation – and to all of you for being the foundation of this worthy enterprise.

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