Sarasota News Leader

11/02/2012

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I grew up in Eastern North Carolina, where the flagship newspaper was The Raleigh News & Observer. Its reach extended "from the capital to the coast," as it readily touted. From the time the paper was acquired by Josephus Daniels in the late-19th century, it was dedicated to advancing the goals of the Democratic Party. Of course, until the last 10 years or so in North Carolina, if you were not a Democrat, you found it much harder to get elected to any office — similar to the situation for Republicans in Sarasota County, as I learned when I moved here. Yet the N&O, as it is commonly known, served a region that was pretty con- servative, so much so that many exasperated readers dubbed it the "Nuisance and Disturber." Its circulation in the region remained incredibly strong, though, for one pri- mary reason: No other publication in the eastern part of the state provided better coverage of local, state and national news. If you wanted to know what was going on, you combed its pages every day. Having worked at the N&O myself as a college intern, I knew how hard the reporters worked — and I also knew how hard the management and editors labored — to keep politics out of the newsroom. In all the months I was there, I never heard any whispers or gossip about a story being killed or pushed because of the Daniels family's political views. And believe me, I heard lots of gossip, especially on long Saturday nights. In all my 35 years as a journalist, I have maintained a similar commitment, and that carries through with our work on The Sarasota News Leader. All of us work diligently to report fairly on whatever we cover, re- gardless of our political views. That is why I was saddened last week by three sub- scribers dropping out because of our 2012 Election Voters' Guide, which we are repeating in this week's issue. Fortunately, we had more than 40 new sub- scribers who took their places. We have called our publication "The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida" from the outset, but The Sarasota News Leader never will compromise on the impartiality or comprehensiveness of its news coverage. Editor and Publisher

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