It's a funny thing.
I read Shea Van Hoy's commentary this morning on my iPhone, but it doesn't seem to be there any longer after looking for it on the laptop. Of course, the URL might have changed for any number of good reasons, so I searched using the newspaper's perennially woeful search engine, and there's nothing there, either.
(Here's the correct link; it went back up later in the day. Perhaps one day I'll be able to trust these people again. Right now, I don't):
And here's the text of the commentary, via iPhone. Just in case. Shea even mentions yours truly, because after all, I'm one of the columnists terminated.
Still awaiting that explanation, you know.
VAN HOY: There’s a lot of talk out there
SOUTHERN INDIANA — I wrote a column published in Wednesday’s paper noting that the News and Tribune plans to increase the number of editorials and columns from staff members in the coming year. I thought it was fairly straightforward, and still hope the public looks forward from hearing the voice of the newspaper more often.
What I didn’t expect was for the conversation on our website comments to immediately turn to a subject that has been discussed on this page before — our policy for columns from people running for elected office. Specifically, this relates to the former regular column from State Rep. Ed Clere, which was removed after Clere told me he was going to again seek office starting with the May primary, and also held a fundraiser for his campaign. As I have written previously in this space, I appreciate and respect the fact Clere told me this news in person.
What I can’t understand is the vitriol from some readers for the newspaper adhering to a policy that has been in place for years. It’s a policy that has been applied to other candidates who previously wrote regular columns — Roger Baylor and Kelley Curran, who both sought city council positions last year.
Let me restate the policy: If a regular columnist for the News and Tribune decides to run for office in the next election cycle — via filing, holding a fundraiser or simply saying he or she will run — they forfeit their regular space in the newspaper. Continuing publishing the column would be unfair to opponents of that candidate, whether they have declared or not.
I also want to answer claims via web comments on my column that people outside the newsroom had any influence on the removal of Clere’s column. That is untrue. It was a decision made by myself and Bill Hanson, our publisher. It was a very easy decision, actually, as we were simply following our established guidelines.
Our regular columnists make a commitment to write weekly or every other week, and that is much more difficult a task than many realize. If you don’t think so, ask Lindon Dodd, who has written for more than a decade, or even Baylor, who spent far less time as a columnist but told me once that after a while, column ideas can be hard to come by.
That dedication is appreciated by myself and our readers, but column space in the paper is not a right. It’s an agreement that either side can terminate at any time. My goal is to keep the Opinions page as free and open to public comment as possible, but fairness has to be considered when politics are involved.
The final concern from those making comments is a desire to keep up with doings at the Indiana Statehouse. That is important, I agree.
To that end, the News and Tribune has reporter Maureen Hayden at the Statehouse in Indianapolis every day reporting on what’s happening there. That’s not an easy task, either, but Maureen does a fantastic job. We also publish Statehouse stories from The Associated Press and other Indiana newspapers.
We hope you continue to read those reports and stay informed. As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns
— Shea Van Hoy is editor of the News and Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 812-786-5593.