Retired educator offers his views on what constitutes good journalism

I moved into the Oakville community about four years ago and started receiving your publication in my mailbox.

I thought possibly it would be a good paper to keep me informed of the happenings in south county.

Well, I have found out over the years that it is more of a spokes-person for the far right and the south county Republicans.

That is just an opinion formed over the past several years. I do not belong to any liberal or left-wing organizations, but I sure can tell biased reporting and propaganda techniques when I see them.

The latest article which prompted this letter is in the Sept. 6 Call, Page 2A. It is under the heading Our town and the article’s headline is: Mehlville School District tax rate drops by 37.12 cents for the 2007-’08 school year. The first paragraph says, “Mehlville will RAKE IN — caps mine — more than $2.7 million in new revenue from those taxes.”

In paragraph four: “BUT EVEN WITH THAT ROLLBACK — caps mine — the Mehlville School District will collect additional revenue for the 2007-2008 school year totaling $2,223,855.50 in new taxes from reassessment and $495,429.84 from taxes on new construction.

Paragraph five: “The total revenue the district will gain in the next school year from taxes collected on reassessment and new construction is $2,719,285.34.”

Now that has been beat over our head three times in the article. Now if you believe the raking in of that amount of money is out of line, put it in an editorial, but not in what is alleged to be a news article. Terms such as “RAKE IN,” and stress phrases such as “BUT EVEN WITH THAT ROLLBACK,” are in my opinion, poor journalism. Also, is it necessary to repeat the total estimated taxes to be collected three times in such a short article?

I believe the public should be informed, but the method of over-kill in the articles in the Call are not journalism in its truest form, but more like propaganda sheets for those against any tax and possibly public education.

Are you beginning to turn on this new Board of Education and superintendent already? I am a retired educator from outside the Mehlville area, but I still feel for all of those in public education who keep getting batted around.

Mehlville schools have always had a good reputation among those in education and the students have done very well. Thanks for reading my thoughts.

Louis H. Wright