Tuesday, July 8, 2008 | Will Carless and the rest of the staff at voiceofsandiego.org continue to do an outstanding job providing San Diego with real investigative journalism. Having worked with the local media for over twenty years, I know that declining circulation, budget cuts, public apathy, and a radical shift to “infotainment” have decimated good old-fashioned news reporting in most of the traditional places. Frankly, few professional reporters are left in San Diego, and fewer still have the time to cultivate contacts, follow up on tips, research issues, submit Public Records Act and Freedom of Information Act requests, and develop good instincts.
Having served in government I know that being on the receiving end of such pursuits can ruin your week— or month. But in the end transparency is the lifeblood of “government by the people.” There is not a single paycheck, computer disk, or file folder in government that wasn’t paid for by the citizenry. As such, the people paying the bills always have the right to know what they are paying for. And they certainly deserve prompt, honest, and comprehensive answers to their questions. We don’t conscript people into the civil service, and those who choose to work in government are well-advised to embrace life in the fishbowl, or consider alternative employment.
I am very thankful that a handful of intrepid women and men who strive to break important stories have found a home at Voice. I’d like to think the electronic and dead tree folks would rise to the competition, but I am convinced they will be satisfied merely following your leads. The old adage “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” still appliesn- and despite the abundance of smoke billowing around San Diego institutions these days, there are very few people willing to find the fires. Thank you to Will Carless and the entire voiceofsandiego.org staff for answering the call!