Power of the Pen: Letters to Editor Trigger Policy Change at Village News

Fallbrook residents (Brad Jordan and Roy Batchelor) wrote Letters to the Editor pointing out that a front page story, without a byline, was actually a press release from political campaigners promoting passage of Bonsall Unified School District’s Measure EE which will be Attempt #6 to build a high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley.

The Village News agreed and promptly enacted a policy change:

Mr. Jordan and Mr. Batchelor: Thank you for your reaction to last week’s press release submitted to us. You are absolutely right. We were so focused on news coverage and fires that less time was spent editing and it was a poor decision to run that press release on the front page, because it editorialized within the press release.

One of the things we’ve prided ourselves on is not editorializing in our stories and not putting editorial pieces on the front page, which is a problem nationwide right now. We have reviewed our systems and policies this week to tighten that process up to ensure this type of mistake does not occur again. As far as I know, no one on staff is for or against that Bonsall issue.

Whenever a piece has the word FALLBROOK or BONSALL in front of it and there is no writer, it is not an original piece, article or news story written by staff. That’s an industry standard for submitted press releases.

In light of the situation we have revisited our policies so in light of transparency going forward will mark submitted press releases as such to make things clearer to our readers.

Thank you,

Julie Reeder, Publisher

Kim Harris, Managing Editor

Kudos to the Village News, which does an amazing job with limited resources, and to Brad Jordan and Roy Batchelor who truly showed us the Power of the Pen.