I am a former Crow Applegate Lorane school board member. Sadly, most of our meetings took place with no member of the public choosing to attend, even as decisions about the lives and tax dollars of our community were made!
Fortunately for the citizens of our district, a lone reporter from the West Lane News sat faithfully through regular and executive sessions as the public’s surrogate while we fulfilled our responsibilities. No doubt she had more compelling things to do on one Monday night each month than watch us approve budgets or address school issues, but her presence provided accountability and oversight — an essential protection for the public in a working democracy.
Why any school board superintendent would violate this constitutional right, not to mention ignore the important role a reporter plays in a small community, only begs the question to that superintendent: what have you got to hide?
I applaud editor Erin Tierney’s strong opinion piece, “Media Allowed. Access Denied,” in the March 22, 2018 edition of The Creswell Chronicle — an excellent civics lesson about the role and reasons for a free press. Democracy, does indeed, die in darkness.
No free press, no freedom!