The Reporter and the District 3 campaign

This newspaper is always willing to give its readers space on our editorial pages to disagree with our opinions. In almost all cases, we offer no rebuttal to opinions contrary to ours and edit letters only to correct matters of generally accepted fact and grammar and spelling.

That said, the letter from Ellen Wyse on this page (see below) is one of those instances where we cannot let stand without comment her broadside against the Reporter.

Ms. Wyse’s ill-informed words about our coverage of the City Council race are unfair to the newspaper and its staff members. During our six months of covering this election, there has never been any “gossip” about the campaigns printed in our pages. To the contrary, the Reporter has provided the most comprehensive coverage of this election available anywhere. The detailed questionnaire that we submitted to the candidates and their answers to our questions are available for the public’s review on our website, dotnews.com.

We are proud beyond measure of the work that our reporters and editors have done to make this information, along with weekly coverage of the campaign in progress, available to our readers in print and online.

Despite Ms. Wyse’s characterization of the tone of this contest as it has been reported by this newspaper, we have by policy steadfastly and deliberately avoided printing any of the rumors and innuendo about any candidate that have been passed along to us. That material has never seen the light of day in any Reporter article.

In recent weeks, however, we have sought and obtained public documents available to all citizens of the Commonwealth, interviewed the candidates based on those documents — some of which include legal filings by candidates who are or have been embroiled in lawsuits— and reported on their status and outcomes. We have not quoted any anonymous sources or passed along “rumors” in these articles; we have simply cited names and numbers taken directly from those filings.

Ms. Wyse’s point seems to be that the Reporter should avoid reporting facts that do not reflect positively on candidates and the campaigns and instead publish articles that serve to make everyone feel good about the election. But that is not the job of a newspaper and we are disappointed that a regular reader of the Reporter would expect that of any quality community publication. It has always been the duty of newspapers and other media to fully probe the ways and means of candidates for public office before they are elected and thus provide voters a fuller picture of the choices before them than they can get via the candidates’ own brochures and websites.

Notwithstanding Ms. Wyse’s laments, our readers can count on us to continue to vigorously pursue the facts involving all candidates for public office and let the votes fall where they may. In that vein, we invite our readers to view a full menu of the two dozen articles, videos, and other content related to this particular campaign at our website, DotNews.com, and judge our reporting and editing for themselves.
– Bill Forry

Reporter’s election coverage flawed

To the Editor:

“Oh where oh where has my newspaper gone, oh where oh where can it be?” If anyone finds our good old neighborhood newspaper please let me know. During the past few weeks our local community newspaper has seen fit to run “gossip” columns about several of the candidates running for the Boston City Council District 3 seat being vacated by Maureen Feeney. Make no mistake about it; these articles are filled with rumors, innuendos, and hearsay. Far below the moral standards of the paper I have enjoyed reading for years for its informative news, personal highlights and accurate reporting.

After 18 years of dedicated service Councillor Feeney is stepping down. She has proven that there still are politicians who truly care about their constituents and the neighborhood in which they live and represent. Needless to say, it will be no easy task to fill her shoes. But we are fortunate to live among people who are willing to take on such a task. Each of the seven candidates for the District 3 City Council race possesses the traits desired to hold such an important position in city government. All seven candidates have spent the past several months working countless hours to prove their dedication and commitment. I have attended nearly all of the debates, forums, and stand-outs and not once have I observed any “mud-slinging or low-blows” between candidates or their campaign workers for that matter. They have chosen to take the high road. Their professionalism and respect for each other’s opinions and objectives are truly commendable. What other neighborhood in the city, state, or country for that matter will you see as many as three different candidate yard signs for the same seat at the same house? This is a testament to the kindness of the District 3 constituents in regards to the spirit of campaigning.

I’m grateful to live in District 3 and I believe I speak for many when I say I appreciate the diligence and sacrifices made by each of the candidates vying for the District 3 seat. If the candidates can maintain positive campaigns and the residents can maintain close friendships in spite of their choice of candidates, why then can’t the Dorchester Reporter provide positive and accurate material to its readers regarding this race? As an interested voter and faithful reader I rely on your professionalism to report on the candidate’s platforms and not their personal issues. It is not the job of your newspaper or any other newspaper to sit in judgment of the people it reports news on. That is what you have done through your recent articles and the voters of District 3 deserve better. Like a lost sheep, I can only hope that your newspaper will find its way back home to the community of readers that have always been faithful to you.

ELLEN WYSE
Dorchester

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