By JAMES BROWN
Glasgow Daily Times
The Glasgow Daily Times recently won a significant award. As far as I know, it’s unlike any award we’ve ever won.
Each year, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. has a contest that includes all of the newspapers in the company. There are 78 daily newspapers in the company. The Daily Times must compete against about 50 of them in order to win an award. The CNHI awards give only first place. There are no honorable mentions, only winners.
We won the Public Service Award for our coverage and pursuit of the Barren County Detention Center investigation records. It was a monumental win, considering we bested newspapers from across the nation with circulations up to three times what ours is. There were newspapers from New York, Texas and Pennsylvania against which we competed.
We were notified last month about the win and we were proud. It took a lot of hard work by reporter Amanda Loviza Vickery to relentlessly pursue the records and eventually we succeeded in gaining access to those records. Her efforts were also recognized because she was chosen as a reporter of the year finalist in the company.
We’ve not made a big deal about it because we didn’t pursue the jail investigation records in order to win an award. We did it because it was the right thing to do and the records have been made available for public inspection. The citizens of the community can make their own judgements about if the money to hire a private investigator was money well spent. The citizens can decide on the veracity of the investigation. They can also conclude whether what we’ve seen from local elected officials in the last 12 months is what we want to see from them going forward.
What was learned from the release of the jail records was that we have had a great deal of political infighting within our community in recent years. The brouhaha has prevented us from moving forward as a community and from tackling real issues because so much political capital has been spent on petty feuds.
These things must stop, but it doesn’t seem it will as long as we have the same types people holding political office. As long as things remain as they have been in recent years, we will continue to have political disputes over petty issues.
We worked to open the door to shine a light on the nonsense. Now the citizens of the community must demand more from those who represent them. They must demand we have a better class of politicians from which to choose for public office.
Being recognized for good work is great, but hopefully the work has inspired community members to push toward a brighter future.
James Brown is editor of the Glasgow Daily Times. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.