A friend recently sent me an editorial from the Exeter News Letter talking about the need for a change on the Board of Selectmen. Change can be a good thing and I am not unhappy with the results of the last election. What I wasn’t enthused with was the lack of good reporting on the part of the News Letter.
I did not see it reported that the chairman of the Board, Don Clement, a person who the majority of the Board supported in his selectman’s election, and supported him to be Chairman of the Board, he was Matt’s Vice Chairman and a pretty good one. He badly wanted to be Chairman and the majority of the Board thought he could do the job and elected him.
It was to everyone’s surprise when the majority of the Board disagreed with the Chairman on the dam removal issue he turned on them and openly attacked them. He showed anger at meetings and hostile to some of the members. He showed a total lack of leadership and understanding that you can disagree on issues; but, try not to focus on the disagreements, move on. He couldn’t do that and stopped listening to the majority of the Board and found himself isolated (by his own actions) because of his own behavior and not because of anyone else. I don’t know if he knew how close he came from being removed as chairman because of the way he was acting. Unfortunately it was close to the election and there was a question the news paper could understand or report it correctly. Instead the news paper blamed the majority board when the minority of the board went off pursuing their own agenda.
It was a far cry from the year before when Matt kept the majority of the Board moving in a positive direction, while keeping the lunatic fringe at bay.
There was a reporter at each meeting and saw what was going on; but never really reported it. This caused the paper to become a “he said she said” and more of a gossip column than a news paper. The day before the local election the Exeter Reporter was reassigned and Jason Schreiber is now the new or recycled Exeter Reporter coming from being a highly respected reporter for Exeter and then editor before leaving to work at the Manchester Union Leader. I feel confident that Jason will bring credibility back into Exeter’s news reporting.
Since change is good do we push to change the management of The Seacoast Newspaper or the Exeter News Letter?
I guess it depends on who the change benefits.