One of the reasons many prefer working at community newspapers is the closer connection you have with your readers. This happens naturally because we regularly bump into the people we write about.
At the Los Angeles Times, you might be able to work your entire career without ever encountering a source in your personal life. In Victoria, you can't hardly go out your front door without running into Gary Moses.
As a result, we constantly run into conflicts of interest. The best way we try to deal with those is to acknowledge the conflicts, discuss them in the newsroom, and be transparent about them.
One conflict I want to acknowledge this week is my service on the board of the Victoria Independent School District Education Foundation. A core value of our family-owned newspaper is service to our community. Our owners and newspaper employees are involved in so many community organizations and events it's hard to find one that the Advocate is not connected to in some way. At some point, our ethics board discussed, we should try to list them all.
I was honored to serve on the board of the VISD Education Foundation because I believe in the cause. My wife and I have two children in VISD schools and want to do all we can for public education.
I also don't anticipate an education foundation is something that we would write too frequently about or that would generate much controversy. We did recently publish an explanatory article about the foundation, but the next logical story I could see would be when the organization grants its first grants to teachers. We provide similar coverage to any community organization doing worthwhile projects.
Of course, I can't always anticipate the news. I once served on the board of a shelter for battered women, figuring it also wouldn't be in the news much. A short time after I joined, however, an employee was accused of stealing from the shelter. I told readers then about my involvement in the board.
Let's hope I'm not a jinx, and the VISD Education Foundation helps teachers for decades to come. I am pleased to bring it to your attention and encourage you to contribute to it in any way you can.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE
The Victoria Independent School District Education Foundation accepts:
- Cash donations
- Annual pledges
- Support during special events
- Memorial gifts and honorariums
- Real estate
- Stocks and bonds
- Planned giving
- In-kind products and services
- Your time and service
The VISD Education Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit tax-exempt charitable organization which benefits the students and teachers in the school district by supporting activities not funded by tax dollars. To make a donation, contact Brittany Hollas at 361-788-9271.
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