A poor decision

To the Editor:

As the former publisher of the Newport Daily Express I would like to comment about what, in my opinion, was your extremely poor editorial decision concerning the layout and coverage given North Country hockey coach Ryan Jacobs.

It is bad enough that anyone who makes this kind of mistake has his or her name in the court news, but it is quite another thing to splash his picture on the front page of your paper, not once but twice.

Bad enough you dragged him onto your front page, you also involved his players, his fellow coaches and his school, and they had nothing to do with this.

Ryan is a fine young man who has given much to his community in his young life, and I am sure he will continue to do so, but this had absolutely nothing to do with his position as hockey coach at North Country, and it never should have been splashed all over the front page.

Shame on you for using this very unfortunate situation to sell a few extra papers. If you think this will enhance your standing in our community as a paper that uses common sense, integrity and respect for others, you need to think again.

If the CEO of a local business had been stopped for a DUI, would you have gone into his place of business, photographed him or her, his or her staff and his or her fellow workers and put that on the front page? I think not.

With that said, you should realize that good people make bad mistakes but that doesn't make them a bad person. This is his first such mistake, and I'm sure we all hope will be his last.

I don't condone drinking and driving. Nationwide there are far too many stories of sorrow and loss to ever excuse driving while drinking. With a forgiving heart, I hope that this young man has learned his lesson.

I'm sure he has already learned a great deal from this, and I would bet that his first thoughts were of his players and the mistake that he made as their coach. I would also bet that they were among the very first people that he communicated with about this because I know he is that type of young man. Again, keep in mind that this wasn't at a school event with the team or at any other school activity so his position as the hockey coach should have had no bearing on how this was covered.

You are not the Boston Globe or the New York Times; you are a small community paper, and news coverage should reflect that. Big headlines, pictures and stories like this do nothing to your credibility as a paper that covers issues of the day fairly and with the proper perspective.

I believe Ryan is well respected by many players and fans alike as a person, as a coach and as a contributing member of this community, and he shouldn't have been treated any differently than anyone else.

I look forward to seeing Ryan behind the North Country bench for many years to come. I think that with lessons learned, he will be a strong role model for his players and for all of us. With that said, I give my best wishes to the Falcons and their coach for this year and for many years to come.

Roger Cartee

Newport, Vt.

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