satv-logo1Some people look in the mirror to find truth and some grab a magnifying glass to try to find it. Like a conundrum, Truth however is a very elusive riddle, the answer usually hidden in a play on words, such as:

What is black and white and read all over?
Answer: A newspaper.

A recent sketch on Jon Stewart’s Daily show involving the New York Times showed this case in point and quite hilariously I must stretch. Click here for video.

When I lived in the Caribbean the local newspaper had in its heading the Motto: “And the truth will set you free”. As with so many routines that turn into mindless repetitions, truth may disburse freedom on an individual spiritual level, but in general the truth is too easy to manipulate by ulterior motives, to connect it to the word “Free”.

Our local newspaper apparently agrees with and endorses this last approach. Why else didn’t The FB Newsleader and its managing editor Mr. Parnell follow its parent company’s mission statement advise to first seek the integrity of the truth, rather than turning personal assumptions into a story without verifying the facts? When writing and publishing last Friday’s frontpage story “Pirate” Firm Airs Programs on City’s TV Channel 29″, the slightest implication of family favoritism (nepotism) or “good old boys club” antics in the article, should have been preceded by a phone call to the owners of the domain names SearchAmelia.com or SearchAmelia.tv.

Community Newspapers Incorporated, the owner of the Fernandina Beach Newsleader headquartered in Athens, GA writes in its Mission Statement: Our mission will be accomplished through the teamwork of professionals who are dedicated to truth, integrity, loyalty, quality and hard work.

Even for an understaffed weekly, it is possible and prudent to call the internet to the rescue and find out in a couple of minutes a wealth of recorded information, such as the company and individuals behind the domain names in question. Especially since it concerned a major article on the frontpage with an even more expanded follow up over the weekend on the paper’s website. The fact would have turned up that the website owner is a duly formed and in good standing Florida limited liability company called Parago Exports LLC, filed in September 2006.

WHOis.com is very helpful in finding this type of information. All that needs to be done is type in the web domain name you’re researching, fill in the security code and guess what, there it is all for everyone to see….including a phone number to call, if more facts are needed. And that’s what I would have expected from the News Leader, instead of a frontpage article that left a lot of people wondering what it was all about or who was actually targeted. It felt like a first grade fishing expedition and as such probably effective, albeit not a worthy course of action for a newspaper.

Integrity in truth starts with being factually informed, a stance the Newsleader’s parent company propagates and endorses, but the News Leader apparently takes with a grain of salt. SearchAmelia works with many sources and resources in the community, so far exclusively based on goodwill and commitment to excellence. While writing this blog entry comment I’m watching for example a 30 minute documentary one of our local film crews (Michael and Rocky Shores) just filmed on the July 3rd Sounds on Centre event. I am proud to put it on the websites and air it to the world and local TV tomorrow (no sponsor involvement nor charge to the city) as it showcases impressive local talent and another reason why this island is so special. Watch it on Channel 29 /Digital 264 and let us know if you – the people- think this is a more valuable contribution to our island’s profile than “snow on the screen” on a channel that has been doing nothing for a long time.

And for Mr. Parnell and the News Leader one last bit of courtesy. If you check out http://www.aboutus.org/searchamelia.tv you will be able to read up on a summary of our plans, which as you can see does not threaten your existence in the traditional battle between old and new media currently waging around the globe. We actually think it is good for a small, history rich community to continue having a newspaper as an identifying link to yesterday’s values.

Mr. Parnell, in an editor’s note titled Bird Brain for the Tucson Weekly about 7 years ago you wrote: “Despite legend, the ostrich does not hide its head in the sand. Man does that.” … I hope you meant that.

Johan A. Ramakers Ph.D.
Publisher