Our View: In the interest of transparency
March 18, 2022
Our publisher, Pete Radosevich, is running for public office, he announced this week. And your local community newspaper, the Pine Knot News, is announcing that our publisher is being placed on sabbatical leave, effective immediately. He will no longer have any input on how we run this newspaper, and he will no longer contribute to the newspaper, including his column on these pages.
There is no legal restriction preventing him from continuing to work for the paper. The First Amendment guarantees that the press is free from government restrictions, and we take that responsibility seriously. But we feel that our journalistic integrity requires us to furlough our publisher until after the election. We will reassess the situation then.
Not all publications would silence one of their popular columnists. In fact, some newspapers would continue to run a candidate’s columns, and some candidates will even publish their own newspapers, sometimes filled with propaganda for their platforms.
But newspapers that want open and clear lines of communications with their audience simply won’t do that, including the Pine Knot News. It really wasn’t much of a discussion. Our publisher announced at our last staff meeting that he is running for office. Our editor told him we were putting him on a sabbatical. That was the end of the discussion.
We’re proud to exhibit such integrity in our local newspaper. We believe our community is better for it. At a time when many small towns are losing their newspapers, and when many of those remaining newspapers have decided to take a “liberal” or “conservative” bent, the Pine Knot News continues to be committed to real journalism, with our best efforts to not slant the news in any way, a difficult job given perspectives in the current political climate.
We are committed to covering local government units and elected officials as best we can. We’re committed to fairness, accountability, and truth. We put out a newspaper that is committed to the local community, and in order to do that, we must treat all subjects fairly and without bias.
While columns and editorials certainly have a bias, and are on pages clearly marked as “opinion,” you’ll find the news stories are direct and impartial. That’s critical to credibility — no one will trust the Pine Knot News if we injected our personal opinions and biases into news stories. Our goal is to present the facts and let you decide what information you feel is important. That’s accountability to our community.
And while we won’t be running the “Harry’s Gang” column during the election cycle, you can trust that we’ll continue to put out the same local news coverage that has earned the Pine Knot status of “Best Weekly Newspaper in Minnesota” two years in a row. Pete will be part of election stories, as will the other candidates. All candidates will have a voice, either through letters to the editor, news coverage, paid advertising, and the fall election guide.
Because our reporting will likely cover the race our publisher is in, we can’t allow him to be involved in any part of the newspaper until after the election. To do otherwise would compromise our credibility and would do a disservice to our readers and our community. Eliminating any doubt is what a trusted newspaper should do.