The first time I remember seeing my name in print was 55 years ago this summer. I was sports editor of The Auburn Plainsman that summer and each week had my name and photo attached to a column I wrote. Which is just another way of saying I have been around a long time and have read the work of many reporters.
During all this observation, I have always been amazed at how two journalists can work with the same info and impart two totally different views on something that occurred.
The June 9, 2020 decision by the state charter school commission to revoke the charter of Woodland Prep in Washington County being a prime example. Within a few hours, both AL.com and the Alabama Political Reporter had articles on-line about what happened. You can read the AL.com article here and the APR one here.
While the APR article is labeled as “opinion,” this is not the case with the AL.com piece. And you only have to get to the third paragraph to get a strong whiff of which way the wind is blowing.
That paragraph says: Woodland Prep attorney Nash Campbell said, “It’s just a little disturbing that a large group of people that threaten businesses, threaten people–and also essentially used religious and racial elements–caused this school to never get off the ground.”
The reporter than proceeded to relate several paragraphs to talking points of the charter supporters, most of which were never substantiated or verified and were questioned by legal action of the Alabama Education Association. There are no quotes or comments from anyone in Washington County who opposed the charter.
On the other hand, APR reporter Josh Moon largely related how Washington County residents, lead by Betty Brackin, were relentless for two years in expressing their opposition, doing their homework and simply refusing to stop standing their ground.
Washington County has been around longer than Alabama has. Alabama became a state in 1819. Before that, Washington County was the first territorial capital, it became the first state county in June, 1800. It had the first bank in the county.
Point being that folks in this southwest corner of the state have been running their own affairs for a very long time. And when folks from Texas and Utah showed up two years ago to tell them they knew more about schools than the locals folks did, their racket fell on deaf ears.
And had the “outsiders” been nearly as smart as they wanted folks to think they were, they would have figured this out and kept on going.