Letter from the Publisher

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 8:15am

I believe deeply in a free and open press. In Connecticut, where I own two newspapers, and now on Block Island, where it is my privilege to act as publisher of The Block Island Times, I am committed to providing comprehensive, probing, and fair-minded coverage of these communities. We will not shirk from reporting the truth. That is our obligation to our readers. 

Sometimes, however, we fall short of honoring that public trust. 

Many of you have heard about the controversy surrounding the story “Business courts a way for state economies to stay competitive,” which was published in The New Britain Herald and The Bristol Press, my two Connecticut papers. I have been careful not to comment on details of the story until the issues involved were fully aired, perhaps waiting longer than I should have.

Mistakes were made in the reporting of those pieces. Sections of articles were taken from other stories without proper attribution.  

Business relationships were not disclosed. Instead of a byline, a pseudonym was used. This was wrong, and I deeply regret it. 

While the criticism by other newspapers covering our story on business courts was painful for me and my family, there is much in the critiques that points to my failure to uphold the high degree of journalism to which I am dedicated.  

I want to assure you that I have learned from my mistakes. The errors I made will not be repeated in Bristol, in New Britain, or on Block Island. 

Since taking over the paper on Block Island, I have taken pains to ensure that the same high standards of editorial quality that readers expect are maintained. My intent is to build on that strong legacy.   

To that end, I’ve retained editor Lars Trodson and all of the staff. I’m committed to giving them more resources, so that The Times can remain relevant in a shifting digital landscape, and I’ve made it clear that I expect them to report the news without fear or favor. 

Contrary to rumors, I did not buy The Times to further a political agenda or to push for gambling on the island. I did it because I believe in the power of local newspapers to educate and inform.

Over the past several weeks, The Block island Times has received several letters alluding to that incident and critical of me. They are printed here in their entirety in the interest of putting this entire issue behind us. 

You depend on us to provide true, unbiased information. We will continue to strive to do so and earn your trust on a daily basis.

As I did to our Connecticut readers in January, I personally apologize to you, our readers, for the concern caused by this story.

— Michael Schroeder, Publisher