The only thing better than winning

Published 2:06 am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It has been almost three years since my family bought the Donalsonville News.  For the most part, we have been successful in achieving our goals.
We wanted to make the paper about the people who live and work here.
We wanted a lot of good pictures telling the story of the community.   We wanted it to be fresh and interesting every week.
Ultimately, however, the most sacred role of a newspaper is as a community watchdog.  A paper should fairly report the news and hold our elected officials and government accountable.  It can only do this by holding itself to a high standard of fairness and honesty.   The integrity of a newspaper and its publisher are the most important tools we have.
That question was at the forefront of my mind as I contemplated running for Mayor of Donalsonville.  Would the Donalsonville News treat coverage of the city government and its actions any differently if I were Mayor?  Could I really wear those two hats?
Other than my family, the first person I talked with was the paper’s managing editor.  I told him upfront that I did not want to be treated any differently than any other candidate.
I realized this may put him in a potentially difficult place and promised there would never be any action taken against him for any stand he or the paper took relative to the city’s government and the mayor’s office if I was elected.
Ultimately, the paper should clearly state and the public should clearly demand that the reporting of the news will be the same regardless of who the winner is in the two municipal races in next week’s election.
Furthermore, I formed a committee, Ponder for Mayor Committee, and registered it with the Secretary of State’s office to handle all funds related to my candidacy.  The staff was instructed that every ad in the newspaper related to my race would be charged full retail price.  Each and every expenditure of my campaign is publically disclosed so there can be no misunderstanding.
Why am I telling you this the week before the election?   It is important to me that the readers of this newspaper and the citizens of this community believe in the fairness and integrity of the Donalsonville News.  In fact, it is more important to me than winning the election.  I want to make our intentions clear before the first vote is cast.
Win or lose, this newspaper will continue to do its job related to the reporting of the city and county.  In fact, the paper will shortly begin printing either the minutes or an article covering the city and county meetings.
While minutes have been always been available on the newspaper’s website, it is clear the public would like the paper to resume printing the minutes in the paper.  We hear you.
Regardless of the name of the next mayor, the Donalsonville News will continue to promote this community that both candidates love and choose to call home.

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