The Newnan Times-Herald


Just the facts

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jun. 11, 2019 - 9:34 PM

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Here at The Newnan Times-Herald, we strive to publish the most accurate news possible.

Each story is different, but the bottom line remains the same: Nothing but the facts. All opinions are respectfully confined to page 4A.

Sometimes it can be difficult for those involved with a story to keep emotions in check and state only what is fact, and not what they feel at the time. This can cloud the issue at hand and potentially confuse our readers.

In those cases, we make a conscious effort to rely on public documents, forums and statements in order to produce a well-rounded account of the situation. 

For example, in the case of a shooting, our reporters aren’t going to follow a victim to the hospital and attempt to interview him or her. Instead, we call the appropriate law enforcement office and obtain a report, then base our story on what the officials have confirmed as fact. 

Omitting the victim’s point of view in the heat of the moment doesn’t detract from the news value. If necessary, a followup story is written as more details become available.

For our ongoing investigative series centered on the installation of synthetic turf on athletic fields at the Coweta County School System’s three high schools, The Times-Herald’s sources have been almost exclusively in the public domain.

In addition to elected officials’ social media posts, statements and public forums, our sources include documents and information available to everyone under Georgia’s Open Records Act. 

On occasion, we also seek input from experts outside Coweta County and – to avoid conflicts of interest – outside the metro-Atlanta area. Those sources are named, and their comments attributed to them, in our stories.

Following the May 2018 election, The Times-Herald requested and received copies of all Coweta County Board of Education meeting agendas and minutes from Jan. 1, 2015, through August 2015, when the board began publishing its agendas, supporting documents and minutes online. 

We shared what we learned about school board members’ attendance and voting records after in-depth analysis of those records, in response to questions readers asked in public meetings.

The most recent pieces in our series came directly from the report issued by Wilson, Morton & Downs following an independent investigation by attorneys Bob Wilson and Keri Ware into allegations of criminal acts by board members and school system staff. 

The Times-Herald twice reached out to Wilson for updates during the 10-month investigation so we could keep our readers up to date on the investigators’ progress.

Our series now includes ongoing analysis of the 161-page report – which is posted on the school system’s website – and identifies the report as the source for those pieces.

Moving forward, our coverage will continue to rely on information gathered from public documents, forums and statements.

We believe this is the best way to provide accurate reports of the ongoing ordeal within the school board.