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I regularly talk to people who have ended up on the wrong side of the law and want to keep the incident out of the newspaper.
My answer is invariably a polite no-can-do. If the situation is a matter of our usual public record, it all goes in the paper.
We make no exceptions.
Employees of this newspaper are held to the same standard — including me.
Which brings me to the point of this column. On Saturday night, in a neighboring county, I was charged with DUI.
I wanted you to hear it from me first.
I can’t go into the particulars right now, except to say my blood-alcohol test was below the legal limit, and I respectfully and fully cooperated with everyone involved.
Based on the circumstances — and the fact that my blood-alcohol test was below the legal limit — I plan to plead not guilty and let the case play out in the legal system.
You may ask why I am putting this bit of information on the front page when, for most people, it might end up on an inside page.
As editor of this newspaper, I can be considered a public figure. Communities have the right to hold public figures to a higher standard, and when some other local public figures — usually elected officials — have fallen into trouble, you have read about it on our front page.
As someone whose newspaper has to publish the troubles of others, it is only fair that I have to publish my own, when circumstances warrant it. And so I’m choosing to make my own DUI charge front page news.
I plan to let you know the outcome when this is settled. For now, though, I haven’t even settled on an attorney.
If there is anything good that comes from this, it’s that you have proof that we hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others.
So now you know: I believe in walking the talk.