Truth and consequencesWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
Maumee Valley Country Day School’s (MVCDS) annual Issue Day took place March 6, with nearly 30 speakers from all corners of media. Topics ranged from WTOL’s Jerry Anderson on “Broadcast News and Change” to Associated Press writer Jon Seewer on “Covering Political Campaigns: A Journalist’s Perspective.”
Very little about the nearly 30 speakers, or the nearly 60 members of the MVCDS Class of 2010 who organized the day, were spotlighted in JC Reindl’s March 7 story in the daily paper of record. Instead, Reindl chose to focus on a minor incident between Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller and Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook, whose differences have been well documented on this opinion page.
It is a shame that so much student effort and great work was ignored, and we vow to make sure next year’s event is well-covered and gets the proper attention it deserves.
It is disappointing that three grown men with an opportunity to set an example for a class of students would behave so poorly. Stainbrook, who provoked the incident by entering an in-session class with a recording device and hurling insults; Miller, who took the bait and responded without thinking by calling Stainbrook a vulgar name; and Reindl, who subsequently wrote a sloppy, disjointed story that witnesses have described as “falsified” and “disappointing,” each acted in ways that set poor examples for students. Stainbrook has further denigrated the standing of the local GOP, while Reindl did no favors for the credibility of his newspaper. I have spoken with Miller and reminded him of his responsibility when publicly representing our publication. All three men have some reflecting to do.
Toledo Free Press apologizes to the students, faculty and board of MVCDS, and to Stainbrook for the crass response.
We are not responsible for Reindl’s odd and disconcerting choices, and do not speak for his organization.
Out of all of this, the best behavior and highest maturity has been shown by the students of MVCDS, who have, as you will read in the accompanying letters, learned great lessons, even though some of their guest teachers fell far short of admirable behavior.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Editor: MVCDS students respond
TO THE EDITOR,
I am a student at Maumee Valley Country Day School, and I sat in on Michael S. Miller’s session at Issue Day on March 6. I picked up a copy of The Blade on March 7 and was shocked. The story on what happened in our class was almost completely rearranged and falsified. I have e-mailed The Blade explaining and elaborating on my complaint with the obvious libel they printed.
I was present for the entire incident between Mr. Miller and Jon Stainbrook as well as Blade reporter JC Reindl’s little conversation with Mr. Stainbrook after the workshop session, which seemed to be the only thing that day that “was completely unprofessional.”
In a day filled with people highly respected in the fields of journalism and reporting speaking on the importance of honesty, Mr. Reindl somehow managed to ignore that and write a story filled with lies. I have read Mr. Reindl’s story about seven times now and I still have a hard time finding anything in it that is written as it happened.
Mr. Reindl was there and saw, just as I did, that aside from anything that Mr. Miller said to Mr. Stainbrook, hardly anything as I or any of my classmates remember, was anywhere near the league of insults being hurled by Mr. Stainbrook. Mr. Reindl conveniently left this out by saying, “However, Mr. Miller escalated the dialogue and uttered the only direct insults.”
If Mr. Reindl was not aware enough to take note of Mr. Stainbrook’s comments on the subject of Mr. Miller’s talk being “boring,” which devolved into him making nasty and insulting comments about Mr. Miller’s weight, then I would suggest Mr. Reindl leave the field of journalism. Mr. Stainbrook purposely made his comments obvious to the entire room as he nearly put on a show for us. His comments were loud and projected not to Mr. Miller but to the students in the class, a large detail Mr. Reindl could not have missed.
The simple fact is that Mr. Reindl took the events that happened, left out important details, and took the facts that he did include and twisted them to make Mr. Miller out to be the perpetrator. Mr. Reindl never even bothered to get a comment from Mr. Miller directly about the incident, as he did from Mr. Stainbrook.
One or two mistakes would simply mean it was too quiet or Mr. Reindl zoned out; an entire story full of them is corrupted writing.
Stainbrook’s room was on the other end of the school, contradicting Mr. Reindl’s quote saying he “was scheduled to talk in a nearby classroom.” He left a very good friend of mine as well as about a half-dozen other students sitting there as the session started deliberately seeking out Mr. Miller to say what he did, which Mr. Reindl also lied about by saying, “It was unclear who was responsible for initiating their exchange, which began minutes before class time.”
Mr. Reindl’s quoting of Mr. Miller was altered as well. Seeing as how quotes such as, “We didn’t like each other then, and we don’t like each other now” were reported by Mr. Reindl as “I didn’t like him then, and I don’t like him now,” it would seem I am wrong in my assumptions that I previously saw no bias in The Blade’s writing.
This story alone has swayed me to look deeper into the stories The Blade publishes and take them with a grain of salt the size of a softball.
Mr. Reindl’s article and Mr. Stainbrook’s comments shed an ignorant light on the students of MVCDS making us out to be fragile young boys and girls who are shocked at the sound of “bulls**t,” among other things. The story Mr. Reindl wrote can be described simply and only as libel. It is singularly the most shameful piece of journalism I have ever read in my entire life. The Blade should be embarrassed to have its name above Reindl’s.
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Miller’s talk. I found it very informative and insightful. I am speaking for only myself, not MVCDS, but I simply want to thank him for coming.
GARRETT KIMBLE, MVCDS senior, Toledo
TO THE EDITOR,
I want to sincerely thank Michael S. Miller for participating in Maumee Valley Country Day School’s Issue Day on March 6. Regardless of what happened, the feedback I got personally and through the Issue Day evaluation sheets at the end of the day showed strong interest among students who attended his workshops, who found it very enjoyable and insightful.
My classmates and I are appalled and disgusted at how The Blade managed to completely twist what actually happened with Jon Stainbrook, even though Mr. Stainbrook clearly went out of his way to leave his session and walk into Mr. Miller’s.
The Blade’s actions are disappointing and unfortunate, but I guess that’s just what is expected from it.
I am sorry that Mr. Miller was drawn into this and so wrongly misrepresented. His sessions were awesome and although I speak only for myself and not MVCDS, I hope we can keep him on our shortlist for future Issue Days and other events at our school.
ZEINAB KAHLIL, MVCDS junior, Toledo
TO THE EDITOR,
We just had a long talk with our daughter after reading The Blade’s March 7 article on the MVCDS encounter between Michael Miller and Jon Stainbrook.
She had come home and told us a totally different story the night before and she was surprised about The Blade article. When we discussed it, she said The Blade forgot to tell the whole story, like Mr. Stainbrook had interrupted Mr. Miller’s presentation and taunted him from the doorway until Mr. Miller fought back.
She learned a lot from this.
MVCDS PARENT, NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST