(Note: This is a memorandum that was sent to Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed on Thursday, July 20 in response to his memorandum to the Editorial Board with subject line: Mugshots.”
The Editorial Board, with all current members present, met at 9:15 am on July 20, 2017. An item on the agenda was your request to remove the photos of individuals in the arrest report that is received weekly from the Cherokee Police Department. The Editorial Board discussed the request at length and we have agreed to the removal of the arrest report from the print edition and from our website. The archived editions that are available electronically that contain the report will be unedited. A link will be provided, like that we provide to the sex offender list, that will be published for the discretionary review of the community. As we receive news or press releases regarding specific arrests, the Cherokee One Feather will subject those to editorial review on a case-by-case basis for a determination about publication.
We appreciate you for sharing your thoughts with us and the community. We would like to address a few of the comments from your letter.
The Cherokee One Feather publishes hundreds of news stories in a year. And while those stories may be entertaining and even sell more copies, those are not the primary purposes. We provide appropriate and relevant information to the Cherokee community in a manner that is as unbiased as possible. There were never any theatrics in the design and execution this report, unlike commercial publication that exclusively features regional arrests, but simple text and photo, much like it is received from the police department.
The Board wants to ensure that we do not contribute to the pain and suffering of community members who are not the focus of the report. If there is the reasonable possibility that innocent family members are being harmed by the report, the Board felt it proper to restrict access to the report.
Again, we thank you for being willing to share your thoughts. It is our desire that we continue the open dialogue with leadership and the community. We agree that resolving the drug issue requires a culture change. We hope to be a support and catalyst for that change.
Cherokee One Feather Editor on behalf of the Editorial Board