Shining Rock fails to properly notice meeting — again

Taxpayer-funded Shining Rock Classical Academy’s attempt to address its long history of public transparency law violations got off to an inauspicious start when the school failed to provide proper public notice of a Sunday afternoon meeting intended to educate its unelected board – about half of whom actually showed up – on public transparency law. 

Ethically speaking, this can be a tough job

Remember those old movies where submarines find themselves navigating through an underwater minefield, sometimes relying on skill to avoid what would be a sure death and other times surviving near misses on luck alone?

That’s what it feels like sometimes in the world of journalism as we try to make the right ethical choices. It seems almost every day we are discussing the right way to cover a story or whether some event should even be reported. Sometimes these issues are discussed at length, other times reporters and editors have to rely on gut instincts and past experience.

We stand by our brand of journalism

It’s rare when one newspaper questions the integrity of another paper and the intentions of a hard-working journalist whose entire career personifies honesty and ethical decision-making. So we were surprised and a bit taken aback after we read Editor Robert Jumper’s column in last week’s Cherokee One Feather in which he referenced an article in The Smoky Mountain News. For that reason, I felt compelled to respond.

Shining Rock suspends board operations pending training session

Shining Rock Classical Academy has a history of transparency problems, but after an Aug. 19 meeting with representatives of local media, it looks like the taxpayer-funded school’s unelected board is finally going to do something about it. 

Shining Rock continues to struggle with transparency

Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of stories on Haywood County’s public charter school, Shining Rock Classical Academy, which has been beset by a host of academic and organizational problems since opening in 2015.

Since 2015, Haywood County’s first public charter school, Shining Rock Classical Academy, has used more than $2.75 million in local taxpayer money to educate children to a level far below the county average, and also below the state average.

Shining Rock remains shrouded in secrecy

Transparency and accountability have long been concerns at Shining Rock Classical Academy — since before the troubled taxpayer-funded school even opened its doors in 2015 — and if recent events are any indication, new leadership at the school doesn’t seem interested in doing anything to change that. 

Twenty years later, another edition done

In the beginning, one doesn’t even think about the long run. When you’re fighting every day to survive, there’s no time to look over your shoulder. Slow down long enough to take in what’s in the rearview mirror, and you’re all too likely to get eaten alive by those who would love nothing better than to chew up and spit out the upstart.

Is a ‘responsible media’ a fading memory?

It’s one of those anniversaries most would rather forget: April 20, 1999, the Columbine High School shooting. Two high school seniors murdered 12 fellow students and a teacher, and they shot and injured another 21 people before they committed suicide. They also brought bombs to the school, so the carnage could have been much worse. 

Twenty years later, the tally of school shootings and mass killings continues to mount. That shooting and its aftermath changed this country, but rather than coming together to find ways to reduce random mass shootings we’ve instead become numb, seemingly accepting the reality that they are part of life in 21st century America.

One year later, Cherokee media ban still in effect

Tribal Council got off to an unusual start in April of last year when Councilmember Tommye Saunooke, of Painttown, asked Tribal Council to begin the meeting by voting on a proposal that was absent from the day’s 28-item agenda. 

“Mr. Chairman, at this time, I’d like to make a move that the only press allowed in our Cherokee chambers will be Cherokee press,” Saunooke said. 

Our job is to earn trust and keep it

A little more than two weeks ago I was part of a public radio panel that was discussing the “state of media in Western North Carolina.” The catalyst for the show was the Gannet corporation’s — owner of USA Today and more than 100 dailies and 1,000 weeklies — nationwide layoff of reporters and editors, including five at the Asheville Citizen-Times. We discussed the importance and relevance of local newspapers and media sites, and how our communities are adapting to the shift away from one or two dominant — and trustworthy — media sources. 

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