On April 27, I noted school board club member Martha Fluor’s indignation over the lack of coverage in the Daily Pilot on the recent awarding of “Gold Ribbons” by the state dept. of education.

Now it’s my turn.

Despite the development of multiple websites dealing with city and school matters, and the growing social media presence, some people still don’t believe it until they’ve read it in the Pilot.

So for the sake of this post, let’s stick with that concept: It ain’t true unless the Pilot says it’s true.

That makes my recent news about the threatened lawsuit – the third major lawsuit in 16 months, by my count – unconfirmed. Yet, it’s true, and anyone with even a slightly keen sense of the moment understood something was up when the school board club voted 7-0 to study the boundaries of the areas they represent. As I’ve written many times, the school board club doesn’t move a muscle to change the status quo unless they are forced to do so, or in this case, threatened with the force of having to do it.

Fluor can save her righteous indignation for stuff that really matters. Phony, feel-good Gold Ribbon awards don’t matter. Academic performance matters. Turning around failing schools matters. Giving teachers more respect matters. Ending hostile work environments matter. Transparency matters. Fiscal responsibility matters. And giving Costa Mesa’s Latinos a seat and a voice on the school board matters.

So why isn’t the lawsuit story in the Pilot? Some newspapers are funny that way. Some newspapers still don’t understand that their old way of doing things is what is costing them their profession. Fewer people are reading newspapers because newspapers have not adapted to their target audience. The target audience to which they still appeal – people such as Martha Fluor – is shrinking.

The Pilot was way behind the John Caldecott story. When they finally latched onto the story, it was only because they found some news they could report that they could call their own.

Newspapers are funny that way.

Steve Smith