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For the record ...

Posted: March 21, 2008 1:53 a.m.
Updated: May 22, 2008 5:02 a.m.
It is not a secret that there have been some significant changes at The Signal in the past year.

A new management team has come on board that believes a strong and independent press is extremely important as our community continues to grow and mature.

We believe that a local community newspaper is different from our larger metropolitan brothers in one significant way - we live next door to the people we write about. So we care about our community like no other newspaper can or ever will.

As the entrusted watchdogs of the community, we have a responsibility to ask probing questions.

That can mean the hard and oft-unpopular duty of looking into matters like who's paying for campaign mailers; who really owns property where someone wants to build 5,500 homes; why there's no high school in Castaic; and why the mayor is withholding information, and what that could mean for him.

We also have a solemn responsibility to do this as fairly and objectively as possible. We do our utmost to give each party in a story a chance to reply.

Part of doing our job means staying as far from sensationalism as we can. But we made a misstep in Thursday's paper with a headline regarding Mayor Bob Kellar. (And just to set the record straight:
Reporters do not write their headlines.) As many of our readers know, we have been reporting on significant issues that Kellar has had with the Fair Political Practices Commission's disclosure Form 700.

There are issues there that need to be resolved, and this newspaper has a responsibility to its readers to follow this story to its completion.

We ran a front page headline that stated "Missing info could mean jail for mayor" - sensational and not well supported by the majority of the content in the article. The focus of the story was about Kellar's response to the ongoing issue, not jail time.

Yes, it is a fact that possible penalties could include jail time.

However, it is also highly unlikely it would ever come to that.

Our intent was to inform. But our headline was irresponsible.

The Signal's long-standing motto is "Vigilance Forever." We're aiming to live up to it as fairly and as free of sensationalism as possible.


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