Mike Patrick

Managing Editor, Coeur d'Alene Press

Coeur d'Alene, ID

[ID-E 0201]

I had just become the editor of a small daily in Southern Illinois – in fact it was my hometown that I went back to. And, I knew everybody in town.

My grandfather had been the judge, my mom had grown up there, and this was a town of about 6000 people. And the School Board – I knew all the School Board members, the superintendent of schools – [I] thought we had a great level of trust.

And at a school board meeting that I didn’t bother to advance, didn’t ask tough questions, and there was virtually nobody from the community at this school board meeting – they had an executive session, and they consolidated another school in the district, which just happened to have some of the best boys basketball players in the state of Illinois.

That was an “Ah-ha” moment for me. That I worked very hard to build respectful, trusting relationships with everybody I deal with, but that was a reminder that no matter – no matter how close you think you are with sources on a level of respect and honesty – you can’t take anything for granted.

It was a lesson that I’ve never forgotten.