Earlier this week I was preparing the list of stories for the "2009 Top 10 Stories of the Year" web poll and it gave me a chance to reflect back over the body of work we've produced this year. It's astounding how much territory we've been able to cover. We began the year with a relatively new staff of reporters. They were all very talented, intelligent and qualified, but not necessarily familiar with all of the people, personalities and contacts that help mold and shape the Northwest Florida community. But their drive and enthusiasm to learn and excel was incredible. They have certainly become the premiere news team in the Panama City television market and I am privileged to work alongside of them each and every day.
As for the work they've produced this year, I can't say that we've ever done a better job. This particular team broke more stories, large and small, than any other news team we compete against. A lot of that goes to the sources NewsChannel 7 has developed over the years. But it also says a lot for the professionalism of this organization. If we were careless with the information we receive, those sources would not continue to give us their trust. And without good sources, your news organization is ineffective.
Along those same lines, we've always striven to present the news in the most professional, unbiased manner possible. Integrity is truly a requirement of our business, for if we have no integrity, we have nothing. I can honestly say we have lived up to that goal in 2009. When we've broken a story, we've broken it with the knowledge that the information is correct and properly sourced. When we've been beaten on a story, which rarely if ever happened this year, we went back and got the story on our own, rather than procure the information from a competitor without their permission. Again, what good is your organization without integrity.
back to the Top 10 of 2009. I hope you will take the time to go to out webchannel www.wjhg.com and vote for the 10 stories you think were the most important in 2009. It's a great way to look back over the last year and see where we were, where we've journeyed and where we stand today. And, as gratified as I am about the last year here at NewsChannel 7, I'm even more excited about the year ahead. I hope each of you has a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous 2010.