Some readers may be surprised to learn that Navarre Press, while owned by Sandi Kemp belongs to the community. We cover issues important to you: the actions of your government and its individual members, crime and public safety, the latest on beach renourishment, the local high-school athletes who are going places, the Navarre High School JROTC program and all of their awards, upcoming events, healthy living stories and the list goes on. You might be more surprised to learn that Sandi Kemp usually only has an idea of what is going in the paper each week, and she reads it on Thursdays just as you.
The really odd thing is, some in the community have a misperception that Sandi writes everything that is in the paper when the truth is, she may contribute a story (this week she wrote the story on the turtle at the beach) but more often than not, she leaves the story ideas and the writing of the stories to the newsroom. Just as it should be. Some have accused her of using the paper in vendettas against people. That could not be further from the truth. Have we reported on one person on several occasions during the years? Yes. Did the issue have to do with tax payer dollars? Yes. When we cover issues that involve your family or you, we expect that you will voice your opinion. And that’s OK with us – but don’t lay it all at Sandi’s feet. We are not her puppets, she does not tell us how to write a story, she doesn’t give us an “angle” for the story in which to fit. We wouldn’t be here if she did. We report the facts and let our readers decide for themselves. You may not always like what we write about but to other readers it is important.
Let’s take for example the Holley-Navarre Water arson story. It was the 20th anniversary of the fire. The arson remains unsolved. So we took a look back into history, something certain members of our community seem to be interested in these days. Every grain of information for that story came from first-hand accounts, fire marshal reports and verifiable documents. People were named in that story just as they were in the reports. We didn’t sugar-coat it and we didn’t convict anyone. The readers decide for themselves. It was a story worth revisiting – it was a historical event in Navarre. To say that it was laced with lies is just…well…a lie. In fact, if any of you ever come across “lies,” “half-truths” or “inaccuracies” in our paper, we would like to be the first to know.
Something we would like all of our community to understand is – the stories your granddad told you are priceless; remembering the past is a healthy and good thing and recording your history is even better. But history is real – you can’t make it up, you can’t go back and change it, you can’t paint it prettier than it is, and you darn sure don’t have to like it. It is the good and the bad – history isn’t always pink roses with unicorns.
We are proud in the work we do, the stories we publish and the impact we make on our community. And we take our responsibility seriously in recording the history of Navarre. Today’s news is tomorrow’s history.