In the course of reporting for this issue of The Main Street WIRE, specifically today’s stories about the Beacon contract and the rats (see Beacon Change Leaves Questions and School Begins Rat Abatement Plan), the WIRE spoke to dozens of sources. Some were willing to speak on the record, but many were not. You’ll notice that one figure central to the Beacon story and resultant controversy did not speak to the WIRE at all, despite numerous requests: Roosevelt Island Youth Program Executive Director Charles DeFino.
The decision to publish the story with some key information provided by anonymous sources, and notably without DeFino’s participation, was not taken lightly. The WIRE takes no position on the relative merits of the five bidders for the Beacon contract. Our goal is to provide, to the best of our ability, information that is accurate and relevant to the community. Due to the sheer number of sources who independently corroborated events and details, we believe that the story meets a high journalistic standard for accuracy and relevance.
We received considerable additional information in the course of investigating the story that came from, and was independently corroborated by, multiple sources. Though we believe that the information we held back from publication was solid, we determined that it did not add enough to the story to warrant impugning the reputation of members of the community. Many of those who provided information did so as background out of reluctance to being subjected to the climate of personal attacks that is so prevalent on the Island these days. We believe that, where appropriate, the same deference should be given to the subjects of our reporting. We will continue to follow this story wherever it leads, but without on-the-record attribution, our decision to not publish certain aspects will stand.
Finally, now that the die has been cast and the Island will have a Beacon program run by an organization other than RIYP, we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our friends and neighbors at RIYP who have given so much to our kids and our community. Your contribution did not go unnoticed.