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College Shuts Out Newspaper

In a letter to the editor, the president of Florida Keys Community College announced that the school is boycotting the Key West Citizen newspaper. President William A. Seeker writes in the letter, published in this morning's Citizen, that the school is "canceling all advertising, printing contracts and most subscriptions with [Citizen parent company] Cooke Communications newspapers effective immediately."

Why? Because Seeker says the newspaper has chosen to "trash" the college with "unbalanced news, editorial spin and blatant disregard for our professional employees."

He cites these reasons:

-- One-sided stories surrounding the nursing director reclassification — Coleen Dooley.

-- Re-hashing the Dooley story (with only the Dooley version), and effectively bashing our administration over a four-year period despite the 3rd DCA upholding our board decision exonerating the college from any wrong doing.

-- Not covering the college graduation for the last three years in a row, and forcing the college to purchase ads in order to recognize the success of our students.

-- Publishing the names of our employees involved in sensitive personnel matters despite our request that their names not be published.

-- When presented with opposing views at college board meetings, your reporters choose to quote only those who criticize the college.

But a source at the Citizen -- which routinely publishes briefs from the college's press releases and in September did a front-page story on Seeker's charitable deeds -- tells the Pulp

there's more going on here than what Seeker writes in his letter, namely that there was considerable consternation at the FKCC administrative offices when the newspaper didn't endorse the college's spokeswoman, Lydia Estenoz, in her bid for a school board seat. Moreover, it published allegations of misconduct by Estenoz's campaign manager, Robin Lockwood, who happens to be romantically linked with the vice president of the college, Maureen Crowley.

As the Citizen source puts it, "Aren't small towns great?"

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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