Sometimes the story is about what’s not said, as much as it is about what is …

Been getting some good feedback about this story today. Thanks for the calls and emails, people. Folks are watching this, and some are ticked off. And many are asking questions to which the answers can be found here:

If you want to see more about Emerald Youth Foundation’s board, go here.

To see the Emerald Academy details, go here.

Here is a link to the 990s for Emerald Youth Foundation.

This is Gov. Bill Haslam’s COI form with the state.

Here’s why you don’t see Emerald on that list, according to the TN Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance: “Honorary” positions are not required to be disclosed. The last sentence of TCA 2-10-115(a)(2) states that.

Some observations. In some circles, people are questioning the editorial decision-making at the paper. I’m not here to discuss that. We have a whole section devoted to that. That’s above my pay grade.

Sometimes a news story is about getting comments on the record. This means talking to the people who are the subject of some goings-on and asking what their involvement was – or wasn’t – in an issue.

Sometimes, in the crush of time and just plain resources – you don’t get to launch the journalism i-team for a full-blown, months-long investigation of a subject. This might be showing our hand, but heck, it’s a fact of life.

Point is, we do the best we can with what we’ve got, given the resources available. One of those resources is the inch count on a story. Space and time are finite. That in mind, choose your battles wisely, and live to fight another day.

Total side note: Any reporter I’ve met who is dedicated to their work also volunteers some personal time to the job. This means reviewing records at night, writing on the weekends or just showing up for a meeting to see what’s happening. We also read the world news online, listen to talk news, respond to emails while on vacation … the list goes on, as we know. And work-outside-of-work is common in other professional settings too! If you’re enjoying the glory of seeing your byline in print and, for some, being a quasi-pundit on local issues (which is dangerous, as it erodes your credibility if you’re also using your byline to spit fact), you shouldn’t complain about how hard you work. Not publicly, anyway. Nobody cares. Oh yeah, this reminds me of a what a reporter once told me at my first daily gig. He was pointing to my byline above some story I was proud to have written. “You see that?” he said. “Nobody reads that. Nobody cares.”

I digress. And I’m betting our story today won’t be the last word on Emerald Academy.

Oh yeah, one more question to address: We have named the board for the academy before.

The school’s permanent location has yet to be determined, but the organization is looking at two — the Moses Teen Center, 220 Carrick St., which is owned by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley and is under contract to be purchased for development of affordable senior housing; and the Sears Building, 100 N. Central St., which houses the county’s purchasing department.

In the interim, the school would be housed in the former Choice Data headquarters, 1014 Heiskell Ave.

The charter school’s board, which is separate from the Emerald Youth Foundation’s board of directors, is made up of nine community members and a former school system employee.

They include Diggs; Ed Hedgepeth, who retired as the executive director of secondary education; Alvin Nance, president and CEO of the Knoxville Community Development Corp.; Danielle South, director of public policy and education for the Knoxville Chamber; and Randall Gibson, COO and general counsel for Lawler-Wood.


About Gerald

A journalist in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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One Response to Sometimes the story is about what’s not said, as much as it is about what is …

  1. cwg says:


    I do think you did a good job getting people on the record. And I do understand space constraints, but really? You didn’t think it was worth mentioning today that the COO for Lawler-Wood is on the ECS board after you talk about Jon and Rodney Lawler? Or that the educational policy coordinator for the Chamber – herself a Teach for America alum – is also on the board? Lydia’s story ran April 3 – hardly recently enough for people to remember all the names.

    Eroding my credibility with every word, I’m sure …

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