It's Been A Great Journey
Nearly four and a half years ago, I decided to launch The SullivanTimes to offer an alternative media outlet focused on hard-hitting, investigative stories. Except for a brief month or two, it's always been free in its entirety with no advertising. The only funding for this local journalism experiment was a little more than $4,000 raised through GoFundMe and I thank everyone who contributed, some more than once, to help offset some hefty invoices tied to investigative reporting.
It's been a glorious ride that I will always cherish.
But for economic and personal reasons, it's now the right time to throw in the towel and hope that some of articles and editorials have made a difference.
I am eternally grateful for all those who have trusted me with their stories and information that needed to be heard by others.
But there are thousands more stories that need light.
I hope that other media outlets in the region- that people often pay subscriptions for - think carefully in the New Year about the role they play in the community.
Yes, it's fine to be a cheerleader and tell "feel-good" stories. But those need to be balanced by stories that probe deeper into the activities of government, school boards, businesses and nonprofits. That was always the mission here. Sometimes it was successful and other times I felt this media outlet fell far short or didn't live up to that mission. I also wish that many developing stories could have had follow-ups but time did not allow for a one-person staff keeping up with a busy news cycle.
For all that, I sincerely apologize to readers who were and/or who remain disappointed.
Before departing, here's a few suggestions for other media outlets to pursue:
-Increase coverage of local, county, State Supreme and federal courts. There are multiple stories every day that impact residents and businesses. (Example: Right now, there are lawsuits involving child sex abuse and bullying against some local school districts that continue to cost taxpayers).
--Stop printing word-for-word press releases from the District Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Offices and County government. Too often, they have been unethically used by their leaders for political messages rather than public information.
--Do more research on new government hires at the local and county level because it can make a difference. One day after our story about a new administrator at The Care Center at Sunset Lake, she abruptly resigned. That's because we made just one phone call to a prior employer, which revealed she had lied about her work experience. We wondered why the County Manager and HR department didn't make the same easy phone call.
-Challenge public officials for their inaccuracies and distortions. Meagan Galligan, now a State Supreme Court judge, was disingenuous when she said that Isaac Kantrowitz was going 62 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone when he struck and killed two teenagers in June 2019. The State Police investigators revealed that he was, in fact, speeding at 70 mph moments before the crash. That's 25 miles over the speed limit. Did the grand jury get that critical information that might have led to a felony charge? We'll never know. But her statement to the public about the speed was just as unethical as Jim Farrell refusing to prosecute the case at all for some 18 months before being elected as a judge.
--Research the backgrounds of so-called business leaders who make grand promises to rescue the Catskills. See Sherry Li, who made so many government and business leaders believe that she was going to deliver a major development project that would boost the county's economy with "China City of America." We warned privately and publicly that she had no biography anywhere that showed her building anything in the United States. It took a decade but at least the Justice Department caught up with her lies and alleged financial fraud that has kept her and partner Lianbo Wang in jail while awaiting trial.
We don't expect other media outlets to follow anything we suggest, but it's become obvious that many stories that first appeared on these pages were often echoed (and sometimes copied in part ) in at least one other print media outlet. And while that often irked me, I realized later it was actually a back-handed compliment.
I fervently hope that some of what was published here has motivated citizens to pay more attention, show up at more government/school board meetings, to ask tough questions and to speak their minds when something doesn't make sense or, worse, doesn't seem ethical or legal.
The media is NOT the enemy of the people. Keep a close eye on those in Sullivan who peddle such nonsense because those are not people advocating for democracy.
Happy New Year to all and thank you so much to the more than 6,300 of you who have followed The SullivanTimes regularly on Facebook and thousands more on this website.
- Editor Rich Klein
January 1, 2023