By David Arnett, Publisher
Monday, 04 September 2006
For the last four months, Tulsa Today has hosted, on average, more than 100,000 pages views from 33,000 to 43,000 unique visitors per month, thus rivaling all local traditional news services in Tulsa. Maybe it is because Tulsa Today breaks news before other state media, as we did in revealing the distortions and hypocrisy of Tulsa radio shock jock Michael DelGiorno, or as we did again with coverage of Sapulpa’s penis-pumping judge – and, most recently, in tying the Rural Development Foundation to the Gene Stipe Democrat network of perpetual corruption in a growing scandal expected to land several Oklahomans long prison terms.
For whatever reason you read, expect more as Tulsa Today begins our second decade of publication.
Will Rogers once said that all he knew was what he read in the newspaper, but news organizations never tell all they know. In fact, many stories are in research for months. Facts must be verified as journalism is practiced at Tulsa Today.
This is not a blog (Web log or Internet diary), as many different individuals are paid to write and edit our stories – we predate blogs. We are conservative, but welcome all perspectives for publication – even liberals. It is our diversity that enables Tulsa Today reporters to find news from a wide variety of sources. No party, politician, public or private special interest owns us.
In fact, ownership of Tulsa Today is held in legal trust for my grandchildren. A former Tulsa Tribune reporter with 20 years of freelance reporting experience and a lifetime of involvement in public policy development in Tulsa, I established Tulsa Today in 1996 to guarantee that this community will always have diversity in public debate and in the investigation of local news. We have found no other non-traditional, independent local news organization producing original content for that length of time anywhere in America. We were first, we are the best, and we have just begun Tulsa Today’s overnight success 20 years in the making.
Tulsa is also approaching grand success on a scale never before imagined. The local economy has turned around, in large part because Vision 2025 put a great many construction folks to work. It also represented a sea-change in public attitude as Tulsans, in overwhelming majority, voted to invest in specific bricks-and-mortar public building projects to enhance the greater community. With that outward and visible sign of heartfelt confidence on the public record, private individuals have been increasingly moved to bring investment dollars to Tulsa. It takes years to build magnificence and Tulsans have chosen to support that path.
Nationwide, Tulsa is gaining a reputation for value. As we support public infrastructure, private investments grow and every Tulsa homeowner realizes increased equity. From coast to coast, people are realizing that they can sell property elsewhere, move to Tulsa, and prosper immediately – and, over the long term, enjoy a casual, family-friendly, technologically advanced and culturally active community.
Granted, there will always be cities that will have more or better something-or-other, but Tulsa is a great mid-sized city in beautiful country in the heart of America. Is there more to be done? Of course, there will always be more, as each of us are building a better city daily – earning a living, raising our children, and participating in community life.
In addition to private commercial investment growing in downtown and throughout the region, our historic families and foundations are also placing their faith in Tulsa in dramatic ways.
Funded in part by Tulsa County, the Arkansas River Master Plan has been completed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Now the entire 42 mile corridor from the Keystone Bridge to the Wagoner County line has a plan for environmental protection and development. Money for the Arkansas River was included within Vision 2025 and in 4-to-Fix the County. Recently the George Kaiser Family Foundation provided a $10 million grant for Arkansas River public beautification and enhancement. In addition, six individuals of significant history in Tulsa have formed “Tulsa Stakeholders, Inc.,” a nonprofit group expected next week to reveal its proposal to develop self-contained, livable islands in the Arkansas River.
Are there critics of progress? Yes, some will always oppose change and will no doubt continue to do so, believing all taxes to be economic slavery. While they begrudge their defeat on the Vision 2025 vote – more than three years ago – it would appear they would do well to “get a life” as Tulsa moves on.
Tulsa Today and I led the opposition to the “Tulsa Project” and “Tulsa Time” development packages –both were bad proposals and were properly defeated. The Vision 2025 propositions, on the other hand, were a fabulous boost for higher education, health care, attractions, and other community infrastructure. After that voter approval, I was hired as public information manager for the program management company that is implementing the program. I work hard for that paycheck and the Web site, newsletters, and general public information outreach are my responsibility to organize. I am not the public spokesman, but I believe Vision 2025 is the most transparent public building program ever implemented in Oklahoma.
Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. Local government properly builds infrastructure, and the quality of that infrastructure determines, in large part, the quality of life within any community. Conservatives oppose growing operating budgets of government, but support specific bricks-and-mortar packages in transparent execution. Unfortunately, Tulsa’s current critics often devolve to personal attacks, unproven conspiracies and outright mistruths in the attempt to bolster their case.
For that small group of readers who hate, but ask for more commentary on morning shock jock Michael DelGiorno; understand that at some point it becomes foolish to write about fools. Having destroyed his own credibility on issues of substance, DelGiorno’s latest falls below foolish. After being confronted with evidence of hypocrisy, DelGiorno cried an apology on-air saying he “most regretted embarrassing God.” Say what? God’s credibility is not dependent on human performance. To read past stories on DelGiorno click on the links (Defending Tulsa, DelGiorno Delusions Part I and Part II, and Political Posits) or use the Tulsa Today search feature.
Tulsa Today Crime Editor John O’Mara first broke the story of former Creek County District Judge Donald Thompson on Saturday, November 15, 2003 – which was the first news story anywhere on what would later become grist for national news. Though we did not report during the trial, after the conviction, Tulsa Today ran a follow-up piece – but it was not a story on the judge’s “stiff sentence,” as Tulsa Today prefers to avoid “pumping-up” the humiliation any more than necessary.
While investigating claims of managerial excellence by then-mayoral candidate Kathy Taylor, Tulsa Today discovered the Rural Development Foundation, which continues to grow in stature as an example of why the State of Oklahoma is so poor. In fact, Oklahoma is a resource-rich state made poor by state government corruption – the inevitable result of one political party (Democrat) controlling the Legislature for 100 years or so. In our second story, Tulsa Today noted that only after the Oklahoma City newspaper covered an FBI raid on involved offices did the daily Tulsa paper cover a story Tulsa Today broke. We continue to challenge the daily paper not because we hate them, but because we want them to be a better newspaper.
ImageThat is another funny thing about media. Most do not admit or quote other news organizations breaking news. Historically, when the Tulsa Tribune (Tulsa’s now-defunct afternoon daily) would break a story, the morning paper would wait until the Associated Press (AP) released the afternoon’s piece, and then quote the AP rather than their local competitor. Tulsa Today bucks that trend, because we believe it is media’s responsibility to review their industry. We are also exploring ways to network with other media in cooperative coverage, promotions and community charity.
Commercial publishing in any format is difficult business, and all media compete for limited local advertising dollars. Tulsa Today is the region’s best advertising value, but we have not aggressively carried that message to decision-makers throughout the community. That is also changing, as we have hired several new business representatives to make the pitch.
Tulsa Today reaches intelligent, locally active political, business, and cultural leaders. We have kept our news free to the reader for over 10 years without pop-ups or tacky Google ads and have built this online community for you. That’s right. You there, sitting in front of your office or home computer in Tulsa or worldwide – this site is yours. Together, we care about Tulsa and are making a difference for positive change in our community. We thank you for your support – all 100,000 page views per month of you.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 September 2006 )