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Edgefield Advertiser’s Suzanne Derrick Should Resign: False Statements Exposed

A Column by the Editor
web posted August 20, 2010

COLUMN – A recent column published in the Edgefield Advertiser on Wednesday, August 18, wrongly attributed to Modena Stevens, took great strides to discredit Edgefield Daily and myself as editor. Granted anyone is free to take pot shots at me, and the little inner-circle clique in Edgefield does so on a regular basis, but in doing so at least tell the truth. The recent column penned and published by Suzanne Derrick contains nothing but outright lies.

According to Ms. Stevens, Edgefield Advertiser publisher Suzanne Derrick called her on Wednesday to say an “editorial” was placed under her name by mistake, but did not say where the editorial was supposed to run or who penned the lies. A call on Thursday to Ms. Derrick confirmed she penned the fictitious claims.

In the libelous rant, Derrick stated that the mother of Clayton Moates read his name in our coverage of the August 3 fatality at 7:30 am and that is how she learned of her son’s death. That would be horrible, if it were true.

There was a morning mention of a fatal crash, however, the one paragraph “blurb” contained very few details and made no mention of the person’s name involved in the crash and was posted at earliest at 9:48 am. Once the original “blurb” was published an archived email was sent to our television and radio news partners at 10:06 am stating there was “very limited details available” for them to include in their hourly broadcasts.

Further information was gathered that fateful morning until our final report on the crash was published at 10:45 am, not 7:30 am as Ms. Derrick falsely claimed. Again, archived emails to news partners on the coming update were sent at 10:26 am including some of the information that would be used in the 10:45 am story. This email shows that the released information had been confirmed and was available for general circulation for their broadcasts.

Mr. Moates’ name was not used until it was released by Deputy Coroner David Burnett who verified that all family members had been notified, including Mr. Moates’s mother. That is standard operating procedure not only for the Coroner’s Office, but our news organization as well.

In addition, our long-standing policy is to timestamp stories that will be having updates throughout the day. Anyone with the simplest of reading skills can scroll down on the Headlines page where the story is still listed and see the 10:45 am timestamp. This was placed because the original “breaking news blurb” (9:48 am) was a simple mention of a fatality taking place and there was no story that followed.

When the story was able to be published, the timestamp was placed to let the readers know that new information and a complete story was now available.

It seems that Ms. Derrick would rather lie in an attempt to falsely accuse me of something that never happed in an effort to discredit me and Edgefield Daily, the most widely read news media outlet in Edgefield County, for her own personal benefit.

In reality she only discredited herself and the Edgefield Advertiser because her claims are false which places everything she publishes into question for accuracy and truthfulness.

Perhaps Ms. Derrick should adhere to her own words she used to end her false claim, “Adhering to the rules that should be there for those publishing news, especially when it comes to the innocent, is only human”.

She lied about me (innocent) by using the death of a popular young man (innocent) on the backs of grieving parents (innocent) to further her personal vindictiveness to damage me and my media company.

She should resign her position with the Edgefield Advertiser immediately as she has now proven in print that she will disregard the laws and ethics of professional journalism and has shamed and disgraced the long honorable history of the Edgefield Advertiser and relegated it to a tabloid status by her actions.

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