Victim's Rights - Sun News

David Rutter Letter Friday, May 16, 2008 3:56 PM
From: "David Rutter"

Ms. Rothheimer,

Judy Masterson passed along your kind note about my absence, and I was very touched by it. I was truly sorrry the circumstances of my exit didn't' allow for much opporutnity to tell readers what happened or even say goodbye adequately.

As for the details, the Sun-Times Media Group is in dire financial straits and all the suburban Publisher/Editors had their jobs eliminated in advance of what I believe the company hopes will be a sale. Notwithstanding the fact none of us made any more than a rookie junior high school principal, all companies make value judgments on what and whom they care about.

I wished I might have stayed a few weeks to say a proper goodbye, but my superiors were not so inclined to offer that. The United Way of Lake County has insisted I stay aboard as a board member, (a great courtesy) so I still will have a chance to contribute to the county's people.

There is consolation that my coworkers have been very sympathtic and supportive. They will never understand how special I thought they all were. Or how much I miss them. And I have heard from several readers who echo your kind words. You are far kinder to me than you need be, and I'm not merely trying to pose as falsely humble.

There only two thoughts I'd leave with you. Good editors only care about doing the job because of people like you and your daughter, and all the others whose voice has been stolen by powerful community forces that would prefer they not be challenged.

Doing the series that was inspired by your daughter's tragedy is the only legitiimate reason a newspaper has to exist. Stories like yours and your daughter's are the only reasons I could call myself an editor.

I certainly was proud of our paper for doing it, and proud of you and your daughter for not being silent. You may think you needed us in order to be heard; but we needed you far more. Far more.

And that brings me to the second thought. Don't ever be silent. There's no good in that. Don't ever let people who have been injured by indifference and self-interest go unchampioned. You must always speak out. Yell out. Find allies.

There is little chance a newspaper will listen to its better angels unless it has one insistently whispering in its ear to do the right thing. You were that angel for us.

With regards and respects,
David Rutter