I am working on a story about Seal Beach Leisure World that isn’t quite ready for press yet. While I was working on it, I got a call from Tim Bolton, president of the Golden Rain Foundation (the non-profit entity that runs the retirement community) and he answered those questions he felt he could answer. (Answering questions about a former employee is a tricky affair, so I can’t fault him for being cautious.)
I mention this, because Mr. Bolton apologized when he learned I did not receive a message that ought to have been sent.
That simple courtesy was a pleasant surprise. It isn’t unusual for people to simply ignore my calls and e-mails—sometimes because they are too busy and sometimes because they think if they ignore me the story won’t be covered by the press. That later reason for not responding does little good. If the press wants a story, the press will find that story and tell that story.
What makes Mr. Bolton’s apology for what was clearly an honest oversight important is this: unlike the house organ that is published by the Golden Rain Foundation, the Sun sometimes publishes negative news stories about Leisure World and we print letters to the editor criticizing the Foundation or one of the mutual benefit corporations that make up the community of Leisure World. Mr. Bolton could have simply ignored me.
I don’t know him very well. I cannot say we have a working relationship at all—I believe we’ve spoken three or four times, if that much. But so far, he has behaved graciously and professionally. That’s not true of everyone a reporter encounters. I thought the fact should be acknowledged.
This blog does not mean I’m going to change the way I cover Leisure World. Far from it. I’ll still be the outsider looking in. That’s my job. I only hope I can do it as courteously as Mr. Bolton has done his.
Meanwhile, I’m still trying to reach that former employee.