Posted: Feb 12, 2014 4:32 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2014 12:58 PM
COLUMBIA- On January 30, KOMU reported about how certain budget cuts in Missouri could affect the state's public school system. We reported that budget cuts to Missouri's Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC)have left the state with almost no alcohol enforcement and lost revenue for its public school system, according to multiple sources.
A few of our viewers commented on the story, some saying it wasn't newsworthy and others questioning our choices in investigative decisions.
One viewer said, "Who said they're not enforcing them? Did you even take the time to investigate maybe the bars are abiding by the law without paying hundreds of salaries for alcohol police? It most certainly does not mean we are missing thousands in money for schools! That's like saying we're missing out in millions of dollars for our schools because everyone is not buying lottery scratchers every day?! Total amateur writing here get your facts correct and report the news... don't try and make up a story."
Another commented, "So what? Do a story on where all that lottery money goes. Then we will see what's going on in Missouri."
But KOMU 8 News Director Stacey Woelfel said KOMU 8 spoke with multiple former agents and looked at a number of existing violations (mainly advertising violations).
"If somebody were simply available to enforce the law, there were a clear number of violations right there," he said. "We're looking at an important public policy decision. Did the state end up losing money over a decision that looked like it would save money? I think that's an important taxpayer policy decision."
Investigative Reporting Professor Mark Horvit said it's hard to make sense of so many numbers. The challenge comes when a reporter has to make all those numbers meaningful.
"The tricky part is, is taking those numbers and make something meaningul," he said.