Yesterday, the Pulaski County Daily News caused a local stir when responding to a local's inquiry about a Pride Luncheon at Ft. Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army base in southern Missouri. The response was a rant from the paper's owner and one of the journalists, Darrell Maurina.
Jackson, 24, had posted a query regarding the date of the event on the personal Facebook page of Darrell Maurina – journalist and owner of Pulaski County Daily News, which focuses heavily on base activities. She was no stranger to Maurina – having shadowed him as an 18-year-old student when he worked for the Daily Guide.
"This is an event I do **NOT** want to promote or encourage, and one which I do not plan to attend unless some other media organizations also attend,” replied Maurina. “I've already asked U.S. Army Fort Leonard Wood public affairs personnel to alert me if any other media plan to attend the event; I'll cover it if I have to do so, but it's not something to which I want to give attention if nobody else is doing so." Pulaski3a
The out lesbian and dependent of her retired U.S. Army father was taken aback.
“His reaction seemed very emotionally charged,” Jackson said. “It didn’t’ seem like him at all because he always came from a more fact-based reaction. He didn’t even address what I asked. I was kind of a shock that he made something big out of something that wasn’t even brought up.”
The posting prompted a wave of support from LGBT allies on the newspaper's Facebook page. The speaker was slated to be Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa Duncan, who has been profiled on the Army web site in anticipation of the luncheon.
In a shift, yesterday, the newspaper posted that it was be attending the luncheon. The post said, "Due to the sensitivity of the issue, I will be working exclusively off my tape rather than running live coverage." He also stated that the story would be posted that same day. If Maurina thinks that a luncheon featuring a lesbian member of the military is too sensitive for reporting, then there is concern that his reporting is going to be problematic, slanted, and biased. The web site for the Pulaski County Daily News is quite outdated, so it is unclear if people outside of the local area will get to see the reporting.
If anyone is in Pulaski County, Missouri, please let us know how the paper covered the event. You can submit information to GLAAD here.