Stories that have affected him emotionally: I have a daughter, 28. Like all fathers, I worry about her all the time, even when she tells me not to worry about her all the time. Three or four years ago a young woman—a high school softball player––was abducted and killed. It was an awful, awful case, and I wrote a column about it. The headline was “The daughter who didn’t come home,” and that was very hard to write. But part of it was [a message to] young ladies: If you wonder why your dad is always bugging you about where you are and, more importantly, whom you are with, this is why.
A similar story that goes back 23 years was that of a young woman named Rachel Hurley—this was in Jupiter. In the middle of a beautiful spring Saturday afternoon, she went to cut through Carlin Park, and she was abducted and has never been found. My daughter was 6 at the time, but you think about these things. I wrote a column about the funeral service for her, and it was really, really hard, and you always worry about how intrusive you get at that moment. I had done the interviews, and later on in the week I had to call the minister at the church to check one fact, and he said, “By the way, the family wanted me to tell you they really appreciate the way the paper has done its coverage. They know it’s a story, but they think you’ve been very professional and respectful.” And I thought, man, you can’t get a bigger compliment than that.
Government issues facing Palm Beach County: There will be a push for a countywide mayor—a real, elected, powerful countywide mayor. I don’t know if it will happen, but I think there will be a push for it. You’ve got to remember that more than half of the county is unincorporated, and a lot of issues really overlap cities. There are going to be financial pressures on a lot of cities. And Boca’s not immune to it, either.
On the future of print: Every newspaper is making that decision based on its own circumstances and its own readers. There are the stories of Cleveland, Detroit and New Orleans, that now do print only a certain number of days a week. There are no plans for the Palm Beach Post to do something like that within five years at least, because our most loyal readers––even the younger ones––not only like print but also like the combination of being able to get their paper in the morning and updates on their tablets during the day. New media like websites, Twitter and social media all have applications for newspapers. We saw that with Twitter with the Boston Marathon bombing.
On his biggest job challenge: If there is one thing I’d want to change about my job to make it better, it would be giving me more-informed comment, as opposed to just comment. That is my wish from the gods of the editorial pages. A lot of times people get all wound up about something, and I have to tell them, “Great, but you’re wrong.” People complain about biased reporting, and from time to time I’d say they have a gripe, but there’s also biased reading, too—it’s very frustrating to say to somebody, “I can’t run your letter because your central premise is wrong.”