Daily watchdog journalism gets results. Sometimes almost immediately, as was the case today with State College of Florida.
We published a story today by Herald reporter David Gulliver, outlining SCF's until-now unreported plans to buy a new $71,000 Cadillac sport-utility vehicle for its top officials to use on college business. And Gulliver found the perfect perspective: The news comes two months after the college raised students’ tuition and fees by 8 percent.
Less than an hour ago, Gulliver received a brief email from SCF, saying they were yanking their request seeking sealed bids for the price of a new “executive vehicle.” Gulliver quickly posted the news to Bradenton.com.
Almost immediately, one reader emailed me:
In reference to the SCF cadillac story!!!!!! Thanks for bringing it to light and I have a feeling that there were a lot of complaints. I, for one, was furious when I read that story. My son is one of the students who had to pay that 8% increase!!!!
Huge story? Not in the scope of the trillions of missing dollars swirling in Washington. But it got people's attention -- everywhere I went today, it was the proverbial water-cooler talker. And we think that made a difference.