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The Tallahassee Democrat’s editing “standards”

The Miami Herald didn’t have the same “standards” as the Democrat when we used quotes from an un-named man at whose house Ken Pruitt Jr. died, according to the Democrat’s web editor who explained in a 2:54 p.m. posting that it was using its own version because ours made him "uncomfortable.

He also noted that the Democrat would constantly update its own version.

So do we. Two minutes before the Democrat editor posted his explanation, the Miami Herald named the man: Sam Coskey. Police confirmed it, after we matched the name with the license plate of the Town Car parked out front.

The Democrat still hasn’t named him, nor apparently spoken with him. It is now 4:57 p.m.


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this story might be more censured but isn't it customary that the Democrat gets their news from other papers? subsequently way after the fact? I think everyone knows that.

the Herald sounds like their trying to justify their lousy tabloid journlism. this kid, who is dead, wasn't an elected official.

Caputo, just because you don't like Ken Pruitt and you are stuck up Villalobos's a** doesn't mean you have to use the death of his son as an opportunity to "prove you are a better reporter". By the way, no one cares who posted it first, or who did or didn't use the friend's name. Jesus, the guy's not even in the groun yet and you are desperate for a tabloid story. Pathetic.

Caputo, just because you don't like Ken Pruitt and you are stuck up Villalobos's a** doesn't mean you have to use the death of his son as an opportunity to "prove you are a better reporter". By the way, no one cares who posted it first, or who did or didn't use the friend's name. Jesus, the guy's not even in the groun yet and you are desperate for a tabloid story. Pathetic.

Hugh Janus

crass ploy to sell more newspapers. family should be off limits.

Scott Dance

"crass ploy to sell more newspapers. family should be off limits."

You don't make any sense, Hugh Janus (classy name!). Is giving people stories they want to read a wrong motivation? Good stories that people are eager to read are what reporters strive for, and coincidentally, such stories happen to sell newspapers -- because people like reading them. Would you prefer it if newspapers simply ignored what its readers wanted to read?

As for family being off-limits, Senator Pruitt is responsible for bringing them into the spotlight. It was his choice, surely with his family's input, to run for public office.

Bob Gabordi

Hi, I'm Bob Gabordi, the executive editor of the Democrat, and in addition to the orginal sourcing, we decided that the Herald story was in poor taste. This was a 29-year-old adult son of an elected official and not a public official. Once we received word that there was no suspicious circumstances, the news value of talking to a witness and point out where they had met seemed iffy at best to us. The assertion that the Herald's standards are the same as ours is not true. Would they have said they met in a "straight bar." What was the news value of that? Who cares if this man was straight or gay? Would the Herald have cared to expend that kind of effort on any other Tallahassee man? I know we would not have done that with a man from Miami. So clearly the Herald thinks that the fact this deceased man's relation is what makes his personal life fair game for public invasion. It's not a matter of a right to do so -- of course, they have the right to. But we were talking about standards.

Sorry, but -- whether you agree with our decision or think the Herald played it right -- the answers to those questions, along with the initial reliance on the unnamed man to tell the story is what makes our standards different.

Ken Pruitt, Jr is not the first friend of Sam Coskey's to die at his residence. Another significantly younger man was found dead outside Sam's apartment by a newspaper delivery person in 1999. The man's death was ruled a suicide.

The prior comment is not meant to imply foul play. This is a difficult and trying time for everyone involved.


chris simmons

From a journalistic point of view, it's obviously newsworthy when the son of a prominent public official dies. The details of the death are absolutely necessary -- this was, after all, a guy in his 20s -- and quoting the man who was with him that night was simply sound journalism. I think any privacy issues evaporated when the dead man's friend was willing to speak to a reporter about the death. It's when you don't ask and answer questions that things get swept under the rug, and that quickly erodes trust in a newspaper.


Actually, I care who had it first.


"Hugh Janus" was a character on "The Dead Zone" TV show. I see he's posting here.

Not Buyin' It

I read the Herald this morning. Then I read the Tallahassee Democrat.

Why is neither paper reporting this story with ALL the available facts?

The 29-year-old Pruitt dies at his 62-year-old friend's house. They'd met two years before at the bar, Brothers. They again hooked up the night of his death at Brothers.

These are the facts reported in the Herald, nowhere to be found in the Democrat. Yet, even the Herald omits the info that Brothers is a gay bar-- and this is likely relevant.

It is a terrible tragedy for a person to die so young, drug overdose or not. But when the father of this young man happens to be one of Florida's most notorious homophobic, hate-mongering politicians, the Senate President!, you have wonder what demons drove young Ken Pruitt Jr to his final nightcap at Brothers.


The Cat's out of the Bag! Liberals are out to smear any Republican anyway they can! Thanks, Bob for squashing them. We need more like you!

ovil winburn

I would like to submit an article special to the democrat. In times like these the article will be a welcome item concerning our Christian Heritage and especially to those who believe in God. About 20 years ago I was enroute on I75 between Lake City and Alachua and as I passed an on ramp about 8 miles north of Alachua I felt the compulsion to look in my rear view mirror at the ramp and there was a car broke down there sitting by the ramp and the door was open and someone was standing there behind the door and the hood was up so it appeared that they were broken down. There was a Shell Station nearby so I assumed that if they indeed in need of help that they would go there for some assistance. As I drove on I felt a strong compulsion to offer my help and as I continued on it got so strong that when I finally got to the next exit about 8 miles down the road, I turned around and went back, circled in behind the stalled auto and got out. There were three black ladies there. Two outside and one elderly looking lady sitting in the back seat in her best sunday white dress, hands neatly folded in her lap and a slight smile. I saw the trouble which was a broken line from the transmission to the cooler behind the radiator. The rubber connector had split and oil had spewed out onto the exhaust and the smoke caused the driver to stop. I carry a few tools and thought I could repair it to drivable condition and so began and loosened a support bracket and got enough slack so that when I trimmed the rubber connection past the split I was able to reconnect it. During this procedure I had learned that these ladies were from Tallahassee and they were on their way to Gainesville to visit a relative who had recently become a new mother and was in a hospital there. After starting the car up and making certain that it was indeed safe to proceed, I asked a question of the driver. "Did you consider walking back over to that staton for help".? She said, yes I did but my grandmother told me not to worry that God would send someone along shortly to fix it. I glanced at the back seat where that lady was sitting and she was wearing a very satisfying looking smile. Before they left I told them where they could go in Gainesville for further help on the auto problem and they thanked me and drove off. They offered to pay me but I said "I've alaready been paid more than you may know." The old lady in the back was now grinning. This might come to the attention of some of those ladies that are still around and I believe it is the kind of story that will reinforce how God performs His miracles, even in this day and time. If you decide to print this, feel free to make any corrections that you deem necessary, without altering the intended essence of course. thanks. Ovil Winburn, Jr. (uprooted Mayo cracker now living in Ocala) UF BSA 54.

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