PALATKA, FL -- Complaints against the media are not unusual, but when you're a community newspaper like the Palatka Daily News, changing what readers believe is a tradition can cause an outcry.
Wesley Dallas is a proud father.
"It makes me proud,"he said, "It is feeling like no other to see your kid do the right thing."
His 17 year old daughter has been named Homecoming Queen at Palatka High. In this small community
it is a big deal. So why is he upset?
"Normally every year here in Palatka the homecoming game, the parade the king and queen would be in the newspaper,"he said.
It wasn't in Saturday's edition nor Tuesday's, it was finally published in Wednesday's edition.
"It wasn't on the front of the newspaper. I got to the end of the newspaper and flipped it over and there was a picture...almost a whole week later" said Dallas.
Dallas said tradition usually puts the picture on the front page; he points to the past three years where the pictures were front page.
"You can pull up the archives for the last twenty years and homecoming parade," he said.
The publisher said there's no such policy.
Wayne Knuckles said he researched the past nine years and the Homecoming Queen photo was published on the inside of the paper about half the time.
Knuckles gave the following statement on the issue:
"We assigned a photographer to cover the homecoming event at Palatka High School last month and we published the photo in our newspaper in color in a very prominent position. Looking at the past nine years, the Palatka Homecoming Queen photo was published in black-and-white on the inside of the paper about half the time and other years in color. Over the years, these homecoming photos have not always been published on the front page, nor in color. We recognize how important these events are, and we congratulate Dia’mon Dallas on her selection as Palatka High School Homecoming Queen. We were happy to share this news with our thousands of readers."
It is a position that has left the Dallas family very frustrated. Now they're reaching out to the paper and other community leaders to remind the newspaper of what he called a community tradition.
As a business, the newspaper has a right to position pictures and stories depending on what captures the readers attention. However, in this case, some in the community would like this newspaper to go back to the tradition of putting the homecoming queen's picture front page.