But some readers contacted us to say they thought the story had no place in a "family" newspaper. Others said that although the doctor and his legal problems might warrant a story, it should not have been given so much space or run with the suggestive photographs. Several said we were "condoning" the doctor's behavior.
The editorial mission statement of the Danville Weekly is as follows:
Our mission is to be the most incisive, thoughtful and trusted source of news, information and analysis of the Danville area community. We aggressively pursue stories that reflect the diversity and vitality of the community and present them in a compelling, lively and useful manner.
The story on Dr. Playboy fulfilled these criteria. The fact that his social activities are unusual for this community is what made it news. When we began to look into the story, we learned about the lawsuits, which raised issues about personal freedoms and residents' responsibilities to their neighbors. Sources for the story included police, partygoers, lawyers, county court documents, neighbors and Dr. Kevin Degnan himself.
It is not our job to condone or censure anyone's behavior. We merely report on it in our news pages, although we do make editorial comments in this Perspective section. As far as being a family newspaper: Much of our news is aimed at families, such as our Sports pages and the Scout and school news we print. But some news, by its very nature, will be more adult-oriented, including stories about violence and criminal activity. This story is one of those.