EDITOR’S DESK: Paying in change: a telling trend

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM.

I met Deborah Reynolds-Nash on Friday afternoon when most of our news team had left the building for a well-deserved break from non-stop reporting on the winter storm.

Renee, our editorial assistant, and I were tying up loose ends, posting stories on the web and preparing for the next week's production.

That was when Melissa, our media sales consultant, peeked in my office and said, "There's someone here to see you. She has a complaint."

That's unusual, I thought. But I took deep breaths, headed toward the reception area and braced myself for the unknown. As it happened, the complaint had to do with a power bill. I sat down to listen to Deborah's story, about how she felt she was overcharged and how she brought $223 in pennies to Crestview's Gulf Power office.

She wondered if she could write a letter to the editor or somehow express a grievance in the News Bulletin.

Anyone who knows me knows I try to tell it like it is. I'll tell you, "I'm human — perfectionist to a fault but prone to error," which I think is more respectable than filibustering for years before issuing a correction about something minimal. Similarly, I'll tell you, respectfully, what I think of your story.

"This is an unusual story — and I'd like to tell it," I told Deborah. "But I don't think this is a problem-with-Gulf-Power story. They have the right to set and change their business practices. I believe this story is much larger than that. It tells of the struggles many people are experiencing in this economy."

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