Northern Valley Beacon

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Sioux Falls Argus Leader questions handling of Morgan Lewis case

One of the things that could make life intellectually bearable in Aberdeen would be the sale of its newspaper, owned by Knight Ridder, to an organization that is interested in supplying the community with competent journalism. In the mid-1980s in a raucous review of news media in the upper Midwest, The Northwest Database Press Review said the Aberdeen American News was striving hard to be the country's worst newspaper. That was based upon gross ineptitude in handling regional news. For a time, Knight Ridder sent publishers and editors to the American News who worked at upgrading the journalism. Then someone decided real journalism was an offense to readers and turned the rag into a chamber-of-commerce pap wipe.

For some time, we have implored other news organizations to provide some legitimate news coverage for the region. No place has the American News demonstrated its servile journalistic retardation more than in its coverage of the Morgan Lewis case. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader has taken up coverage of the case and produced an editorial today.

Thanks for the editorial, Argus Leader. Now how about a press bureau or correspondent for this third-largest community in the state?

Here is the editorial in its entirety.

Questions persist in professor’s death

Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Article Published: 02/14/06, 2:55 am

Aberdeen police have some explaining to do.

A lot of explaining.

In a news conference, Police Chief Don Lanpher Jr. announced that Northern State University professor Morgan Lewis committed suicide 15 months ago.

He announced that three independent consultants reviewed the investigation and agreed. But he wouldn’t tell the public how the department reached the conclusion of suicide.

And he wouldn’t even identify the three independent consultants.

That just not good enough.

ewis’ body was found on the morning of Nov. 1, 2004, outside Seymour Hall. He had a gunshot wound in his neck, and a .25-caliber pistol was found in a Dumpster about 40 yards away, with a blood trail between the body and the Dumpster. The coroner ruled the death a homicide.

The death disturbed the community and led to a 10 p.m. campus curfew. And now police close the case without revealing the evidence or even the mysterious consultants?

On the surface, it looks as though the police were stymied and simply picked a conclusion – suicide – so they could close the case.Lanpher’s explanation isn’t good enough.

The Aberdeen community needs more.

[Yeah. A real newspaper for starters.]

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