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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Potter Leader Enterprise Editor Donald Gilliland Going South

Donald Gilliland Going South

By James Jones
Editor-Publisher
Solomon's words

The man who has spent the last 15 years as a reporter and managing editor of the Potter Leader-Enterprise is leaving this week for a position in the state capitol.

Donald Gilliland, told his readers, in a low profile announcement in his editorial section last week, that he has agreed to take a job as an investigative reporter for the Harrisburg Patriot-News, a daily with a weekly circulation of over 430,000.

Don wrote, “I notified my publisher and staff last week that I will be leaving the Leader-Enterprise at the end of this month to take a job as a reporter at the Harrisburg Patriot-News.”

“The last 15 years have been interesting ones, to say the least... and generally good ones to be a reporter and editor in Potter County.”

“Looking back, there are a few things I’d do differently, but overall, I am proud of the work the Leader-Enterprise has done.”

“This newspaper has a long history of speaking truth to its readers, regardless of who may be offended, and I have attempted to be true to that tradition. I am grateful that the newspaper office was not dynamited or set on fire and that I was not beaten on the courthouse steps – as happened to editors who preceded me!”

Don continued and thanked his readers. He said, “An important – and often unacknowledged – component of the Leader-Enterprise becoming one of the top weekly newspapers in Pennsylvania is you, the people who read it. Not only do you appreciate real news, you are willing to help produce it – through phone calls, e-mails, candid interviews and spirited letters to the editor. You have made the difference.”

“I will leave this newspaper with fond memories.”

Donald has become an icon in the newspaper business in North Central Pennsylvania, he and his staff producing award winning editions of the Potter Leader Enterprise, regarded in most newspaper circles as the best weekly newspaper north of Interstate 80.

His intensely comprehensive coverage of news ranging from the Rigas Trials, to the August Kreis skinhead settlement, to wading through the brush in the upper Allegheny River to get a photo of a kayaker paddling the length of river to Pittsburgh, and such story subjects as trivial as leeks in Potter County, republished in a Pittsburgh paper, have earned him a reputation for being able to cover diverse subjects with ease.

His writing style captivates your attention even though a story may be lengthy and complex.

In addition to leading the newspaper, Don has taught journalism at St. Bonaventure University and has spoken to public relations students at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

He relates, “I learn as much from the students as I've been able to teach them.” Students report he’s a good teacher and they enjoy his instruction.

Don was there to break in new politicians to make sure they followed the sunshine laws, and he, along with veteran WFRM radio news woman, Gerri Miller now of Black Forest Broadcasting, was instrumental in starting a campaign, by news people throughout the commonwealth, to get the Pennsylvania State Police to comply with the law regarding the release of information.

He was one of several, pushing for the new open records legislation in Harrisburg early on, and was a founding member of the PA Freedom of Information Coalition. He served on the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Government Affairs Committee, which lobbied heavily for the change, and helped draft and critique versions of bills leading up to the final open records law passage.

Don said, “ I really enjoy writing, and with the many duties of a Managing Editor, it’s hard to get the time to write.”

“At the Patriot-News, I will be doing investigative reporting. I’ll have assignments until I get my feet wet and learn the ropes of the new area, but then I will be on my own to ferret out the stories and get to the bottom of them.”

Don said, “I’ll be gone at the end of the month, but will be back and forth for a while as I get moved to the capitol. The owners of the Potter Leader Enterprise have advertised the editor’s job in trade journals. I’m hoping they pick someone with roots to the Potter County area that will want to make this their home.”

And while Don looks forward to being able to do the type of reporting that the new job entails, he ended his announcement with this, “Even though I may be living and working in the state capitol, I will always consider Potter County my home.”

48 comments :

Anonymous said...

Its about time he left!!! Maybe now he can actually do some reporting that matters rather then smear peoples names in the mud because he doesn't have anything else to write about....

Hopefully the paper can return to something that is actually thoughtful yet hard hitting then back in the old days....

don't let the door hit ya on the way out Don!

Anonymous said...

You'll be missed, Donald!

Finneus Dildine said...

I certainly hope that the Harriburg paper uses spellcheck before they print. They'll definitely need it!!

Anonymous said...

good luck don. god bless

Anonymous said...

one of the more intelligent reporters in our area, congrats Don G. best wishes on your new venture. Your intuitive and thorough reporting will be missed...

Anonymous said...

Jim:

Thank you for this article on Donald Gilliland. We have been fortunate to have had such a talented journalist here in Potter County.

Mike Fowler
Austin, PA

Anonymous said...

Great job over the years Donald!! Maybe we can get together sometime!! I'm a half hour away in Lancaster. Brad Jones

Anonymous said...

Thought you were in sunny Fla. Brad?

Anonymous said...

Patriot news rocks!

Anonymous said...

There were some achievements and accomplishments by the newspaper during his era but there were also many cases where he clearly was attempting to cause damage to individuals' reputations, whether deserved or not. He was sometimes guilty of a common flaw among journalists: speculating as to an individual's motivations and inserting what might be "facts" into a context that was his own creation. More often than not this context was deliberately crafted to be uncomplimentary toward the individual. One result was to discourage well-intentioned and skilled/qualified individuals from seeking public office or other high profile positions where they might be the next sitting duck in the shooting gallery to move into his crosshairs.

Anonymous said...

-Brad. I thought you were in Florida?????

Anonymous said...

Loyal Reader says:"Following in your footsteps won't be an easy task. You were always committed to making the Leader an informative publication and it showed. The reporting, the pictures, the added features have all provided readers with great reading. And if we spoke aloud in public using facts brought out in the paper, it was a sure thing "our ignorance wasn't showing" because we could trust your reporting.
You'll undoubtedly keep doing a fine job in your new position. It's our loss that it won't be for us."
Thanks Jim for getting the word out. Those of us who receive their Leader by mail often get it 1 or 2 weeks late, and then it would have been too late to say "Good-bye".

Anonymous said...

I agree with Finneus C. Dildine and hope that the Partriot news uses spellcheck...

Donald you will not be missed by me in the slightest....

Crazy Otis said...

Be well Don. When I could see clear enuff to read, I en--hic---joyed your material.

Be---hic---Well

Cra Cra Cra Crazy Otis

Anonymous said...

I encourage everyone to read the Endeavor News.....

its a much better paper anyway....

Anonymous said...

Later Donald DILDINE Gilliland....

Anonymous said...

Maybe I will buy the paper again.

Anonymous said...

pissed a few people off but that was your job.i loved the jeff leeber ara,at least we got rid of him..Good Luck!!!

Anonymous said...

cant please everybody

Deb said...

As evidenced by the disparity of the remarks left above, it is clear Donald has left his mark on Potter County. He is a brilliant writer and regardless of the toes that might have been stepped on, everything Donald did as the editor of the Enterprise was done with passion -- most of all, a passion for Potter County. Hunting, outdoors, yes, leeks... the Potter County Fair, -- all these were covered with great detail that I am afraid might not continue. That will be a shame. I am very glad to have worked with Donald and hope to stay in touch. I wish him all the best in H-burg...

Anonymous said...

I think it's worth noting that one of the posters who hopes the Harrisburg Patriot-News uses spell check can't spell Harrisburg and that neither of them can correctly spell Patriot-News. Perhaps you should take your own advice.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to read Endeavor News? That newspaper is full of news briefs, NOT in-depth stories as published by the Potter Leader-Enterprise. Quality beats quantity! I wish Donald well; you have the passion and the drive. Go get 'em!

Anonymous said...

I think the miss spelled words in the comments about using spellcheck was the point!!! This was something donald dildine gilleland never mastered!

Anonymous said...

Stop with the dumb dildine comments. Must be great to insult Donald with such nonsense. You should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

But Dildine is an absolute legend in POCO. Very different; i am afraid then the "legend" Donald "not dildine like" Gilliland is leaving....

Anonymous said...

I won't miss him. I think he was good only 20% of the time. I dropped my PLE subscription because of him. We'll see who they replace him with - it should get better. His hands may have been tied by his superiors - but generally, his reporting wasn't unbiased. Things seemed to get too personal most of the time. He was foolishly relentless at times - unmasking his motives oh so often. Glad he's leaving but wish him luck nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong, not a legend in POCO, try COUDY, try growing up and stop the Dildine crap it is getting very old!!!!! Kinda like a saying when you are in highschool, get over it and move on, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

Don't make me gag there 10:46 person. In-depth stories? He threw anything in there he could find just to take up space. The kicker was the entire page of Obama's Nobel Prize speech. Didn't you just flip the pages right on past about 95 percent of what was printed like I did?

ken said...

Don,

As you can see-Potter County hasn't changed since your arrival-still just a bunch of hillbillies mixed in with a bunch of flatlanders! You will do fine in Harrisburg-there are not near as many bigots and ignorant sum-bitches down there!

Ken

Anonymous said...

The people that comment on this site are flat out mean. I am really disappointed that many of these comments get posted.

Whether you agree with someone or not, you can always wish them the best of luck in the future as opposed to leaving hateful comments. Really, I thought Potter County was suppose to be a place thta cared about people. This site is not showing what we are capable of.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that has been going south is the Potter Leader Enterprise since Donald has taken over....

Anonymous said...

What the heck is this "dildine"?
I was at the girls basketball game in Coudy last night and with a couple of minutes left in the fourth quarter all of the students started chanting "dildine! dildine!" Our daughter played basketball at OV and I have a box score from the Leader from one of her games that says Dildines: Coudy 3, OV 2. Then I read here that a dildine is somebody who tasers his mother. This is confusing.

Anonymous said...

I thought Dildine was a type of gourmet potato chip.....

Anonymous said...

The ever popular use of the word "DILDINE" may very well be the most immature thing ever chanted, stated, posted, written or mentioned. It's not at all hard to imagine that the term and usage began there in the Potter County "bubble" - a place full of dipthongs that have nothing better to do with themselves but invent an imaginary word/person/friend. Get a life people!

Anonymous said...

"Dipthongs?"

Anonymous said...

I guess critizism of the hipocrites that read this blog or critizism of this blog owner is not allowed. I can't believe that you only post the above nonsense(1:46) and comments that rip other people down.

What a joke.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed many of Donald's articles over the years, but in the past few years the Leader-Enterprise has fallen to its knees. If it weren't for Kim Hoak's articles, I doubt I would even buy the paper anymore. Let's hope with new leadership the newspaper will once again the paper it should be. Right now there is more news in the Endeavor than the Leader Enterprise- week after week.

Anonymous said...

Is see the Leader plastered a pic of the fire on their front page!!!

Anonymous said...

Good By Donny About time !!!

Sharon Goss & Earl Dickerson said...

Don, I am glad Earl and I got to know you through our "lease land" and wish you the best in your future.
All the previous complaints about the Potter Leader I have seen before.....before you ever took the lead. So, whatever you had read here has been said before about your predecessors, too.
Good luck, Don.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Don! We wish you the best in Harrisburg. We grew up 40 miles north of Harrisburg and the Patriot News was always the paper to buy. Quite an accomplishment to land your new job. Thanks for all the great news reporting and we will miss your articles.

Anonymous said...

Donald, I will miss you personally as a friend and as a writer. You are one of the most talented and most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of have a real conversation with. I will miss you and good luck in your new adventure; I know you will do great.

Anonymous said...

When the Potter Leader Enterprise arrives I tell my husband "This is old news. I already read it on Solomon's Blog."

Good luck, Donald. I remember when Wanda Shirk said you were very bright. I'm sure she was right.

K

Anonymous said...

I came up to work on my wife's house and take care of business!! Don't worry, I'll b back in Florida soon!! As far as Donald is concerned; Class act and also always helped our local snowmobile club out with articles and access across his farm up Dingman Run! Thanks Donald! Good luck with the new venture! Always thought you gave 100%. But as my Dad knows, you can't please everyone! Brad

Anonymous said...

"But Dildine is an absolute legend in POCO."

Who said that? Dildine is probably the reason Potter County is NOT legendary. It is by far a less sophisticated and advanced county than any of the other ones. Perhaps Donald realized that. If the only news stories that get the citizens of Potter County on the edge of their seat are arrests, elections, and the Coudy Merc then yeah, as a County, Potter is WAY behind. GLAD I LEFT IT!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Knew you as Donny, and from the day you step foot on this earth it was known you were going some place. Your Mother Sarah did a fine job of raising you and I’m sure she is ever very proud of you. And yes you were very intelligent, but always kind to those that went to school with you. I wish you nothing but the best. The vision of you as a young lad on top of the hill will remain with me for years to come.

Anonymous said...

At least when Donald wrote about someone he used his name and didn't hide behind "Anonymous" like the cowardly bloggers insulting him here. What a bunch of lowlives.

Donald was an excellent editor and writer. There's a lot goes on behind the scenes in putting a paper together and he won awards for a reason.

Good luck Donald. You did a fine job and the paper and community are the worse for your leaving.

And thanks again for the potatoes.

D said...

life begins at 40