November 5, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Letter to the Editor: Reporters committed crime of omission by Douglas Appler

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: October 26, 2003: Dayton Daily News reports on Peace Corps Safety and Security: Speaking Out: Letters to the Editor and Guest Commentary: November 5, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Letter to the Editor: Reporters committed crime of omission by Douglas Appler

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 9:30 am: Edit Post

Reporters committed crime of omission by Douglas Appler

Reporters committed crime of omission by Douglas Appler

Reporters committed crime of omission

Letter to the Editor

I suspect that the mixed emotions I feel regarding the Dayton Daily News’ series about the Peace Corps are shared by many other returned volunteers.

The stories shed much needed light on some of the Peace Corps' administrative policies, which are in need of reform, but DDN reporters committed a crime of omission by not exploring the reasons for many of those policies. Before the Peace Corps policies can be changed, the situations that created them must change first.

The articles made no mention of any budgetary information. As the number of volunteers increases, has there been a corresponding budget increase? Particularly in light of the president's call to double the size of the Peace Corps by 2010, this information is vital to creating any kind of accurate picture of the Peace Corps' current and, likely, future problems.

Another policy which went unexplored by DDN reporters was the restriction placed on many Peace Corps administrators that limits them to five years of service in the organization. When administrators are forced out, their knowledge of the country and its problems goes with them.

I agree with the DDN’s conclusions about the need for greater openness and accuracy in counting the number of rapes, robberies, and other incidents against individual volunteers. This is important information for people to learn before they join the Peace Corps. It is essential that applicants to the Peace Corps do not see it as a study abroad program, or as a two-year vacation.

The articles were remarkable in the degree to which they downplayed the role of personal responsibility for one's own safety. During my service, I made a point of getting to know my neighbors so that I became a member of the community, and not just an oddity for them to stare at, or steal from. Volunteers who don't make that effort place themselves at greater risk.

Speaking to the issue of medical safety, the DDN article provided no hard statistics on the number of illnesses contracted by volunteers, and cured by Peace Corps staff. Those numbers would have done much more to accurately portray the state of medical care for volunteers than a pair of sensationalistic articles regarding lost sight and malaria. Although I agree that there are many problems with the Peace Corps administration, the medical officers were, in my experience, above reproach.

Douglas Appler

Decatur, Ga.

[From the Dayton Daily News: 11.04.2003]

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Dayton Daily News: Letter to the Editor

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Investigative Journalism



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.