Embry-Riddle’s Board is a Disappointment
Matt Collier

Was this drivel written by a bunch of spoiled brats relying on the Daytona Beach News-Journal as its single-source hatchet job on Mori Hosseini, entrepreneur extroardinaire?

It has led to the following published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal: Headlined, “Interim ERAU president jumps into new role as university battles alumni criticism,” link: http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20160418/NEWS/160419456/101040?Title=Interim-ERAU-president-jumps-into-new-role-as-university-battles-alumni-criticism.

And what of giving Hosseini a chance to defend himself from scurrilous allegations aside from the convenient: “Hosseini was unavailable Monday. A school spokesman said the deals were good business for both sides.”

What attempts were made to contact Hosseini on Monday: Phone, social media, knock on the door at his place of business? How about today? Tomorrow?

Your so-called “open letter” ending is nothing more than a sophomoric cliche: “These are noble causes. This is a proud university. As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we hope that students and alumni will demand more from the board so Embry-Riddle can soar to its full potential.”

Soar to its fullest potential? What’s the beef for real? What PR hack came up with this?

It’s as pathetic and hollow as your intro: The Embry-Riddle board of trustees is a disappointment. Indeed, there are good people with good intentions on the board, but there is mounting concern that the board as a body is unhealthy. Together, let’s fix it. Sign the petition now.

Let’s fix it? There are 15 of you, some going back a decade or more as student government big shots. Where were any of you then? And I’m curious: How many of you are actually pilots now?

And let’s be real: Wings & Waves never lived up to the exaggeratyed crowd attendance hype in what has been the local news monopoly of the handsomely-compensated Daytona Beach News-Journal by public and private insiders.

And in the way of full disclosure: I was a reporter for the News-Journal for nearly a decade and its top award-winning writer. I know the turf better than most: Eight years ago, I made the transition to online reporting and I haven’t looked back: Certainly more award stories in the past five years than anyone the DBNJ can throw out there.

And for real onto the more substantive issue: Have any of you inquired of John P. Johnson, the president, who suddenly resigned without a real explanation? Where was the DBNJ then?

You write and I quote: “The university lacked a functioning fundraising team during the last several years of Dr. John Johnson’s tenure. Thus, it has been and will be rudderless for far too long.”

Well, the main part of your question is already answered. The Gatehouse-owned DBNJ “doesn’t have the balls” to call out Hosseini in its stories so he can defend himself. Instead, yet another convoluted half-baked story is published with a link to the real juicy meat on the bone. Except that it’s BS whining.

If private, prestigious ERAU is to compete for the long haul, Hosseini and company had better be doing their due diligence and searching nationwide, perhsaps globally, for a president here who can get the job done. That seems logical and sensible, don’t y’all think?

As an old-school shoe-leather reporter hitting the pavement in greater Daytona Beach for the past 20 years, I’ve gotten to know Morteza “Mori” Hosseini. And yes, I’ve had differences with him, but nothing along the magnitude of these allegations. And certainly there has never been a “quid pro quo” like the rapidly declining Daytona Beach News-Journal and its current management apparently has enjoyed thanks to the long tentacles of taxpayer-supported hospitals, tourism districts and weak-minded politicians and business insiders.

Perhaps maybe Hosseini isn’t as generous in doling out advertising bucks because he’s seeing a decreasing return on the investment with a PR newspaper that gets vicious when the revenue line turns from a lighter shade of green to bright red.

All one has to do is check out the headlines for Bethune-Cookman University to see how the print newspaper with its chamber connections & glad handing has often turned ugly in its stories and editorials, especially in the past year.

Give me the person who authored this diatribe and I’ll write the definitive story: I promise you’ll get a fair shake. I truly don’t see anything of substance here. Certainly not in the way of fiscal deficits or rapidly-declining enrollments.

So Matt Collier and fellow ERAU grads, you’ve been issued a challenge by a brash reporter whose journalism speaks for itself: Put up or shut up…

Henry Frederick, publisher, Headline Surfer®

Headline Surfer® is the award-winning internet newspaper covering the greater Daytona Beach-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com, 386–689–2830, henryfrederickonline@gmail.com…