Newspapers *always* seem unfair

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Newspapers are unfair when: They refuse to admit errors.

Haiman 13

If I had to choose, I'd definitely say that newspapers seem more unfair when they refuse to admit their errors than when they include those errors in their paper. When I was in high school, we ran a story about the homecoming queen--and we spelled her name wrong. On the front page. And all through the story. I was the copy editor, so I got all the flack for spelling the girl's name wrong. For the record, her name was "Alissa" and we spelled it "Alyssa." But the point is, we made the error, and we took the fall. I don't think we had a correction in the next issue, but I know a lot of our staff went up to Alissa and apologized for our error. And, we made sure her name was spelled correctly on the homecoming page of the yearbook--which was also my page. 

As a copy editor, I learned the hard way of what can happen if you mess up. Kids are mean, and any time someone found something wrong with the paper, they'd march up to me and tell me, because they knew I worked on the paper. I don't think anyone outside of our Journalism room realized that I was the one who was supposed to catch all the errors, but I knew, and that's all that really mattered. We all knew we'd be kidding ourselves if we thought we could have a completely error-free paper, but we did our best.

The public just doesn't understand how much work goes into producing a paper. Our school paper came out about as often as the Setonian, and I spent every class period and activity period reading the same stories over and over again. After a certain point, the words just seem to run together.

I'm not sure I agree with the statement "Newspapers are unfair." It's not that they're unfair, they're just misinformed? The bottom line is there will never be a completely error-free issue, and there will never be a public who has nothing to criticize about. It's a vicious cycle.

2 Comments

Andrew Wichrowski said:

One thing I thought of while reading, if newspapers consistently corrected all of their errors, people would be less offended by typos. I think you are right in that people don't fully fathom the amount of work that goes into a newspaper. If the paper always had a small, but comprehensive, section devoted to corrections (instead of ignoring their typos and inaccurate information), people would become more accustomed to the errors and wouldn't be as offended when a Newspaper spells someone's name wrong.

Jessie Author Profile Page said:

Good point, Andrew. I just find it so frustrating that people criticize journalists and newspapers so much when there's an error. It's like we're supposed to be godly or something--we can't make a single mistake without being attacked about it. But, owning up to those mistakes is what's really important. Once you admit the mistake, the public should ease up at least a little bit, because, like Michelle said on her blog, honesty really is the best policy.

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