Thursday, September 13, 2007


In my Umass journalism class twenty-five years ago (taught by a Springfield Union News reporter) I was taught that editors “never apologize and never explain.” Her other favorite saying was “Don’t mess with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

In today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette, editor in chief Jim Foudy, in a rare appearance in ink, came as close to an apology as a veteran editor ever comes for their idiotic placement of the 9/11-conspiracy story that dominated the Front Page on the anniversary of that awful Tuesday morning.

And based on the volume of flack they so deservedly received, it’s clear that their other story that day about the significance of 9/11 fading in folks memory also missed the mark.

The Gazette should simply have run this comic strip to apologize:


Tommy said...

I'm not surprised that it was a Springfield Newspaper reporter who made those arrogant remarks. Fortunately the internet is wiping the grin off their faces, and none too soon.

LarryK4 said...

Actually she explained her first credo (didn’t have to explain the second). Seems the paper covered a fatal accident where a carload of drunken teenagers crashed. The paper identified one of the young survivors as being the driver (which she may or may not have been). The distraught father called and berated an editor, claiming she was only a passenger, and the editor printing an apology the next day…that was subsequently used as evidence against the paper in an expensive lawsuit they lost.

Tommy said...

Actually they were wrong either way. If they had a good reason to believe the person was the driver then there was no need to apologize, they should have stuck by their story and explained to the parent the reasons why. If they just guessed who the driver was then they were indeed irresponsible and deserved to be sued. But to say "We never explain ourselves because we fear lawsuits" is a cop-out. To tell journalism students that is standard policy is a crime. Fortunately, now the readers own the presses (the internet) and we can tell the editors to go to hell.

LarryK4 said...

Well, she wasn’t an editor (although married to one)…just a regular beat reporter, like Mary Carey--who I believe is now teaching the very same class at Umass; so I’m not sure she actually believed in the “never apologize, never explain” theory or not. I think it was more of an expression of frustration that all writers seem to have with editors.

She was the first print reporter who brought tears to my eyes. She covered the funeral of Alain Beauregard and Michael Schiavina, two Springfield police officers gunned down in the line of duty on November 12’th, 1985 and penned a Front Page article (WAY above the fold.)

Something in her lead about red roses…(unfortunately the Union News archives on the web only go back to 1988.)