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December 25, 2014


Your excellent post prompted me to dredge up a recent exchange I had with the good Mr. Hughes:

Subject: Do You Have Any Pride In Your Work?

Page 8a, "2 Treated for Gunshot Wounds:"

No where and no when:  "deputies were called to the restaurant."   What restaurant?  When?

"Death of man in Parking lot shocks family."  Today is the 22nd of August and this happened  August 6th.

Page 9a, "Prosecutor: Gunman camped out:"

When did this happen.  It is like I'm reading something that might be a continuation from a previous page.

On the editorial page, Debra Saunders refers to Gore's role as an "anti-golobal-warming activist."  Anti-global-warming?

. . . And all I have read is three pages.

To which Mr. Hughes responded:


You apparently have a lot of pride in assuming you know better than others. I hope to avoid that condition.

We are imperfect. We bust our butts working long hours every day. We make mistakes, and we own up to them. For example, we didn't learn about the Roth's parking death until this week. Do we criticize the police for not informing us, as they normally do? Do we criticize Roth's for not publicly announcing it, although who would expect them to? Or ...

If we left out the name of a restaurant, we should have caught that. We also should have caught the misspelling of global.

I gratefully respond to, and appreciate, readers who point out errors that need correcting. I have no time for anyone who travels through life complaining about everyone else.

Pride goeth before the fall.

His closing sentence tipped me over the edge, and I responded:

No, Mr. Hughes; far from it.  I am filled with doubt and I probably go out of my way to weigh the nuances of what is being said in order to understand.

Pride I have in work well done.  In a way typical of your style, you twist that word into vanity, which you seek to attribute to me.  Perhaps I need to apologize; my rant was the journalistic equivalent of a primal scream.

I am a subscriber, but I have mistakenly assumed that my subscription entitles me to expectations of journalism with that subscription.  I have, I guess, misdirected the frustration I have with your failure to take editorial stands that may conflict with the influence those with deeper pockets have upon your paper.  I am frustrated when three authors of an article backed up by the assumption that there existed editorial oversight of the processes of journalism could so miss what Rudyard Kipling eloquently described as the components of journalism:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

I have been trained to pay close attention to nuance, to what is said, how it is said, and why it is said in order to fathom what is really being said (or not said); a good example being how you conveniently conflate criticism with complaining and direct it back at me.  Criticism is valid; cheap shots are not, no matter how cleverly disguised.

Dick Hughes doesn't care about journalistic accuracy. And he isn't open to being criticized or having errors pointed out to him. This is a fact.

I documented Hughes' professional failings in a blog post, "Salem Statesman Journal hit with journalistic ethics complaints."


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