Thursday, January 11, 2018

A mistake, an apology & a correction

I do a lot of things here at the newspaper every day.

Unfortunately, I often try to do them all at the same time.

That's never a good idea.

And almost always brings with it some fairly disastrous results.

One of the tasks I perform here each day is to write our editorial. It is the one item I write that does not specifically have my name on it. The editorials are not bylined. They are supposed to represent the position of the newspaper. But the truth is I write most of them.

I like to write positions that reflect what is happening here in Delaware County, the more local the better. That includes regional and state issues, and yes, I have been known to weigh in on a national issue from time to time.

But people buy this newspaper for local news. And they expect us to be attuned to what is going on their neighborhoods.

Often we use the editorial page to honor a deserving local subject.

That was my objective last Monday when I sat down to write the editorial saluting the legacy of community service left by Lt. Matt LeTourneau.

If you do not know by now, he was the Philadelphia fireman killed in action while battling a row house blaze last weekend. He was trapped in debris during a structural collapse inside the burning home.

It was our lead story both Sunday and Monday.

But LeTourneau was much more than that. He was a Springfield native who still lived there. And he was a longtime member of the Springfield Fire Co. He was hailed by everyone who knew him as an expert trainer who molded many future firefighters. I certainly wanted to convey the sense of loss involved in his tragic death.

And that's what I did on Tuesday's editorial page.

All except for one thing.

In my haste I managed to misspell his name. Actually, I got it right the first time, then repeated it several times after that without the r.

That should not happen. There is no excuse for it. I take the blame. I could say it was a spell-check malfunction or some other technology glitch and none of it would change the outcome, I made a crucial mistake.

I offer my deepest apology to his family and friends.

I didn't even realize it until it was pointed out to me by a reader Wednesday afternoon. He noted something that often happens with newspaper clippings. He said he could only imagine the reaction of the family who might want to frame this salute only to find out their loved one's name had been misspelled.

He was right.

That is something I am always harping on.

Social media and so much of the online world is fleeting.

Print is forever.

That is why I am doing something I don't think I have ever done before as editor of this newspaper.

I am going to re-run that editorial tomorrow - with Matt LeTourneau's name spelled correctly.

Fittingly, it will appear on the day LeTourneau is honored by his family, friends and fellow firefighters, with a second viewing at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, followed by a funeral Mass and burial at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Marple.

It will not erase the error. But it will offer our fitting final salute to Lt. Matt LeTourneau.

1 Comments:

Blogger Craig K. said...

Bravo!

January 11, 2018 at 8:29 AM 

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