The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Sam Pollak

January 6, 2007

Daily Star owns up to mistakes

Sam Pollak

Newspaper editors _ as all who know us would surely attest _ are the most affable and delightful members of the human race.

But each day, we all have one interlude when our angelic faces are _ like Hamlet's _ sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.

This daily ordeal occurs precisely at the moment of our first glance at our own newspaper.

While our readers are eagerly and happily ingesting the news we present, the editor's noble heart aches as if beset with one of those thousand natural shocks that made Hamlet so moody.

That's because we always see things we should have done better. If we're fortunate, they're mere newspaper style offenses unlikely to cause outraged mobs with pitchforks and torches to storm the newspaper office gates.

Then, of course, there are those huge, sickening mistakes that make us wish we had gone into another line of work. Commit enough of them, of course, and we will be in another line of work.

I can't speak for all editors, of course, but I doubt you would find any who would claim to have put out even one perfect newspaper.

I certainly haven't, and that's with being blessed with co-workers whose talent is only surpassed by their dedication.

There's this wonderful anecdote about Gene Roberts, who was regarded by many journalists as the premier editor in the country when he headed up the Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1970s and '80s.

The story, told by James M. Naughton and related in a column a few years ago by his Poynter Institute colleague Bob Andelman, concerned Roberts and a fellow who was about to retire from the Inquirer.

Sometimes, when people retire, they're given a plaque or silver tray with some vague platitudes on it to show them how much they will be missed.

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Sam Pollak

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