Letter: Responsibility for What’s Published
To the Editor:
I agree with the recent letter complaining about the Valley News running obituaries with spelling and other errors. Those mistakes show that the obit submitters are not polished writers. It is lazy journalism to allow obvious errors such as “in Lou of” to appear in print. Newspapers are responsible, and liable, for all content. Errors reflect on the publication, regardless of its policy statements.
This brings me to the smug Dec. 8 letter criticizing a Valley News reporter by name for the use of incorrect Spanish expressions, a minor part of the story. Editors have the final responsibility for what appears in print – including incorrect words (bizarre and bazaar), missing words, cut and paste gone awry and headlines. Fewer errors would be printed if someone were copy editing.
At my first newspaper job, the city editor stood behind his reporters. He took the flak about stories. I did the same as a weekly newspaper editor. Now, as a publisher of many book reviews, I welcome authors’ complaint letters; however, I replace the reviewers’ names with “the reviewer,” because the author’s criticism isn’t a personal matter — it’s disagreement with an opinion that I published.
As long as I’m airing my gripes, I think letters that ask questions of the Valley News and others should be answered with an accompanying editor’s note and not be ignored.
And some praise — your website is good, and it’s nice that it now includes obituaries.