My favorite thing ever is when we happen to make a mistake and people assume it’s on purpose. Not to spoil the illusion or anything, but in case you didn’t know the paper, yep the one you are reading right now, is made by humans. I hate to break it to you, but humans make mistakes.
To give a peak behind the curtain, there are two fulltime reporters that work in editorial. We also have an editor, a design person who contributes some stories, and one sports guy. That is a total of five people who have to always know what is going on. That is impossible. Of course we aren’t going to know what is always going on.
Governor Bill Lee came to town and absolutely no one informed us and people got mad when we didn’t cover it. If we had known, we would have been there. We aren’t the mind readers people think we are. We don’t live on Facebook and see every event coming up. If we aren’t told or don’t happen upon something, we don’t know about it and it won’t be covered. Yes, I try to make every effort possible to know what is happening and try to cover things, but I will miss some things every now and then.
I absolutely hate making mistakes in my stories. To my knowledge I usually only mess up names, which absolutely sucks because I hate when people get my name wrong. Recently I covered the downtown trick-or-treat and accidentally misidentified Hendrix King. When I was told, I felt horrible and am really sorry that happened. That is one downside of being human: mistakes. I didn’t get yelled at for it, I received a nice email letting me know I got it wrong.
Since I hate making mistakes so much it is wild to me that people think we just do things on purpose. Some of us are doing new things and are doing the best we can. Government is a hard beat to jump into if you’ve never done it before. The person covering city government is new to it and a slight mistake happened, but I don’t think it’s enough to discredit the whole paper. When mistakes like that happen, corrections will be issued. Why would we print something that is knowingly false?
Another thing I don’t care for is when people go straight to Facebook about us. I’ve seen the five people working in editorial referred to as “swamp creatures” and things of that nature. Facebook posts don’t really bother me because I think if you have something to say you have our number, but it does get old seeing the same old things being said. By the way, slander is spoken and libel is written.
Bottom line is, we are trying. This isn’t an excuse for mistakes, but no one intentionally puts something inaccurate in the paper for giggles. We would be crazy to be doing that on purpose. It’s also important to remember we are people who are definitely not perfect. Mistakes are going to happen and we will correct them.
Southern Standard reporter Bethany Porter can be reached at (931) 473-2191.