November 13, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if I left the rest of this column blank? Iím sure PETA, liberals and what other folks that I have upset with my comments in the past, would be happy. But Iím not going on strike, and I have actually made a concerted effort to get this editorial written each week. Instead, Iím referring to a little goof we made in last weekís paper.

First Iím going to offer a little explanation, excuses and the works, then Iím going to vent a little before closing it out on a positive note.

Most of you who looked at the paper last week already know what Iím talking about. If you turned to Page 7 it was rather hard to miss. Right there in the middle of the page was a great big white streak. It wasnít a printing error - there simply was a hole there where the remainder of the school board story was supposed to be. The news item had been continued from Page 1. In the old days, this never would have happened as we did all of this by hand. But with modern technology, we now do all of the page layouts on the computer. Unfortunately when I readjusted the picture on the front page, located right below the school board story, it affected the text wrap on the story. Too technical? Basically what it means is, that the continued part of the story was on Page 7 but when I corrected the picture on Page 1, it altered the automatic text flow and so the rest of the story was basically lost in outer space.

My apologies for the mistake. It is corrected in this edition. They say we learn from mistakes, and I certainly learned a lot. Iím convinced there are lots of folks out there that simply purchase the newspaper in hopes they can find a mistake or something wrong so they can call us and complain. Okay, so I may be a little sensitive on the issue, and Iím working on a lack of sleep that may be making me a bit cranky. Still I donít understand why 96 people have to call me minutes after the paperís out to ďlet me knowĒ about the mistake. Trust me folks, we saw the mistake right off the bat. Unfortunately there is little we can do to correct the problem until the next weekís paper. And not one person who called about the mistake, asked what was in the continued part of the story that was missing. No one wanted me to read the rest of the story to them or fax them a full copy of the school board story. It didnít matter that the news was missing, they just wanted me to know that they had caught my mistake.

Like I said, Iím venting, overreacting and the whole works. But itís not all a total waste. It did give me a sales tool for pursuing future advertising. When I make my sales calls this week, Iíll have a copy of the famous mistake with me. Iíll recommend to all my advertisers that they incorporate white space in their ads, because everyone that gets the paper saw my mistake. So if you want everyone to read your ad and call you, build a great big box with nothing in it, or maybe with some intentionally misspelled words or grammar mistakes. I guarantee the readers will call. Of course Iíll have to include a disclaimer stating these mistakes were not made by the newspaper otherwise theyíd be calling me to rub it in my face.

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