Friday, February 20, 2015

Doing It Right

When I advised the Sandpoint High School newspaper back in the 1990s, we had a sign in the Cedar Post layout room tacked to the board above one of the work tables. 

I think it might have been a part of that work area for several years.


That emphatic phrase served as a constant reminder to uphold all aspects of key elements of journalism: accuracy and professionalism. 

Whenever things weren't going right with our high-school paper production, I would remind my students of the sign's message. 

It's a pretty easy guideline to follow, maybe not always so easy to fulfill.  

Nonetheless, if we're striving toward "doing it right" through most of what we do during our day, we probably complete our projects with a pretty high percentage of perfection.

This morning I'm thinking that sign needs to be copied off and distributed to the staff at the Spokesman-Review newspaper---the paper that did not show up in my box for the second time in the past few weeks. 

It's also the paper I have regarded and would like to continue to regard as the premier paper in our region.  I'm complaining but hating to sound like a nitpicker because I know how hard the folks in journalism work.  

Still, journalistic pursuits do require somewhat of a nitpicking attitude.

After all, the public expects accuracy and a high level of professionalism from a long established icon like the Spokesman. 

I did not receive a paper this morning, so I called the 800 number for the Spokesman-Review. Last time I called about not receiving a paper, I talked to a human being.

This time a menu with a male voice---alerting me that the menu had changed---directed me through a litany of instructions, which included pressing "1" at least half a dozen times 

I also listened to the revelation that my delivery problem could not be rectified and a further revelation that I could press "1" to be credited.  Finally, I was instructed to hang up to end the call. 

I later told Bill that in all the years that we've subscribed to the Spokesman I've never seen any sign of a "credit." My bill is always the same or maybe even more whenever a new increase in subscription price takes effect.

I would like to know how I will ever collect on my credits.  Will I have to cancel my subscription?  I just don't know that answer.

It does remind me, however, of a time several years ago when I signed on to pick strawberries at a neighbor's patch.  

After picking thousands of big beautiful berries for several hours, I mustered up the nerve to ask about my pay per hour.

I was told that my pay was coming in more strawberries, which I would need to pick on my off-hours.  

Dumb as I am, something definitely seemed really wrong with that picture, so I inquired further to another member of the administrative operation who chuckled and then assured me that he would pay me actual money for my work. 

In the newspaper's case, do I have to work extra hours or live a few days after my death without reading my paper to get my credit for papers not delivered.

Moving on from the absence of this morning's paper, I must note the information posted in yesterday's paper about how we could watch the ZAGS game last night.  

I checked the Spokesman sports section above the wonderful article about Gary Bell, and the paper said we could watch the game on KHQ (Channel 6) at 8 p.m. 

So, while posting my usual ZAGS game teasers on Facebook, and for my friend Kathy who always wants to know where and when she can watch, I included the time and the channel. 

Later, someone lamented that they don't get cable and that the game would NOT be on Channel 6.  Doubting the accuracy of her posting, I went back to check the Spokesman.  It still read KHQ at 8 p.m.  

So, I posted that information again.  Silly me.  

She noted in another comment that KHQ, during its evening news, had announced that the game would not be broadcast on their channel but instead on ROOT, Cable Channel 687. 

Hmmm.  This may not seem like a big deal.  Well, actually, it IS a big deal for the ZAGS faithful, but this is also one of the many times I've looked at the paper for similar information and have sometimes even found two different versions in the same paper on how we can watch the game. 

To anyone other than ZAGS fans, these mistakes might seem trivial.  

To me, it's not because of the high regard I have always held for the Spokesman, where mistakes used to be a rarity. 

Bill agreed with me this morning that he has been seeing mistakes much more frequently in the Spokesman than in past years.  

It all adds up, and when you've had a 24-hour period like I've experienced with what used to be called "GOOD PAPER," you start thinking that the "DO IT RIGHT" sign needs to come out as a reminder to uphold the paper's historically stellar reputation. 

DOING IT RIGHT does involve extra care, and we are humans who are very capable of mistakes. 

Nonetheless, in established professional organizations like the Spokesman or NBC Nightly news, checks and balances should be in place to see that those mistakes or errors in judgment or whatever we want to call them do not appear in the final product. 

On a lighter note, it was a "DO IT RIGHT" day for three sets of Bulldogs yesterday. 

Congratulations, SHS Lady Bulldogs, Gonzaga Men's Bulldogs and Gonzaga Lady Bulldogs on their wins!

A great day for local basketball, and I sure would like to have read about these games in the Spokesman!

Finally, Willie texted me last night and said today's semi-final game of Sandpoint vs. Century is at 8 p.m. MST.  

We did discover that watching yesterday's game on streaming video was pretty nice.  

If you want to watch tonigt, go to, click on "GameStreams" in the top menu offering, and the game will magically appear in the center box just before tip-off. 

Happy Friday.  Now, I'm hoping that Helen or Cherry will check for any mistakes in today's posting, and, if there are, I'll make them right. 


Anonymous said...

I think you did it right! H

Anonymous said...

"I'm complaining but hating to sound like nitpicker because I know how hard the folks in journalism work"

MLove said...

Thank you. Corrected!