Words matter: Rushed journalism is never good | SummitDaily.com

Words matter: Rushed journalism is never good

Rushed journalism never produces good results, and I had to experience that lesson the hard way a few weeks ago. 

As I rode in the passenger seat across the country back to my home state of Indiana for a wedding, I was distracted as I worked from my mobile hotspot and didn’t follow my typical protocol: read everything three times, double check the big things and then read it all again. 

As I drove the night shift from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. after putting the paper to bed earlier that night, I didn’t realize I had quickly written a headline that went beyond the opinions shared by Debra Irvine, something I’ve feared since I started my path down my journalism career more than a decade ago. 

Nightmares are made of situations like this because with the amount of content that comes across my desk, it’s hard to be perfect. Luckily, Debra understood the situation and insisted we both write about it to set the record straight and allow her to share the opinions she hoped to express when she submitted her letter to the editor weeks ago. 

Her point is important. Too often, journalists allow their opinions to affect the work they produce, allowing their bias to permeate into their news coverage, either intentionally or unintentionally. This instance not an example of that, but it does reflect one of Irvine’s other points: words matter. The words I hastily chose to form her letter’s headline did not stay true to her opinion. My lapse in judgment while handling Debra’s letter deserves an apology, not only to her but to the community at large. 

I promise to be transparent with mistakes made in our paper. We are all human and make errors, but we must learn from them and not hide from doing what we can to rectify the situation.

Andrew Maciejewski is the editor of Summit Daily News. He can be reached at editor@summitdaily.com.

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