This is not an exit

On a side note: Hey, we’re learning here

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

People make mistakes.

It’s a fact of life. Otherwise, how else do you learn?

I can’t tell you how many times I ended up with “fish” as the answer when I first tried my hand at the quadratic formula or how long it took me to learn how to make the best barbecue chicken sandwich this side of the Cascades.

If you’ve never failed, you never really tried.

And that’s what makes The Torch such a valuable resource for both its readers and writers. It’s a place for people to try their hand at journalism.

The same applies for other organizations on campus. Student government is learning how to organize and conduct public meetings. The Student Production Association crafts shows so its members may learn the ropes of the entertainment business.

We’re all criticized from all sides. Not everyone will agree with ASLCC’s decisions, not everyone will attend every production S.P.A. puts on and there are very few people who read The Torch front to back every week.

I know there are a handful of folks who peruse the paper each Thursday. We hear from them pretty consistently.

Yes, some readers point out errors in our copy.

Sometimes mistakes make it past us, as I’m sure they happen on your math homework from time to time. (After all, that quadratic formula’s a killer.)

But we know the words “dowtown” and “anually” don’t exist. And I won’t lie — we might have one or two flawless issues all year. It’s par for the course when you’re on deadline. Even professionals know that mistakes in a newspaper are inevitable.

Show me a perfect issue of The Oregonian. I’m sure Peter Bhatia, the paper’s editor, would be just as interested to see it.

A few of our critics also point out news we may have missed over the week. These are the folks I’d like to thank for harvesting story ideas for us.

We welcome feedback, not matter what part of the paper it references. The only thing I ask is that the criticism be constructive.

Andy Rossback, our managing editor, recently received a voicemail wherein the caller said the editorial in last week’s issue was one of his worst and topped it off with:

“And you’ve written some bad ones, sir.”

The caller then asked Andy to “take a look at yourself and go: what can I do better as a writer?”

The caller, who will remain anonymous in the spirit of this column, also mentioned that the paper itself contained misquotes, grammatical errors and other issues with punctuation.

Not helpful. No examples of improper grammar or spelling. Not one bit of advice on how to improve, sans an offer to discuss the matter further.

Don’t just tell us we don’t know what we’re doing. Offer advice. Give us an idea of what you believe we’re missing.

Better yet, come to a staff meeting. Take an assignment. After all, that’s why The Torch is here.

I’m not saying I’ll agree with you or that we’ll take every suggestion to heart and revamp the paper to quell every bit of criticism that comes our way.

So here’s your response, He Who Shall Not Be Named — don’t worry, it wasn’t Voldemort — I hope you see what the paper, and other student organizations on campus, for that matter, bring to the table.

And, please, next time practice a bit more courtesy the next time you want to chastise our staff.

This column was originally published in The Torch newspaper Feb. 16, 2011.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eder Campuzano, Eder Campuzano. Eder Campuzano said: This week’s column: We love criticism, but not when it does nothing to help us grow. #journalism […]

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