Magazine article The Quill

Paper Misses an Opportunity

Magazine article The Quill

Paper Misses an Opportunity

Article excerpt

Quill's In-Brief item (May issue) on the Washington News Council's determination in its first public hearing devoted the longest of its six grafs to The (Olympia, Wash.) Olympian's animosity toward being held accountable for an allegedly unfair editorial, but devoted no space to reporting that contrary to the item's implication - the News Council did not consider The Olympian's published opinion.

At issue was the paper's alleged inaccuracy in describing the behavior of a candidate for city council. The candidate, who complained to the News Council, said he fully accepted The Olympian's right to endorse his opponent. The Olympian refused to take part in a public discussion of his complaint, even though its owner, Gannett, has published an ethics code that holds editorials and columns to the same standard of accuracy as news stories.

The Council sided with the complainant. Unfortunately, most coverage of that hearing has allowed the Olympian - and others in the news business - to sustain the fiction that the News Council cares what a newspaper's editorial opinion is. …

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