Fear not, loyal readers. I need to take this opportunity to assure you that spellcheck systems and proofreading practices remain in place at the office. Just thought I’d offer the reminder in light of some recent concerns brought to my attention about a headline in last week’s edition.
Apparently, our intentional play on words missed the mark, and I’m a big enough person to stand up and say, “We messed up.” The headline read, “PANTHERS RAIN SUPREME.” It was hard to miss; we put it in big, bold block letters.
Despite some suggestions to the contrary, I do know the definition of rain. I also know the definition of reign.
The confusion came as a product of common sports vernacular and my assumption that all readers would be able to make the connection. As the subhead states, Park Hill South made a large quantity of 3-pointers to win a Class 5 state quarterfinal game. The hope was to play off the idea that they “rained in outside shots,” allowing them to reign over that particular quadrant of the state competition.
Well, it’s only clever if the audience receives the message. I know from experience that a few complaints — in this case, three — usually indicates a larger disconnect, so by the time I received the most recent questioning of our intelligence, I knew I had made a mistake.
We make every effort to connect with readers in all parts of this county. Been a big goal of mine since I started here.
Part of that emphasis involves us being creative and trying to appeal to areas where paper sales for us have been historically low. I’d much rather fail trying hard to be relevant rather than settle for boring and unappealing.
When I worked in the daily newspaper business, I would remind my staff after a crucial mistake, “Hey, we make 364 more of these in the next year. We just have to try to do better tomorrow.”
My margin for error decreased in the weekly game.
I only have 51 more issues in the next year, but I can promise you that lessons have been taken from this misfire and will be applied in the future. We tried to do better this week.
I’ll admit, the criticisms hurt.
I’m just like anyone. I don’t like to have my intelligence insulted, nor do I want our readership to assume we aren’t trying over here.
Because we are and will continue to do so.
There are literally thousands of words in each issue of The Citizen. We will screw up. Hopefully, we can limit those and not make them in large type. I can assure you last week wasn’t one of those mistakes, just a poorly executed attempt at word play.
Speaking of basketball coverage, we have more this week.
I hope the Park Hill South fans didn’t give up on us for the rain/reign fiasco. We have two in-depth stories that really take a look at not just what happened in the two Show-Me Showdown games this past weekend but what the season meant as a whole for the Panthers and first-year coach Dan Parra.
What a ride it was to be a part of.
We really are enjoying the chance to connect with our southern neighbors and trying to make them feel like a part of the area our newspaper serves. I know there’s been some progress made, too, thanks to nice Twitter compliments from Park Hill South players Ryan Welty and Jacob Kline.
Means a lot to have hard work acknowledged.
Hopefully, you’ve also noticed our election previews, starting last week and continuing in this edition and into next week.
We tried to break up the clutter and offer a few stories a week, rather than overload one issue. Most of the stories focus on contested races, as well as the big tax levy issue for Platte County R-3. We feel like this is the best coverage you will see of the candidates and issues out there.
The big tax levy stories will be coming next week, but the letters to the editor on page A2 are again packed with opinions to tide you over. I urge R-3 voters to stay informed and make their opinion heard, one way or the other on April 7.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.