The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Columns

March 3, 2013

Vos: Newspaper’s mistakes not so funny

At least 50 callers by 8:30 Wednesday morning didn’t think it was very funny that the comics page was missing from the day’s Free Press.

From the mom who said her 10-year-old son would have comic withdrawals without his daily dose to the really irritated woman who said that it was “Just STUPID” that we didn’t publish the page, it was clear the comics/puzzle page starts a lot of people’s day.

The puzzling thing about The Free Press’ mistake is that some people called with the attitude that we pulled the page on purpose. Times may be tough in the newspaper world, but killing comics is not on the cost-cutting table yet. Too much like sentencing ourselves to death. We promptly posted the comics on our website and made room in Thursday’s paper for two comics pages.

It was also obvious that some people knew we just messed up but wanted to rub our noses in it. One caller thought it was  “soooooo funny” that we’d forgotten the comics.

I don’t mean to be defensive here. But when we make mistakes, like everyone does in every occupation, it’s on 20,000 copies of newsprint. That’s just the way it is. We apologize, square our shoulders, and try to do better tomorrow. At least we don’t send people home with scars from an attempt to take out a kidney stone that was in the other kidney. (True story for one of my nephews.)

As other editors tried to track down why the comics page ball was dropped and who dropped it, I was relieved that I don’t have anything to do with the comics page. I already have my fill of other newspaper mess-ups that I either personally made or as an editor didn’t catch when I should have.

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