We’ll never get it all right | VailDaily.com

We’ll never get it all right

Don Rogers

Hate to break this to you. It is indeed true that you cannot simply believe all that you read. Not in newspapers. Not in the most scholarly periodical. Not even in great non-fiction books. That goes even more so for radio and television reports. And don’t even start with what you picked up off the Internet.We’re concerned with daily newspapers in this musty corner, and of course most concerned with our baby, the Vail Daily.Even this tiny paper deals with thousands and thousands of words in just one issue. Counting by percentage of the whole, we’re actually pretty darn good, better even than your favorite surgeon at his work. That is, if the reports on doctor flaws can be trusted.The potential for error in the daily paper – the bulk of it built in a flurry – is actually much higher than those thousands and thousands of words printed in each issue. After all, it’s not just spelling, punctuation and language that can be mangled. No sir. Sources can be misunderstood, misquoted or sometimes quoted all too precisely. Facts can be wrong, places or people misidentified, context bent from the reality, tone of, and numbers to get wrong. Numbers are a real headache for journalists. Headlines can mislead, cutlines not agree with the text, the wrong picture placed, a sidebar forgotten, calendar items under the wrong date. The potential for screw-ups goes on and on and on. The Daily Miracle – for that’s what it most resembles to the editor with hands tugging reflexively at fast-graying hair – is a high-wire act performed against deadline. And Murphy is lying in wait, always. This is why even the gold standard New York Times fills up to a third of its page 2s with corrections. We’ve taken the practice to page one, in part because we’ve improved over the years.Of course, there’s no hope at all with that most heinous of errors for any paper: Having the wrong opinion. Vail, Colorado

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