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Melanie Brubaker Mazur - 7/29/2011
Maybe the summer heat has made me cranky.
I had two e-mails from grumpy people a few weeks ago, criticizing the Times.
I offered to run them as letters to the editor, but both parties declined, so they shall remain nameless for now. I argued with them online.
One of the e-mails complained about Carole’s columns and asked not to receive the paper at their business anymore at Vallecito. We send complimentary copies up to the lodges for the summer just because I think it’s a nice gesture to our visitors from out of town, and it’s good exposure for our local advertisers.
Fair enough, I agreed I would take the business off the list.
Then this writer complained further, saying that ALL of the Times articles are liberal and unfair.
That’s when I got mad. Carole only expresses her opinions in her columns, not her stories. I don’t do that either. Heck, I’m not even a much of a liberal.
All of our columns and letters to the editor are on Page 2, and on the very top it says OPINION.
ANYONE is welcome to send a letter to the Times and talk about whatever in the heck you please. Fair criticism of this newspaper is also printed. In the nine years we’ve owned the paper, I can count on one hand the number of letters that I haven’t printed. Most are unsigned. One was downright mean to a member of our community. One was libelous.
Other than that, if you write ‘em, I’ll print ‘em.
So if you don’t like Carole’s columns, don’t read them, or write a letter back in response. I also consider columns from folks of all political persuasions. I can’t pay our columnists because I don’t have much money, but they do get the joy of seeing their name in print! Tyler Steele, Derek Martin and Mike Clark write some thought-provoking pieces. So if you have a column proposal and you’re a resident of the Pine River Valley, send me some samples if you’re interested.
The other complaint from a reader said when we covered the accident about the two girls injured by a truck in Vallecito on July 4, we didn’t have enough details and we were unfair to one of the parties involved.
I said we’d interviewed a patrolman, talked with family members of one person, printed an account of another person wrote of the incident, but couldn’t reach one person who wasn’t listed in the phone book. So what else would this reader have us do?
She said to use Google.
Tried that. Found thousands of people under that name.
Any other suggestions?
She didn’t write back.
Then last week on deadline, I got riled up again. Usually, most people know I’m fairly easygoing. Sometimes, I’m too easygoing.
I do get angry when someone, particularly outside this community, steals our news to put on his website without my permission. They he sells ads on the website. That is theft, folks, the same if I walked into a store, put something in my pocket, and decided not to pay for it just because I didn’t feel like it, and I knew I could sell it to someone else.
I immediately fired off a blistering cease and desist letter and threatened to sue the owner of the online publication. Copies went off to my media attorney and newspaper friends throughout the region, just because I was so angry and wanted to make sure this online publication wasn’t stealing any of their material, as well.
Fortunately, the owner of the online entity immediately took our material off his site and apologized.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send them in. If you want, I’ll print them as letters to the editor. If you don’t, I might argue with you on the phone or the computer.
But either way, you’re always welcome to write or call. Sometimes, it takes me a few days or even a few weeks to get back, but call again!
Thanks for reading.