Editorial – Mea Maxima Culpa

If you read last week’s issue after Friday evening, you likely would have noticed my correction to the Council Connection article that I wrote. As it turns out, that started a cascade of events which have lead eventually to this week’s editorial where I want to take the opportunity to clear some things up.

First, I have to point out that although I did correct the mistakes, I didn’t do so because a councillor told me to. Although it was a councillor who told me about them, I would have done the same thing if it had been the other observer at the meeting, or one of the AUSU staff. I don’t like to let mistakes stand, and, in a long meeting like that, my own memory and notes were fuzzy enough that I could easily imagine that I might have made mistakes on those small details, so I corrected them.

And that, as it turns out, was my second mistake.

One of the more unusual things that correction caused is a call from our Editor-in-chief, Tamra Ross. Usually She’s too busy wearing her AUSU Executive Director hat to bother watching over The Voice Magazine (which means I get a lot of free rein) but, as ED, she expected the article wasn’t going to be too flattering to AUSU and so wanted to see what I said. Her argument had two points, the first being that if a councillor provides me with any direction as to what is published in the Voice Magazine, I’m to ignore it. While I, personally, don’t have any issue with ignoring a councillor if I don’t? think the instruction is a good one for The Voice, there may be other editors who are not so sanguine about ignoring the people who have the ability, at the end of the day, to fire them. So the policy is that councillors don’t instruct the Voice editor on anything, just to avoid any potential conflict.

The second was that if we make corrections after the issue is published, how can people trust that what they see is what is really the truth, how can they trust that we aren’t modifying things after they’re published and we get reaction from the readers, or council, or AU, or whoever. While I generally agree with this point, That’s why I put the correction notice down below, and you readers do have my promise that any changes to Voice material after publication will be noted so that everybody knows what’s going on.

However, it occurred to me that there’s a third point. What if the person who told me I’d made a mistake was wrong? Or lying? I’m not saying that That’s happened. Certainly not that it happened here. But the possibility exists, and if I change an article based on a lie, then that can make things even worse.

All of which brings me to the point of this article. I’m not perfect. And neither are our writers (though I expect they’re closer than I am), so sometimes there will be mistakes. If you see them, point them out, I’ll be happy to correct them?in the next issue. But what do you think? Should I correct articles that are already published with a note as to what’s been done? Or should I just leave it and point out the correction in the next issue of The Voice Magazine? I know which way I’m leaning now, but I can still be swayed.

P.S. The survey is done, the contest drawn. If you haven’t received an email from me, you haven’t won, so sorry. If you didn’t fill out the survey? don’t complain when we start our nine-part review on the cultural significance of Borscht. You had your chance.

%d bloggers like this: