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Why does it feel like I'm still on a roller coaster ride

March 30, 2011 | 07:39 AM
Long ago I realized an important philosophy — nothing is ever as bad as it seems. But, that also means nothing ever is as good as it seems, either.

That goes for just about everything in life.

And it's a good thing that saying often creeps into my mind. Sometimes, if it didn't, I think I would go crazy in this business.

It started last Wednesday with an e-mail. A local man was frustrated with our newspaper for a few reasons and he wanted to let me know about it.

He cited a few mistakes in last week's paper, namely some story continuations that basically weren't formatted correctly. The story jump line telling the reader where to go next to read the rest of the story did not match the jump headline on the continued page. That headline also stated the story was continuing from a page it wasn't. Absolutely, he had a point and was completely right about the layout errors.

He also was critical of misspelled words and said those issues should not occur if spell check is used. Again, he was right. After a polite e-mail exchange with him, he stated he wasn't "whining" he just wanted the paper to be better. The end result of the e-mails appeared to be an understanding on both sides. He will keep reading and we will try to do better.

But, what he and others may fail to realize sometimes is that no matter what the situation is, each week we do the best we can to produce the most professional, factual, accurate, interesting and informative newspaper. Mistakes occur in every newspaper, even the largest most read dailies. Mistakes also occur in books, which are read over and over for months by many people.

Multiple people in the Regional News office read each page Tuesday afternoon before it is sent to be printed. But, it always seems after the product is back from the press, the same people who read it the previous day find an error here and there they can't believe they could have missed.

We don't like to see these spelling mistakes or the use of the wrong form of a word. The truth is these mistakes do happen and will always happen.

Just after sending the last e-mail to the man, feeling disappointed in the errors that were made and trying to figure out how to reduce the likelihood of some of those things happening again, another e-mail came in. This one was from the Lake Geneva Police Department. It was information about a crime from December in which there was fraudulent use of credit cards.

The report said the crime had been solved and the Regional News was a key reason why. We reported on the credit card crimes and ran a surveillance photo of the two suspects in the Dec. 20 edition of the newspaper. According to the police report, someone saw the picture in the paper and recognized the couple. That led to the arrest of a 38-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman. Now, charges have been referred to the Walworth County District Attorney's Office.

In a matter of minutes, I went from disappointment and frustration over the errors, to pure pride in making a difference in this community in a way I hadn't expected.

That's proof being in journalism and creating a newspaper each week is more than just putting words on a page, spelled correctly or not. It's about life, informing people, giving the folks a forum to speak their minds, bettering the community and keeping its history. A few typos, misspellings or layout errors can never change all the good we do in each of those facets.

The great thing about the weekly newspaper business — every seven days, we get another try to be better and make a difference in the community.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.

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