From the Editor

BY JOE PARASKEVAS

Joe Paraskevas, Mainstreeter Editor. PHOTO BY NANCY MCL IMAGES

Joe Paraskevas, Mainstreeter Editor. PHOTO BY NANCY MCL IMAGES

An event occurred behind the scenes during production of the February Mainstreeter that readers should know about.

John Dance, former community association president and frequent contributor to this newspaper, filed a piece that I edited. It had to do with the canal footbridge that countless people want built between Old Ottawa East and the Glebe.

Most residents have waited for this bridge for many years. Others, such as John, have taken part in the back-and-forth city hall process, trying to actually get the thing built.

For the February issue, John wrote that three levels of politicians had been meeting to discuss construction of the bridge. He added that Coun. David Chernushenko had helped transfer funds from another project to the canal bridge file.

John wrote a positive headline for the piece: ‘Footbridge Moves Forward.’ I tightened his lead, in journalistic parlance, making it shorter and presumably clearer. I also changed the headline to ‘Not Much Progress on Canal Footbridge.’

Some politicians were reportedly quite upset with the Mainstreeter. John scrambled to heal hurt contacts. He has played a significant role as community activist on the footbridge project, perhaps as great as Chernushenko himself, the councillor has acknowledged.

Here is why I think the story about the edited footbridge story matters to you. I believe the Mainstreeter should be your most reliable source of community news.

What I should have done, as editor, is send John’s edited piece, re-topped with a new headline, back to him for review. I didn’t. I apologize to him now, for mishandling my part of the editor-reporter relationship.

I re-framed John’s story, casting it in a negative rather than positive light, because I didn’t think the fact some politicians had met to discuss a bridge or moved money to fund it, constituted much progress at all.

My new headline reflected that. To me and to readers, forward movement on the project would mean the setting of actual construction dates or shovels in the ground.

At the same time, I am not going to apologize to any politicians who took issue with our piece. We reported the facts.We made no mistakes. Though we showed continuing interest in a needed city hall project, we were less than flattering – in our choice of headline – to the politicians involved. But we didn’t express our ambivalence in a disrespectful way.

That’s the point of this editorial. The Mainstreeter tries to tell people in its community what matters and why. It conducts itself professionally. I owe John Dance and any person who writes for us that professionalism. And yet, anyone who thinks we should simply publish pieces that praise their subjects indiscriminately, will find we have no time for that.

facebooktwitterby feather
Filed in: Editorial Tags: , ,

You might like:

New Vision Unveiled for Aberdeen Plaza at Lansdowne Park New Vision Unveiled for Aberdeen Plaza at Lansdowne Park
Councillor’s Column, April 2016 Councillor’s Column, April 2016
Old Ottawa East Community Association: October 2015. Old Ottawa East Community Association: October 2015.
Letters, August 2015:  Regional Group has worked with community Letters, August 2015: Regional Group has worked with community

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.

© 2020 Mainstreeter. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.
Proudly designed by Theme Junkie.