Letter to the Editor

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This article was prepared for the July 16, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

When scanners first became popular, some newspapers

resisted them mightily. With those infernal scanning machines, press

releases could be scanned in and printed verbatim. Since we preferred

to put our own spin on the press release, we chose to type the information

in "from scratch," as a cook would say.

Now the Internet offers even greater temptations. Press releases on

web pages and E-mails can oh-so-easily be transferred to a reporter’s

word processing file. Just click here and there, a control C and a

control V and — Voila! The page gets filled. The reporter is not

"stealing" the information, because the companies are begging

for us to print it in the newspaper. But it needs additional facts,

perhaps, or the opposing point of view, and different words.

Even our event listings, especially our event listings, require this

detailed attention. We wish we had a nickel for each time some Helpful

Harry has made the following suggestion: "Why don’t you hire a

temp or a secretary to type in your event listings? All they would

have to do is copy the press release."

Yet those same people value U.S. 1’s event listings because they are

not entered mindlessly. Rather, they often have been interpreted by

a savvy person who can put an event in its historic, artistic, or

business context.

Of course once in a while we slip up. A couple of weeks ago Lawrenceville

resident David Cadieu registered a complaint about one of our listings,

about a Coalition for Peace Action rally. The listing said the rally

was against deception and unconstitutional actions in the Bush administration.

Cadieu stated that our copying of the words from the press release

represented a political point of view that might be espoused by a

left wing paper. If we aimed to be a politically neutral newspaper,

he said, we should have described the rally as protesting "what

the group believes to be `deception and unconstitutional actions in

the Bush administration.’"

He was right. It was our mistake.

We should also say that the political viewpoints represented by our

staff are so strongly held, and in such opposition to each other,

that we pretty much avoid politics and international affairs as conversation

subjects. As for our editorial position, our most recent opinion was

stated in this column on July 2: Our support for the original Millstone

Bypass plan.

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Letter to the Editor

HAVING BEEN in a variety of businesses for more than three decades,

I can appreciate the value of a journalist who is accurate and conscientious.

Kathleen McGinn Spring spent enough time with me to truly understand

the nature of my business, yet was mindful of the value of our time.

Her article was concise, yet insightful, and easy for all to understand

(U.S. 1, July 9).

Additionally, to provide you with some feedback with regard to your

circulation, I received E-mail and telephone inquiries based upon

the article before I could get out to pick up a copy of U.S. 1 on

the day of distribution.

Mary Demetria Davis

Co-director, Princeton Center for Neuro Linguistic


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