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Bail Bondsman Chesterfield VA
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March Letters To and From the Editor

In my 20 years of reporting, I’ve made some terrible mistakes. From the seemingly minor and stupid (I once misspelled Bob Dylan’s last name) to quoting a deceased attorney (there really is a plausible explanation for this). I have to work really hard at not screwing up. And I still do. All the time.

Scott Bass


In my 20 years of reporting, I’ve made some terrible mistakes. From the seemingly minor and stupid (I once misspelled Bob Dylan’s last name) to quoting a deceased attorney (there really is a plausible explanation for this). I have to work really hard at not screwing up. And I still do. All the time.

There are reporters who claim to be mistake-free, or nearly so, but that’s only because no one actually reads their stories (or the newspapers they work for). A good reporter probably loses 10 years of his or her life stressing over accuracy. It wakes you up in the middle of the night, sends you home after deadline nauseated and forces you to double- and triple-check things into absurdity. I know judgment is spelled without an “e,” but I still look it up. Every time.

So, yes, I want to put Brian Williams’ head through a wall. Even if NBC fired him, immediately, it still wouldn’t have been enough. Instead, they dragged it out, suspended him, and in the meantime did their part to help destroy our already fading journalistic enterprise.
I’m sure Brian Williams never thinks about small magazines like ours, the smaller newspapers with smaller budgets and reporters who make less than one-hundredth of his $10-million-a-year salary. But we all get painted with the same brush. See, I knew it. You just can’t trust the media. That’s not just NBC’s problem. It’s ours, too.

I had an old professor who was fond of saying, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” His point was to question everything, especially the truths we take for granted. The problem is no one was questioning the almighty Williams, save for newsroom staffers, who had little recourse.

Working reporters can produce 5,000 words of copy a week, which makes self-policing the most critical part of the job. No reporter, or editor, can catch it all. So when one of our own gets caught making stuff up, it burns – deep.
As for my ghost quote, I found myself sitting in front of an attorney who railed about not trusting my newspaper because someone quoted his deceased father. Turns out he’s the one I quoted. He had the same name, but I dropped the suffix. I felt sick on the drive home. That sickness is how you know you’re still OK. I suspect Williams didn’t lose a lot of sleep over his mistakes – until now. Scott Bass

‘Going Native’ a helpful guide


Thank you for publishing “Going Native” by Susan Nienow [February]. I too am not native to Virginia but would have told you if I was asked that the crape myrtles must be native trees as they are everywhere. I try to do what I can to help out our environment, but I also don’t really have time to do a lot of research on what is native and what isn’t. I would have loved to have seen a quick reference chart that covered a variety of types in addition to this article to help people like me who need a little guidance. Thank you, though, for the suggestions in the article.

Rebecca Necessary
Midlothian

Thank you for your comments. Check the photo display on the Virginia Native Plants website and the brochure at
dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/nativeplants.shtml for more information. The brochure has a list of native plants.
– Susan Nienow

© 2017 Chesterfield Observer