Last week I made a mistake.
More than one, actually, but the one I’m taking about specifically involves The Record. The wrong name was attached to an article.
This phenomenon has happened before, unfortunately, and if we’re being completely honest, it will probably happen again in the future.
If I turn on the wrong burner or rack up $10 in overdue library fines, those mistakes stay mostly in my world. But when you are putting out a newspaper, mistakes are much less forgiving; you affect more people than just yourself. In fact, in journalism, imperfect people attempt to put out, for all intents and purposes, what should be a perfect paper.
This past week’s error got me thinking a lot about names and why authorship, on any written word, is so important.
To put your name on a piece of work is thrilling, important, sometimes dangerous. It means you believe what you said as the truth. It means you’re claiming your words and the ideas behind them, and it must be done, not just for credit but because the work can be a powerful statement about who you are and what you think.
A blank piece doesn’t mean much because it lacks authenticity. I’ve always hated when newspapers print letters to the editor without a sign-off. Essentially, the writer is saying: I have opinions and want everyone to know them but I don’t want to back them up, just in case there is argument or tension or another unforeseen effect.
It is often a little daunting to attach your name to print, a work preserved for anyone to see. That’s why no one, for any reason, should ever lose credit at the hands of another – because to be bold enough to write your own words and be willing to share them is a task that should be applauded.
Thanks to those of you who contribute each week, who contribute your time and energy and truths. The Record is here to help you say what needs to be said and in the future, we will continue to try putting out a paper that recognizes your words as your own.
The Record would like to apologize for the following error: Christina Hofer was the author of “First ‘Grandparents’ Day begins annual tradition.” Elizabeth Derstine was originally given credit.