Working on your behalf

Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2000

Every New Year brings reflections, relief and probably a few regrets. Like most everyone else, we at the Empire strive to do our best within the limits of our resources. Also like most everyone else, if we had it all to do over again, we'd like to think we would do better.

The fact that what we do at the Empire creates a semi-permanent record argues for getting it right the first time around. Getting it right the first time comes with several obligations that may go against the grain of our human and institutional nature. We want to be fast and we want to be first in delivering news. We do that consistently, although we admit to some failures and flaws.

For example, our critics have a point when they say the corrections we print on page 3 hardly seem to be in proportion to the mistakes we may have made on page 1. Almost every newspaper designates a place for corrections to appear consistently. Our place is page 3. Let us know when we err or when we appear reluctant to admit our errors.

We all know friends, co-workers, public officials and others who have blind spots. Often, we cannot understand why they fail to recognize their shortcomings the way we do. Of course, they look at us and wonder the same thing.

Just as our readers resolve today to live better, smarter, healthier and more useful lives in 2001, the Empire hopes to be a better newspaper in the future than it is now and than it has been in the past.

As Juneau residents, Southeasterners, Alaskans and Americans, we're traveling together and are dependent upon each other.

The Empire will let you down from time to time in 2001. We will get some things wrong and miss some others. We will express opinions (on the editorial page, not in our news articles) with which you will disagree.

But this newspaper lives by standards on a day-to-day basis. We hold each other to them, and hope you'll judge us by the same standards. They are to:

Provide information that you can use.

Do so in a timely fashion.

Seek and, whenever possible, present all sides of a story even if that means presenting the side that is available today and delivering other points of view tomorrow.

Be fair and accurate.

Pursue stories about activities of interest to our readers without using our own prejudices as a filter. If it's a community activity, it should be reported in the Empire within the limits of our resources.

Report some things you need to know more than you may want to know.

Advocate for the underprivileged, underrepresented and disenfranchised.

Provide a forum for divergent points of view.

Be of a reasonable and respectful tone.

Surprise you.

Make you laugh, or at least smile.

We'll keep this in mind, too: It's important to try, OK to fall short, wonderful to forgive and a relief to be forgiven - whether you're a newspaper reader, reporter or editor.

Happy New Year from the Empire.

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