Monday, September 25, 2006

Editorial: "Our editorials are terrible; we quit"

The Daily Illini, the University of Illinois' venerable (founded 1871) student newspaper, has quit running editorials because too many of them "have been based on faulty facts, providing nothing but misinformation and misrepresentation. . . . "

The latest botch was an editorial Thursday about some college-type event that got pretty much everything wrong, and for which the editorial board had already apologized. Unfortunately, having to apologize for a rogue editorial
is a position that we have put ourselves in numerous times throughout the last couple of semesters. For this reason, The Daily Illini Editorial Board has decided to stop publishing editorials until further notice.
Has this ever happened before in the entire gaudy history of newspaperly incompetence and venality? I don't mean the "misinformation and misrepresentation," of course, but admitting it, and having a healthy enough sense of shame to cut it the hell out?

Jack Mabley, one of our most distinguished alumni, once reflected on his time here. He said, "I was proudest that in my 365 days as editor we never had to run a correction or skinback or apology, nor were we asked to."

It is in this spirit, both of the long legacy of this paper and the importance of the editorial as an institution, that we do our duty to our readers, admit our mistakes and restore the credibility of this paper.

However, we cannot hope to restore our reader's [sic] faith in us without hearing from them. Write to us, tell us what you think about The Daily Illini, don't pull any punches. We cannot fix this without you.

(via Romenesko)

Update: "Distinguished alumni" Jack Mabley, who died last year at age 90, had a blog.

Update II: "Skinback?"

Update III: Really, read Jack Mabley's blog, including the comments. Even reading the whole thing won't take long. He's pretty good, for 90. Sample (from his last post):
My watchword and guide in my old age is "patience." It works wonders most of the time, and especially in traffic. I will go through these good senior years smelling the roses and trying to minimize the scratches from the thorns.

I also avoid eye contact with or the finger to wild drivers. They may be drunk, or hung over, or just plain ugly. They may be mentally unbalanced and have an automatic rifle on the seat. Only about one in 10 is this way, but that means I am going to pass or be passed by 10 or 15 of them driving to and from the office.
Ol' Jack still drove, but would you have ridden with ol' Jack? My grandmother drove until she was 95 or so--in fact, both my grandmothers drove until they were 95 or so--but neither should ever, ever have been allowed to.

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