With Apologies from Kate Fisher
The Eastport Sun owes the people of Grand Seal Island our most sincere apologies.
Yesterday, our Web site carried a column by Donovan Graham in which Mr. Graham attacked the town and the people in it. I’m sorry to say that we allowed Mr. Graham to post his column before receiving approval from a member of the editorial staff. Within half an hour after the column was posted to the Web, we received several disturbing telephone calls.
The column violates numerous standards of journalism, and it is wholly unacceptable on the pages or Web site of the Sun. As soon as we read the column, we pulled it, but apparently word had gotten out and quite a few people had seen it by then.
The Sun believes in thorough reporting and the fair and respectful treatment of all subjects, regardless of the writer’s personal views. Mr. Graham apparently thought that his position as a Web columnist for this newspaper gave him the freedom to insult people he barely knows, but I’ve assured him — and I assure you — that it does not.
Apparently, Mr. Graham was irritated by my insistence that he report on the activities of the town of Grand Seal Island, instead of focusing all his attention on himself and the behavior of the people in “The Village.” He allowed that irritation to cloud his thinking, and so he wrote a diatribe about the fine people of The Town. His decision to do so was unprofessional and immature.
Much of the blame, of course, is mine. I assumed that Mr. Graham understood the demands and expectations of journalism, and so I did not give his columns the advance scrutiny that should have been standard. Mr. Graham is an intern here, but he comes with very high recommendations from his former professors at Eastern Maine University, and I let their high opinion of him translate into a freedom and a confidence that were obviously seriously misplaced.
The usual course of action when a transgression like this occurs is to fire the reporter, often with an explosion loud enough to ensure that he never works in journalism again. Because Mr. Graham is an intern, however, and still presumably learning the craft and trade of journalism, I have decided not to terminate his contract with this newspaper. He has been placed on leave for an indeterminate amount of time, and assuming he doesn’t simply quit and find some other job for the summer, his blog will return to this Web site once he has convinced me that he understands the severe inappropriateness of his actions.
To the people of Grand Seal Island: I am sorry for the column that attacked your good name and your fine town. I would like to assure you that reporting of that kind is not welcome in the pages of The Sun and never will be. I give you my word that we will not let such irresponsible coverage appear beneath our banner again.
— Kate Fisher, editor
Comment — MapleLeaf249: I knew that was wrong. Mr. Graham, people in the small towns of the Maritimes are some of the most decent and honorable people you’ll ever meet. Just come visit us in Newfoundland and let me introduce you to some of them up here. You’ll never write lies about them again.
Comment — GeorgeReynolds: You’re a disgrace to The Stump, Van.
Comment — WomynFire982: you are all assuming that there exists something like objective truth. in fact, truth is situated, emergent, and negotiated, much as we are doing with these comments.
Comment — NavyBrat414: Yeah, situated and negotiated, blah, blah blah — except in this case, he’s wrong. Live with it.
Read previous blog entries in the Island Wars story by clicking here.