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Letter: Newspaper errors are self-inflicted wounds

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Natalie Bush

Columbia, Mo.

Received: Nov. 27

As a journalism student, naysayers constantly warn me about the uncertain prospects of my future.

I prefer to focus on what journalists across the country can do to preserve and enhance the vitally important role the “Fourth Estate” of print journalism has played in our society.

My passion for journalism was ignited under the guidance of Kim Green and Rachel McCarver at Columbus North. Continuing through my education at the University of Missouri, I have been fighting hard for the journalism industry every day.

It is undeniable print journalism has taken many hard hits during the past decade. The Internet has changed the business model forever. Advertising revenue has been under severe pressure due to the economy and competition from other forms of media. Some newspapers in existence for more than 100 years have been forced to cease publishing.

However, these changes and obstacles should not impact a journalist from doing the job he or she was trained to do.

The Republic’s mistake on Nov. 26 concerning the misprinted headshot of Dr. David Thompson was sloppy and unacceptable. More importantly, it was an

embarrassment to those who work hard for their careers in journalism. A mistake like this not only harms the paper’s credibility but also brings down the rest of the industry. I ask The Republic, “Where is your integrity?” Good journalism is not a product of a strong business or successful publisher; it starts with a sole person taking the time to do his or her job to the best of their ability.

Columbus has been good to The Republic and The Republic has been a valuable asset to its citizens, particularly during times of crisis. I applaud you for your coverage during the Flood of 2008 and the continued coverage throughout the months of recovery.

The city and citizens would be severely negatively impacted if publication of The Republic were eliminated. Print journalism is facing a crisis, with Web content providers seeking to capitalize on any weakness. Errors and misprints are self-inflicted wounds that are costly mistakes and simply not acceptable.

I hope The Republic will join me and everyone who remains passionate about our profession as we seek to revive the journalism industry. Respect your career and treat it with the dignity it deserves. Journalism is never easy. It is not an overnight success. It does not receive adoring fans and support. But, with the right mindset and pride for your work, mistakes will be part of the past as we continue on into a brighter future.

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