Jerry Raehal: Questions that need answers

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— It can be interesting to watch.

I will be sitting at a table during a meeting, and after a while, someone at the table will say something to the effect of, "I have to tell you this," as if they had been debating it in their head for some time, and finally come to a resolution.

Sometimes they want to tell me a story idea, but are afraid the paper won't see them as worthy.

Sometimes, it's to tell me what they think the Daily Press is doing right.

Sometimes, it's to tell me what they think we're doing wrong.

And sometimes, it's just to ask why we do what we do.

Now, these are questions and statements that people don't seem afraid to ask via the Internet, but when it comes face-to-face, well, it's not quite the same.

And as interesting as it might be to watch, I would rather hear what is on your mind - good, bad or otherwise, face-to-face or via some other communication.

If it's a story idea, I can't promise you the paper will run it, but I can promise you that I will listen and see if it is a possibility.

If it's to tell me what we're doing right or wrong, it's always good to have feedback on how to make a paper better.

And if it's to ask why we do what we do, I would be happy to explain or, if I don't know, find the answer and get back to you.

Some questions I get on a repetitive basis, and I plan to answer such questions - or issues that need clarification - during the next couple of weeks in this column.

One such question is on our policy about not printing the names of those who have been charged with sex crimes, and what circumstances cause us to stray from that policy?

As to the first question, one of the main reasons is we do not want to inadvertently identify the victim, which can often happen in small towns by mere mention of acquaintance. We are attempting not to revictimize the alleged victim.

The other reason is the stigma that follows a person if he or she is charged with a sex crime, and he or she is found innocent. No matter if the legal system finds the person innocent, the reality of such an allegation is damming and lingers.

If the person is found guilty, the Daily Press will make the name public.

If someone really wants to know who the suspect is prior to him or her being convicted, his or her name is a matter of public record, and it can be obtained through the courts.

So, why have we, at times, put the names of those charged with sex crimes in the paper? The answer is when that person is a public figure or is in a position of trust. At times, this is a very clear-cut decision. At other times, it is a very difficult judgment call we will literally debate for hours.

Do you have questions that you want answers to or comments on how you think the paper can be improved?

You can reach me at 824-7031, ext. 204, or at jraehal@craigdailypress.com, or come by the Daily Press office at 466 Yampa Ave.

And don't hesitate to share your thoughts if you see me out and about.

New on the Web site

The new Craig Daily Press Web site was launched a couple of months ago, and we've added new features to make it even more interactive.

First of all, those of you who are dedicated writers on the reader forum, the forum is not gone. You can reach it through the "community" icon, which is located at the same spot that the reader forum was at.

In addition to the reader forum, a new feature to the "community" icon is blogs, as well as ability to see the latest comments people have posted on individual stories and photos.

Also on the Internet, we are conducting live Web chat sessions, where you can ask public figures - or those you might have an interest in talking to - the questions you want answers to.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 29, Samantha Johnston from The Memorial Hospital will be conducting a Web chat on the Referendum 1A. And at 6 p.m. Nov. 1, Dave DeRose will be conducting a Web chat to answer questions about the school district's tax question.

Honoring the voters

It has been said many times before in our editorial board members, by various board members, that voting shouldn't be viewed as just a right, but as an honor.

And as such, the Daily Press plans to honor those who honored the vote by printing a thank you, listing all the names of those of you who took time to vote in the Nov. 6 election.

Thank you in advance.

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