A few weeks ago, a letter to the editor accusing the Myrtle Beach Fire Department of dumping a Dalmatian at the animal shelter outraged many of our readers.
That would indeed have been outrageous, if it had been the full story.
Instead, as we quickly learned, it was an example of what journalism professors are fond of calling the “assume” rule, as in when you assume something, you make an ass out of u and me.
We assumed the letter writer had the goods. Although her heart may have been in the right place, we soon learned that she did not have the goods, as Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Alvin Payne pointed out.
“We adopted Jake over a year ago,” Payne wrote in his own letter to the editor. “He, too, had health issues and was very temperamental. In the two or three months that we had him, he snapped at several people and bit two firefighters. Because he is housed in a community building, he posed a threat to the public and we knew we couldn’t keep him. Instead of taking him back to the shelter, we found him a home with a friend of one of the firefighters. She kept him for several months, and when she moved away she – not the firefighters – returned him to the shelter.”
That was bad enough, but many callers, commenters and letter writers did some assuming of their own. They assumed that the information was from a news story by one of our reporters.
I can say emphatically that was not the case. But it also gives me a chance to remind news sources of our policy to correct our errors. If we have made a factual error, please let us know so we can make it right.
Golfing for kids
The time is fast approaching for one of the most rewarding non-journalism projects we do all year: The Sun News Education Foundation golf tournament fund-raiser.
This year’s tourney will begin with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. at the Pine Lakes Country Club. The cost is $110 per golfer and all the proceeds from the tournament and a silent auction go to the foundation, which has given out more than $155,000 to college-bound area high school seniors since it began 28 years ago.
As I said, the tournament is one of the most rewarding projects we do, but the real highlight of each year is interviewing the finalists for the scholarships. They always make those of us on the foundation board feel humbled by their accomplishments, optimistic about our country’s future and, frankly, like total slackers when we compare their achievements to our high school days.
To reserve your spot, contact Peggy Studds at 843-626-0250.
Oh yeah, did I mention that it will include a hole-in-one prize of a 2013 Hyundai Sonata Ltd, valued at $30,000 from Myrtle Beach Hyundai, and the silent auction will feature two-night hotel stays, theater tickets, rounds of golf and a race car driving experience.
If you’re already on the roster, thanks for playing. And as always, thanks for reading.
Contact CAROLYN CALLISON MURRAY at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at TSN_ccmurray.