Dear Reader | The news cycle challenge

Dear ReaderJune 12, 2013 

Calls and letters last week prompt me to share some information about cycles of news and why, believe it or not, the absence of an article on a specific topic on any given day has nothing to do with a coverup by the media elite.

One weekend subscriber was furious that we didn’t have anything in the paper on Saturday, June 1,about the IRS, saying it showed our bias toward the president.

As I have written before, selecting the 4-5 articles for the front page is rarely an easy task and one of the first questions we ask is if the article says anything new. Does it shed any new light on the subject? Does it, as a former teacher and editor used to say: “add anything to the sum of human knowledge?” If not, it doesn’t get 1A real estate.

But perception is reality, so I checked our archives from the first of May through Monday to make sure we hadn’t underplayed major developments in the scandal. I found that on Friday, May 31, the main article on the front page was a look at the agencies targeted by the IRS. It ran in what we call the “centerpiece” position, with photos that we had taken during the local Tea Party IRS protest earlier in the month.

The issue also played on the front page May 15, 21 and 23, and on June 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. That doesn’t include the articles that appeared inside the newspaper or the many editorials and op-eds we’ve run.

D-Day frustrations

I also heard from readers who were unhappy we didn’t have coverage of D-Day on the anniversary itself – June 6.

It wasn’t because we didn’t understand the importance of the date. Our wire editor spent a significant amount of time on June 5 searching for an article that put the anniversary into perspective. Alas, we could find none, and with no local event on tap to write about in advance, we were at a loss.

We did find coverage of the commemoration, which ran June 7. That’s not the same, I know, but I would hate for those who called and wrote to think we were dissing the date. Again, perception can be the reality. Meanwhile, I beg local vet groups who might be planning something next year: Let us know in advance.

And don’t forget that readers like the caller who felt we were ignoring the IRS scandal because of our perceived liberal leanings can join us to see behind the curtain at one of our morning or afternoon news meetings. Contact Lisa Urban at 626-0300 so she can schedule your visit.

Whether you visit or not, thanks for reading and for sharing your views. Even when we must agree to disagree, it’s still valuable feedback.

Contact CAROLYN CALLISON MURRAY at cmurray@thesunnews.com or follow her on Twitter at TSN_ccmurray.

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