Pub­li­ca­tion om­buds­man

The main rea­son I have been ac­ces­si­ble is be­cause I have had the good for­tune of pub­lish­ing small com­mu­nity news­pa­pers. When one pub­lishes a pa­per in a small com­mu­nity, one can’t hide.

The Covington News - - Opinion - T. Pat Ca­vanaugh Gen­eral Man­ager

Dur­ing my years as a pub­lisher/ gen­eral man­ager, I have al­ways been ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic.

If a per­son didn’t like some­thing, they could al­ways call me di­rectly or come by and pop into my of­fice.

In fact, at a few pa­pers where I had con­sid­er­able prob­lems with de­liv­ery, print­ing and cov­er­age, I ac­tu­ally think some of my for­mer em­ploy­ees took great de­light in see­ing me squirm.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, I ac­tu­ally re­ceived calls of praise, and to this very day I per­son­ally re­mem­ber the names of those five peo­ple.

The main rea­son I have been ac­ces­si­ble is be­cause I have had the good for­tune of pub­lish­ing small com­mu­nity pa­pers. When one pub­lishes a pa­per in a small com­mu­nity, one can’t hide.

Some­times I envy the news­pa­per pub­lisher of a large metro pa­per, i. e., the pub­lisher of The At­lanta Jour­nal Con­sti­tu­tion.

It would be an ex­tremely rare event to see him out and about, and prob­a­bly most of the peo­ple who work for him have never had the ben­e­fit of his guid­ance and sup­port.

But ev­ery once in a while, read­ers re­ally do want to see the pub­lisher/ gen­eral man­ager, and they want him to be ac­count­able for his pa­per’s ac­tions.

The large metro pub­lisher’s an­swer to this dilemma is to hire a per­son who writes well, ac­tu­ally fool­ing the read­ers into think­ing that the pub­lisher re­ally cares. That per­son is called an om­buds­man or in the AJC’s case, the pub­lic ed­i­tor

The pub­lic ed­i­tor writes a col­umn from time to time about how the AJC is re­ally lis­ten­ing to its read­ers, which in it­self is kind of funny.

From her pic­ture, she looks like a friendly, downto- earth type of gal.

She is prob­a­bly smil­ing be­cause she makes a lot of money be­ing the pub­lisher’s front per­son.

I have to ad­mit, I have be­come jeal­ous of the om­buds­man and pub­lic ed­i­tors of large metro pa­pers

I think that be­sides be­ing the gen­eral man­ager of our pa­per I also want to have the ti­tle of om­buds­man.

So now that I have given my­self this ti­tle, I will — for you, our loyal read­ers — oc­ca­sion­ally an­swer some ques­tions.

So, here it goes.

Who writes the editorials at The Cov­ing­ton News?

Now that is a very good ques­tion.

If you like the ed­i­to­rial, the gen­eral man­ager or the ed­i­tor writes them. If you don’t, a guy named Harry is cur­rently writ­ing them.

I prom­ise, act­ing in my new ca­pac­ity as om­buds­man, if I get enough com­plaints about Harry, I will get the ed­i­tor to fire him.

In the past we have had a Frank, a Lloyd, a Ge­orge and a Nancy who have writ­ten bad editorials. Be­cause we care about the com­plaints of our read­ers, they all have been fired.

So keep me abreast of your thoughts on Harry.

Who re­ally is in charge at The Cov­ing­ton News?

I am go­ing to let you in on a big se­cret: the per­son in charge of most small com­mu­nity news­pa­pers is the per­son whose name ap­pears sec­ond in the staff box on the ed­i­to­rial page.

The ma­jor re­spon­si­bil­ity of that per­son is to make the per­son whose name is first in the box on the ed­i­to­rial page feel that he or she

is the one run­ning things.

How about the spell­ing er­rors in the news­pa­per?

I would like to blame our news depart­ment for all of the er­rors, and oc­ca­sion­ally I do, but we hon­estly try to have sev­eral peo­ple proof­read ev­ery ar­ti­cle.

How­ever, at the end of a long pub­lish­ing day, eyes do get weary.

We have an­other cul­prit; his name is Spell Check. Truth­fully, I have never seen him, but he hides deep in­side our com­put­ers. Some­times he makes the mis­takes. I would re­place him, but I can’t find him.

For ex­am­ple, we have Mr. An­drew Lachina who cov­ers the arts, Mr. Den­nis Poll­man who cov­ers auto shows, and Chef I. Lyka Dafood who does restau­rant re­views.

How come the gen­eral man­ager’s pic­ture is al­ways in the pa­per?

Well, the gen­eral man­ager of this pa­per is a very im­por­tant man (at least he thinks so).

But, the real truth is that his mother and fa­ther live in Penn­syl­va­nia and sub­scribe to the pa­per, and they like to see his pic­ture to see how he is do­ing.

Well, that’s all the let­ters for now; keep send­ing them in and our new “om­buds­man” will an­swer them hon­estly and can­didly.

I prom­ise.

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