Weekly Feature



2017-12-27 / Editorials

New friends every week when you write a newspaper column

DAVID F. SHERMAN
Managing Editor

I have been writing this column for nearly six years, but it amazes me how it is perceived by some readers.

As a column, it is solely my opinion. It is not a news story or an “editorial,” defined as the opinion of newspaper management. There are significant differences between the two.

The end of the year is a good time to look back at some feedback I’ve received.

Back in January, I received this from Peter: “Just wanted to reach out with a quick ‘thank you!’ for the wonderful and moving column about Fr. Joe Bayne; he is a guy I’ve known and been around over the years but has remained as solid, supportive, and selfless as ever. He’s been there for more people in more difficult situations than I can even imagine.”

The following month, I was mortified to read the tweet from President Donald Trump where he stated, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

I stated that as a career journalist, I was personally offended and wanted an apology.

“‘Mr. President, I await your apology.’ Really? The press has gone from reporting the news to steering news and giving there (sic) opinion. They deserve the backlash. There is no trust and you all need to earn it back,” wrote Eric.

Gloria took a different view of the column.

“Thank you for your excellent editorial contesting/protesting the president’s tweet about journalists being the enemy. Your examples were spot on. I agree with all you said,” she wrote.

“In my opinion the president was correct to call this out fake news as the enemy of the American people. The president on several occasions has said there is many good journalist who reports accurate facts,” wrote Paul. “I believe your article left out the other side of the story.” I also received an anonymous note informing me that I am a “Liberal Dem.” In March, I wrote about the need of some folks to expand their vocabulary. What follows is perhaps the finest feedback I received all year.

“In a benevolent, non-jocular but jovial spirit, and hopefully not sounding excessively pedantic, please allow me the indulgence of offering you felicitations on your estimable editorial about the lexicon of the English language. As a superannuated secretarial supervisor in the hopefully not penultimate chapter of my continuation, I find it greatly captivating to peruse an eclectic selection of the printed word. That inclines me to lament making the following assessment: Not all of your readers will have learned some new words from your article. With tongue firmly in cheek, and to coin a phrase popularized by our techno-savvy youngsters, ‘laughing out loud,’ I remain your humble and devoted reader, Candice.”

In August, I commented on Trump’s statement that military solutions to aggression toward the United States from North Korea were in place, “locked and loaded.” I compared that to what Abraham Lincoln said in his first inaugural address: “My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject.”

My reader Gerald replied, “Thank you for writing such a truthful article! I know the majority of our country agree but not enough of them ‘say it like it is!’”

“We all rely on good, factual news reporting. For you, we are thankful,” wrote Jan.

Thank you and have a happy new year.

(David F. Sherman is managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of Western New York, a group of community newspapers with a combined circulation of 286,500 readers. Opinions expressed here are those of the author. He can be reached at dsherman@beenews.com.)

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