Dear Mr. Brown-Manrique (and any others who share his sentiments),
You are right-Friday’s article titled “Harry T. Wilks dies at 89″ was a tremendous failure on the part of The Miami Student editorial board. It should not have been printed; we have an entire system in place to ensure that such grievous errors never make it to print and the publishing of that article cannot be labeled anything less than incompetence.
The error was a frustratingly simple one: the wrong version of the article was placed on the page and, though one of our editors caught the mistake and called for it to be fixed, it just never happened (we welcome you to read the full version of the article online). We don’t know where in the process the communication broke down, but it doesn’t even really matter. The fact remains that it should not have happened and it reflects badly on all who are involved with the publication. We cannot change that now, though there isn’t a person on the staff who doesn’t wish we could.
Every person on the editorial board cares deeply about the quality of the newspaper we produce. We care for a whole host of reasons. We want a product with our names on it to be excellent for our own sakes and our career aspirations. But more than anything, we want to create something that will benefit the community, that provides people with excellent and accurate information to our readers, that generates discussion and promotes change.
Though it may not seem like it, these are the standards to which we hold ourselves-standards of which we fall short of all the time. When we catch our mistakes-or worse, when others catch them and point them out to us-we have a hard time not beating ourselves up. At the end of the day though, we have to remind ourselves that we are a group of learners. We hold ourselves to the standards of a professional newspaper and we welcome you to hold us to them as well. But we know we will make mistakes. The important thing is for us to learn from them. Mistakes are really the best way for anyone to learn.
So while we wish we could promise to be a newspaper free of errors, that’s not what we are. We are a newspaper of learners-of mistake-makers. Really, every newspaper is (and we draw some comfort from the often substantial “Corrections” section in every issue of the New York Times).
But student newspapers are more so than others because, unlike professional publications, we don’t have the benefit of retaining our best and our brightest-at most, we get to keep them for four years.
So while it is always disappointing for us to know we have let our readership down and we wish we could promise to be better, we can only promise to do what we were designed to do: learn.
Every editor on our staff devotes an incredible amount of time to making each newspaper the very best it can be. Some issues shine, some disappoint-but every issue teaches.