Our front-page story on the wounded dogs generated considerable discussion. I share this e-mail exchange with a reader to help explain the story more:
I am very disappointed with the decision that was made to place an article on the front page of the newspaper about a DPS Trooper's actions following an accident with a puppy. The article was written clearly to try to stir up more controversy concerning our local law enforcement officers. Trooper Dunaway went above and beyond what he was morally and legally obligated to do, so why was such a huge section of the front page given to this story? I am strongly considering canceling my subscription if an apology is not given to Trooper Dunaway.
And my response:
And my response:
Thank you for writing and allowing me the opportunity to respond to your concerns. We wrote the story after a neighbor called to complain about the trooper's conduct and then the dogs' owners criticized him as well. We take seriously our role in giving people a way to express their concerns.
Of course, we didn't stop there and worked hard to get the trooper's side of the story. We held the story for a day to be sure we had comment from his supervisor and from the Humane Society regarding the legal obligation of someone who hits an animal. We wanted to be fair and balanced on a story we expected would generate considerable discussion in the community. In our experience, people react strongly to stories involving animals.
We tried hard not to take sides in the news story. We placed it on the front page because we thought it would be a story of high community interest. We also thought the story spoke to the issue about the excessive number of animals we have running loose in our region. The many comments we've received so far about the story seem to support the decision to place it on the front page.
We want to limit newspaper opinions to the Viewpoints page. Our editorial board meets each Wednesday to discuss views we want to express on this commentary page. You might be interested to know our editorial board, during our conversation today, also supported the trooper's actions. Community Conversation Editor Tim Delaney is scheduling that opinion to publish soon. I encourage you to consider a letter to the editor in support of Mr. Dunaway. You may send that to us at email@example.com.
Again, we appreciate hearing your views. I hope this helps explain our thinking. I would be happy to talk with you more about this or any other issue. My direct office number is 361-574-1271.
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