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I won't pretend to be privy to whatever "specific agenda" Getsmart may or may not have, nor is it any of my business, but I know I have seen some posts by Getsmart that have brought up many pertinent questions and observations, yet they get deleted. Again, though, none of my business except that if they had been left for others to see, may have given a more well-rounded picture of the discussion at hand.
Chris, I myself have refrained from posting on this topic save for my response to Dr. Vaughan's excellent letter to the editor. Dr. Vaughan was absolutely straightforward and made excellent points in his letter. I think it speaks for itself. I am sorry you seem to not be able to admit the Victoria Advocate erred in this circumstance. My intention is not to attack you, but when you blog to invite public input, I will speak my mind, as will many others. I mean absolutely no disrespect, and I understand that ethics in any business is not always a cut and dried issue. I would hope that you understand your public's point of view here, even the ones contrary to your own, and learn from them. I do expect a newpaper's editor and his underlings to be able to decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong before printing things instead of blogging after the fact only after someone has voiced a complaint and looking for public approval to make sure you did the right thing.
In my opinion, and it is only that, you and your paper erred. By going public to discuss this and so many other "iffy" scenarios, seeking validation, and then refusing to ACTUALLY LISTEN to what others say, pro and con, about the topic, you make a bad situation worse and threaten any credibility you and the paper may have.
As I stated in previous comment- I prefer the VA to review all potential story lines and pick the items that appear most news worthyNot going to please everybody every time. It is better to print a story than to be accused of purposely not printing a particular story.
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I see your point, but nothing tugs at a persons heartstrings more than the thought of someone being responsible for an injury to a baby.With that in mind, I wonder how much this has hurt the doctor's practice. Have you done a follow-up on that?
How many medical malpractice suits were filed in Victoria County in 2011? How many were covered in the Advocate?
I really don't know the correct answer. On one hand, reporting it at all might taint a jury selection by swaying public opinion, and on the other hand, if something is amiss at the clinic, people need to know about it.I think I kind of lean toward waiting to publish anything until more concrete facts are available. My immediate feelings when I read the articles were that this doesn't belong in the paper right now and I started trying to think back if I had ever read something like this before at this stage. I can say that I cannot remember reading anything like this before. I didn't feel like the doctor's side of it was explained as strongly as the woman's side was, leaving the mother at an unfair advantage in public .I do, however, understand that medical lingo is hard for most readers to undertand.
I don't think I know where the expectation of privacy starts and ends anymore. Anyone can find out if a person paid last year's property taxes and the value of their home. The person who brought the lawsuit, friends, relatives and lawyer knows of the case and I'm sure they have put their spin on it. The best way to squash a rumor is to provide a link to the PDF of the lawsuit,as Chris stated. Depending on the importance of the case, placement should be given consideration.
It's the same way with suicide, treat with the respect it deserves but report it or else we are left with rumors.
Since the two scenerios are so totally different, and the main reason being that medicine is so intricate and not easily understood by the average reader, while a murder with a eye witness is kind of cut and dry.With the doctor/baby story, you have people jumping to conclusions in favor of the mother, for purely emotional reasons, and others that know more about certain medical procedures, angry that a doctor they know and love is getting slammed by people that know nothing about the medical part of this.There is not enough pertinent information to make the story fair to either side.
If a report has confirmed sources, the paper should report it. Personally I do want the paper to decide for me what is "news". I place my own merit to any report. Lawsuit can/ often should be reported as news- I can decide for myself. Many lawsuits are filed against/by any number of entities in the area. Most do not warrant reporting, that is the editorial process of determining importance of printing. Public offices holders/seekers should fully expect full reporting. That is the nature of the beast.Only point I prefer to be seriously considered carefully - is rather the given story is front page or buried elsewhere. Suicide (case in point) should be reported, just not on front page. Paper has always respected the deceased and family. Continue on printing the news.
It seems to me that there is a strong need for media reform, from Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and down to the country rural newspaper like VicAd. The Fourth Estate may not be perfect, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t seek perfection in the stories and articles. Since the County Judge election of 2010 was brought up, I’ll put myself in GREAT RISK in saying the following. If it is just and right to dived into the personal life of Matt Ocker the Republican candidate, then why not the Democratic candidate and that candidate’s problems? Love him or hate him, Ocker’s family didn’t deserve the hit piece.
During the whole UHV/Texas A&M story, I have yet to see the Victoria Advocate do a piece on campaign contributions State Rep Geanie Morrison received in prior elections. I have to add that A&M as well as Texas Tech donated money to the Morrison campaign in 2006 and 2008 I believe.
I have to agree with Edith Ann on the first baby story. Just because a family freely offered details that doesn’t mean a reporter should print any and everything that is stated. That story only serves to invite “soccer moms” and other people who have too much time on their hands to attack and flame the parents of that child.
The culture of journalism in the Western world, mainly here in America, needs to change. It is mile wide and an inch deep.
IMHO, I don't think any coverage should be reported until after the fact, because as you said, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.The general public will always make incorrect assumptions without all of the facts, and all of the facts are usually only brought to the forefront during a trial. Why try to sway public opinion about a doctor, or anyone for that matter? It is a reputation and career you are toying with.Save the analysis until after the trial.
Well, pardon me! It was never my intent to mess up your thread. I'll remove the offending posts.
ChrisYour paper did an outstanding job of providing the crucial facts in the county judge race...I wrote a blog supporting our newspapers for the good work. It was accurate and that's all I expect and want.
On another note; I read a lot of newspapers and you are the only editor that I have seen that will write a blog allowing posters to state their feelings about the decisions our newspaper makes.
You won't please everyone but I bet you already knew that.
Thought I had to say that..have a good evening.
A disproportionate part of the article was devoted to the allegation of malpractice on the part of a local professional. This calls into question the reputation of a local physician who, by the very nature of civil litigation, is limited in what she can say in her defense. Placing the article on the front page was very poor judgement. Any professional, particularly a physician, depends on their reputation as a means of earning a livelihood. Regardless of the outcome of this case, many people will remember the malpractice accusation, even if the case is resolved in favor of the physician. If this was to be noted at all in the Advocate, it merited nothing beyond a brief mention of the suit being filed and certainly not on the front page. I concur with the sentiments expressed by Dr. Vaughan in his letter to the editor. I would note that I am neither a physician nor employed in any manner in health care in Victoria.
I am pleased to see this topic on the agenda for your ethics board meeting, as it needs a thorough airing-out. If you could just stick to reporting the facts, presenting both sides of an issue even-handedly, and allowing your readers to draw their own conclusions, this would never have arisen.