Way To Stay Classy McPherson Sentinel

I would just like to give a big bravo to The McPherson Sentinel, which is the almost-daily newspaper serving McPherson, Kan.

This GateHouse Media newspaper simply outdid itself.

In Wednesday’s “ Year In Review,” The Sentinel made an incredibly tacky move.

They chose to use the December case of 16-year-old Olivia Nicole Stucky, of Moundridge, Kan., as one of their top stories of the year.

That story entails a young girl going missing for two and a half day before being found dead in her car. A suicide note was also found, but a cause of death has not yet been determined.

Way to go, Sentinel.

Glorify the idea of suicide.

But if it isn’t bad enough that the paper is bringing up something that is still quite painful for Moundridge, the evidence of which can be seen painted in shoe polish on car windows, The Sentinel didn’t even get her name right.

In the story both in print and online, Stucky was referred to as “16-year-old Nicole Stucky,” which is wrong.

Her first name was Olivia, not Nicole!

I would like to point the finger at one reporter, but this mistake can only be attributed to the entire staff as the story carried a “Sentinel Staff” byline.

I’m friends with some of the people who work at The Sentinel, and I would have expected more out of them.

Alas, this is just another reason why the GateHouse Media company is in trouble.

Nobody is infallible, and no newspaper is ever going to be mistake free; however, if a news organization is going to report on something this sensitive, the reporters working on it had better make damned certain they have everything right.

Mistakes such as this one are the kinds that destroy credibility, and since GateHouse papers aren’t doing so well anyway, now is not the time to lose any drop of that precious trustworthiness.

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About toddvogts 773 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at www.toddvogts.com and follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/toddvogts.

1 Comment

  1. Are they glorifying it or are they simply taking a story that was the most talked about story of the year and stating that fact? I’ve always figured news is news whether we approve of it or not. Suicide is one subject, however, that runs a fine line and has caused much debate within our industry.
    They shouldn’t be getting names wrong though.

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