A headline on the front page of the Friday edition of The Western News that should have read “inducted” instead made it to print with the word misspelled as “indicted.”
Friday morning, I saw the mistake in the E-edition, and immediately corrected the online version. But, the paper was already printed and delivered by that time.
There are walls in journalism classrooms covered with examples such as Friday’s headline. Despite how many times instructors and professors warned that all of us would one day make such an error, I had always wanted to be the exception. But, I still made that error, and I will cringe every time I remember it for the rest of my life.
In journalism, there are no “small” errors, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes I don’t relish recalling, from names misspelled, to photos where I put the wrong school year for the entire junior class at Troy High School — young men and women who I already knew many of them by name. As much as each mistake I have ever made makes my whole body clench up when I remember it, Friday’s headline is by far the most inexcusable oversight I have ever made as a journalist, in that it should have been very easily caught.
I have been told that while I was out Friday, several people came by the paper and had strong words regarding how they felt about my mistake. I wholly agree with the sentiments that were forwarded to me. I hesitate to say the headline was an embarrassment, as that word is not anywhere near to strong enough. Again, the mistake is mine, and as the editor, the final blame for any error that ever appears in your Western News falls squarely on me.
In this case in particular, I wrote the headline; I had the final eyes on the paper. There is no one else to blame but me.
And I also apologize that I was not present to hear your criticisms personally on Friday. I was absent from the office because our new reporter, Luke, recently had an accident that left him without a vehicle, and he and I spent a good part of the day towing his car to Kalispell to, hopefully, get that issue resolved. That is my duty to him. But, it is also my duty to our readers to be available to them, and I apologize for not being there.
Most of all, I want to apologize to the Riddles and the community as a whole for the error and for not catching it before it went to print.
As my mom has always told me, quoting Martin Luther, “To do so no more is the truest repentance,” and I very much believe that. So, we at The Western News will evaluate what happened with Friday’s paper that allowed such an obvious error to make it to print, and we will work to ensure against it happening again.
— Ben Kibbey, Editor