Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
It is great to see residents such as Leia Sober registering to vote. However, it is frightening to think that this voter was not aware that this was a primary election and the difference between a Primary and General election.
The writers of the Constitution expected an educated voter. I hope that before the General election all people intending to vote will read up on the referendums and study how the various candidates have voted/acted in the past as a guide to what their actions say versus all of the verbiage and junk mail being sent.
I feel compelled to write and voice my aversion to the headline in Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2010’s Post Independent titled “Garfield County sheriff, jail commander may be back in court next month” and included a lead off to the story “Former employee claims wrongful termination.” Although the body of the article is quick to point out that the lawsuit and alleged accusations surround the former jail commander, the headline is degrading and accusatory toward the current staff and their families.
There should be some forethought on behalf of the newspaper on how the headlines are constructed in order to avoid the unnecessary aspersion for the sake of selling papers and making a few dollars at the expense of those currently employed at the organization. To report the news accurately and without bias, the article’s headline should have included in the same large and bolded letters “former jail commander” or similar phrase so as not to bring discredit and undo reproach to the position.
As the “current” Jail Commander I can ensure the citizens of Garfield County that this type of behavior alleged to have occurred under the “former” jail commander’s leadership would not be tolerated. When I was appointed to the position of the jail commander by Sheriff Vallario, I had one major goal; not just to make the Detentions Division good, but to make the Division a professional example of how jails should be run across the state. As the entire organization moves toward this goal, these senseless and untenable headlines do nothing but restrict the forward momentum of our progress and bring undue dishonor when your readers fail to peruse further than the headline of your stories.
The Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics that indicates that journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. The same code of ethics also states “make certain that headlines, news teases, and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.” Unfortunately I believe that these important ethical points were missed during the headline selection for this article and hope that future articles will not contain the same unethical and out of context error for the sake of selling a few papers.
Stephen L. Hopple
Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
Editor’s Note: Mr. Hopple, you are correct about the headline misleading our readers. The headline should have said “former jail commander.” The headline that was used did misrepresent the facts of the story. Post Independent headlines are written by our copy editors and they should have been more diligent in their duties on Tuesday night. I would like to personally apologize for the error.
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