The good, the bad and the critics
Bite my head off, why dontcha?Geez. Most of the time I love my job. As the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram, the Post Independent’s little sister weekly, Rifle-based paper, I get the privilege of putting together news for the small town where I live. My house and the newsroom are within three miles of the other. I love writing about my community, editing and managing this 103-year-old local newspaper. What could be better?Sometimes, though, it can be tough to answer the critics. Take, for example, the lady who called me today and left an answer on my voicemail during the two minutes I was away from my desk. Why’d she call? To complain about the “stupid person” (that would be me) who didn’t mention, in a blurb about the upcoming Rifle Rendezvous festival, that the word “rendezvous” is French.Well, duh. Bonjour. Let me back up. Now in its 10th year, the Rifle Rendezvous is a community festival. In all the promotional material about it, it’s always been spelled “Rendezvous” – until this year. Apparently, the poster makers decided to spell it “Rondevous.” So, in last week’s Telegram, I wrote a brief about it in our town-talk section: “The Rifle Rendezvous is coming up May 18-21, and posters are appearing all over town. You might have noticed a very unique spelling of the word ‘Rendezvous’ (on the poster, it’s spelled ‘Rondevous.’)”OK, nowhere in this missive was I focusing on word origin. It was all about word spelling. And yep, I know the word “rendezvous” is a French derivative (it originated in late 16th century France, French for “present yourselves!” – the imperative of se rendre, according to my old French textbook from college. But that wasn’t my point. My point was that, 10 years into our community festival, a poster company changed the spelling of our event. Kinda funny. Kinda quirky. No big deal. Rifleite June Renfro, who’s on the Rendezvous committee, laughed about the typo. She said locals have been pointing out the misspelling to her. “That’s fine with me,” June said. “It means they’re looking at the poster.” So now, out of a cute little story about a typo, someone calls me up and calls me a “dumb person.” And not only that, she also tells me she thought the name “‘Round Rifle,” is “dumb.” Wow. And a happy new year to you, too. I love what the 1979 Rifle Telegram wrote above each of its editorials: “Criticism should have as its motive that of making the community a better place to live.” Being a newspaper person puts me out there on the front lines, which means I’m always prepared to take the good and the bad. But golly. Lighten up a little, eh?Carrie Click, as she mentioned above, works at The Citizen Telegram, Rifle’s weekly paper. She wonders if her critic knows that the word “Rifle” has its origins in France as well. You can reach Carrie at 625-3245, ext. 101, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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