Off The Press

March 2, 2009

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Kathleen R. Merrill Press Editor

Kathleen R. Merrill Press Editor

Is a cartoon that’s not funny really a mistake?

In the newspaper business, if you make a mistake, people will let you know. And although I don’t know that I would classify last week’s cartoon (of Ken Griffey Jr. as being old) as a mistake, I did hear from a number of readers who were unhappy, upset and, in some cases, downright irate about the drawing.The reference to Depends especially riled some folks. Maybe because I’m not what I’d call old yet, I didn’t see the offense. (Although I have to say that even if I were wearing a Depends undergarment while looking at it, I still don’t think the cartoon would’ve offended me.) But we certainly wouldn’t hurt a reader’s feelings on purpose.

The intent of the cartoons and everything else on this page is to provoke discussion and get people thinking about things that are going on around them.

That’s why the page is called Opinion. May not be my opinion; may not be yours. But everything on this page is someone’s opinion, and each one hopefully makes you think, wonder or learn about or discuss happenings and issues.

Of course, I am glad for and sincerely appreciate all feedback, positive and negative, from our readers.

Now, just in case you think we run everything on the Opinion page that we get, we don’t. We have policies about letters, including that they can’t be mean-spirited. Of course, what you think is mean might be far different than what I think is mean. But I’m telling you about this policy to show you that we do consider all things; we don’t just slap them on the page randomly.

Speaking of opinions, have you seen our comment sections on our recently redesigned Web page? I’m really enjoying some of the comments readers make. Then again, some aren’t getting approved, and it’s my job to decide which ones do and don’t.

(Now, go read a story at, add your comment about the subject and then come back and finish this column.)

Take a recent comment filled with curse words from an anonymous reader. First, I would never run a comment from someone who doesn’t put his or her name, just like we don’t run letters to the editor without a name. Second, the comment was directed at a subject in a story. Spirited discussion is one thing, but I would never allow a comment from someone attacking someone else.

Now, let’s move on to more positive things.

Our sports editor, Bob Taylor, has returned to work after a nearly 10-month absence. We had a little party for him here today, even though we were on deadline to get this paper finished. Our cartoonist drew an awesome sketch that we will likely share in this space when Bob writes his column about coming back to this wonderful city.

We know readers missed him, because we heard from them nearly every week he was gone. We know how much people care about sports in this city and we did everything we could to do things well in Bob’s absence.

In fact, we do everything we can every week to give you the best paper we can. We try to get to everything you want us to, and we try to get everything right every time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. We are human and we do make mistakes, and the reasons for those are as varied as the mistakes themselves.

However, we’ll keep trying to be perfect. Please keep reading your Issaquah Press and giving us your feedback. That’s how we get better, learn and grow.

Reach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392-6434, ext. 227, or

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