Paul Valencia: We want to hear from you, even about errors

Commentary: Paul Valencia



Mistakes happen.

Anyone who has been associated with high school sports knows they happen.

A dropped ball, a missed tackle, errant throw, or a wrong turn.

And there’s not a thing you can do about them, but shake them off and try not to make the same mistake again.

And we at The Columbian know this all too well, also.

I bring this up at the beginning of another high school sports year to remind folks that we will make mistakes from time to time, and we want to know when we do, so we can make the necessary corrections.

We’re a phone call away. An e-mail. Find me on Twitter.

There are thousands of varsity athletes in Southwest Washington, all with a story to tell. Which is another reason for writing this at the start of a school year. We encourage coaches and athletic directors to look out for interesting angles.

We also want to learn about story ideas from readers. Like clockwork after every sports season, we get calls from readers wondering why we didn’t write the story of Athlete X, who did this remarkable thing a month or so ago. Maybe because we didn’t know?

Not every idea becomes a story. But maybe it can be a quick note. Or something we publish on our blog. The worst that could happen is we reply to the e-mail with a no thank you.

We also want to know when we get a name wrong a name. Again, with so many names, we’re going to miss some from time to time.

Often, it’s a bad roster, or a miscommunication from a coach to the reporter on the phone taking the call.

While the print product is permanent, we can make immediate corrections online. This past week, I re-wrote a sentence in one of my football stories, trying to improve a line.

Instead, I butchered it, writing Trappers when I meant Spudders. A friendly reader left a comment online to note the error. She didn’t threaten to stop reading us. She didn’t call me a horrible name. She just wanted to make sure we saw it.

The mistake was fixed.

So like I said, mistakes happen. But please believe me, we never get a name wrong, or omit names, on purpose.

And no one is immune to falling victim to an error.

Just this past spring, we got the wrong first name of an athlete who just happens to be the son of the owner of the newspaper.

Think we did that on purpose?

Paul Valencia covers high school sports for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at Follow him on Twitter at