Because it was GivingTuesday, we asked for donations. Our goal was to raise $5,000, and nearly 60 people responded, allowing us to exceed our goal and thus receive a matching $5,000 gift from the Vancouver Audubon Society.
It was gratifying to read the comments that donors made on the site, givebutter.com/columbian.
“Thanks for all your hard work providing local journalism!” Kyle Potter wrote.
Debbie Townsend wrote, “Thank you to the newsroom staff for your courage and resilience.”
We should have done better
Of course, pride goeth before a fall. We stumbled on a story that appeared in print the very next day. We discussed it and found several things went wrong at various steps of writing, editing and illustrating the story. We have implemented some changes we think will prevent a similar series of errors.
The story reported the outcome of a civil rights case filed against Vancouver and its former police chief by a female police officer who had been passed over for promotion. After a 10-day trial, a federal jury found in favor partly for the plaintiff and partly for the city, and cleared the former police chief. Our original headline and online photo caption were inaccurate, and the story itself wasn’t very clear about the complicated verdict. We’ve since corrected it and extended our apologies to everyone involved in the story.
While I’m talking about things that could have been better, I liked everything in our Thanksgiving edition, except the outdated weather page. We put the Thursday paper together on Monday so that it could get on newsstands early, which was fine, but the Thursday weather page wasn’t available for obvious reasons. So we ran the most recent one we had, but it was out of date by the time many readers saw it. I think next year we’ll omit the weather page from the Thanksgiving print edition and put it in our e-paper, which we can do at the normal time Wednesday night.
Finally, this wasn’t actually a mistake, but a change that we ended up rolling back: At the very bottom of our home page, there’s a link that will take you to the vital statistics (births, marriage licenses and Superior Court sentences). We were trying to streamline the page and took the link out, assuming it wasn’t used by readers very often. Bad assumption! It’s back now.