Published January 01, 2006
Got a question or complaint? We'll have answers for you
Executive Editor Vickie Kilgore: Today The Olympian introduces a new feature at theolympian.com.Ask the Editors gives you direct access to newsroom editors. If you have a question about articles, photographs or newsroom operations follow the link and send us your question. A team of editors has been designated to find the answer for you and publish it on this page.To open the dialogue today Ill start with an answer to a question I often get from readers. How do you choose which stories to publish?As a community newspaper The Olympians mission is to focus on local issues, content readers typically can find nowhere else. National and world issues have a presence but do not dominate our pages because information on those topics can be found at hundreds, if not thousands, of other print publications and Web sites.Editors make decisions daily on how to use staff resources and available space based on local topics that research has identified as high interest subjects for our readers: state government, environment, outdoors, education, public safety, health, things to do. These topics get priority treatment.Last week criminal justice reporter Scott Gutierrez broke news about the arrest of a British Columbia man suspected of videotaping boys in a shower at a wrestling tournament in Tumwater. At least one reader felt we were sensationalizing the news by publishing that story as the top headline on the front page. I and other editors considered the issue one of public safety, particularly for our children, and one that parents need to be aware of. It was important for us to get their attention. The headline and high visibility we gave the story did that.Editors walk a fine line in deciding how much detail to include in stories like this one -- enough to convey the serious nature of the alleged offense but not enough to become lurid. We also weigh the impact on the suspect and the victims against the publics right to know. If charges are dropped or the suspect acquitted we will give that story equal treatment. Knowledge is power and we feel keenly our responsibility as journalists to arm our readers with power.At the same time we want to do more to share our decision-making processes with you. I hope you will take advantage of the invitation we extend with this new feature and Ask the Editors.