Our bad

Published 8:11 am Saturday, February 14, 2009

We devote a fair amount of ink on this page to illuminating the mistakes of others.

It’s only fair to acknowledge when we make one ourselves.

As several readers pointed out in phone calls and e-mails, the lead headline in Friday’s edition was misleading. “IP plans to stop work” failed to convey the temporary nature of the work stoppages and machine shutdowns that Franklin’s paper mill will experience in the weeks ahead.

The much-smaller subtitle — “Temporary move lays off workers, halts 2 machines” — added the proper context, and the story itself was accurate, but we accept the fact that many readers in this fast-paced society rely on the main headline to give them the gist of a story. Though a headline, subtitle and story function as a package, each element must stand the test of accuracy and fairness.

The headline in question was flagged as questionable during our internal vetting processes but slipped through the cracks.

The intent was not malicious but rather the product of a deadline rush.

Furloughs and machine shutdowns at our community’s largest employer are big news. The story received the prominence it deserved on the front page.

But the headline, taken alone, exaggerated the situation. In these challenging times, when our readers are jittery and worried about our community’s economic health, the newspaper must be careful not to create unnecessary panic.

To those who were misled by Friday’s headline, we sincerely apologize.