Beth Alston: To err is human ….

Published 1:30 pm Saturday, August 27, 2016

In the business of newspapering, getting it right and on time are paramount. While getting the news out first is important, I would rather wait if necessary, and make sure it is factual. On the advertising side of the business, it is vital to be both timely and accurate.
Even though we strive for excellence every single day, even on the non-publication days, we are, after all, only human. And humans occasionally make mistakes or missteps. That is what happened earlier this week when a very important ad for the City of Americus was mistakenly left out of the newspaper.
I have apologized humbly to the mayor and pledged that I will do everything possible to make sure this does not occur again. I’m still a new publisher, relatively speaking. I racked up 30 years in the newspaper business before being named publisher a mere seven months ago. That is no excuse, but I take this mistake especially hard because it occurred on my watch.
The Americus Times-Recorder, now in its 136th year as the primary news source in this community, takes its role as a community leader very seriously. That is why we are members of local Chambers of Commerce, and civic and service organizations. That is why we allow free space for churches to have their news published, and that is why we trumpet the successes of our local school systems and businesses. That is why we are your newspaper.
We also pride ourselves on being human, in that we possess compassion, sympathy, and empathy with and understanding of the people, places, institutions, and events we cover. After all, we believe that our customers — readers and advertisers — would much rather have us than a group of robots running their community newspaper.
I do not intend to dwell on this grave mistake. I do intend to move forward. This is not the first mistake to be made in publishing history, nor will it be the last. I am just sorry it happened to us.

Beth Alston, an award-winning journalist, is editor and publisher, Americus Times-Recorder. Contact her at or 229-924-2751, ext. 1004.