Pioneer apologizes for our oversight

April 22, 2016 Commentary, Editorials Print Print
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editorialFirst and foremost, we owe our readers, our college, and most importantly, one particular source a sincere apology.

The OCCC Pioneer staff is truely sorry.

You may have noticed that the OCCC Pioneer was not on the stands Friday morning, April 15.

LENORA-LaVICTOIRE

Lenora LaVictoire

Due to a hold-up by our printer, the Pioneer did not hit the stands until about noon.

Unrelated, this turned out to be to our advantage.

This is because in that edition of the Pioneer we inadvertently printed personal information in a photo.

We did not intend to include that information.

In order to be as clear and transparent as possible, I want to explain our mistake to our readers.

A News Writing student received a photo from the source. The source asked that student to obscure the information in the photo. On March 9, that student came to the Pioneer photographer, Melissa Sue Lopez, and asked her to digitally edit the photo. Melissa did, but neither she nor that News Writing student knew when the story would run. The edited version stayed in her possession alone. Melissa said that she remembers our faculty adviser, Sue Hinton, being there with the News Writing student; however, Professor Hinton does not recall this.

In a completely separate exchange, and not knowing that the News Writing student had a photo, Hinton contacted the source requesting a photo.

He sent her another completely different photo but did not mention that personal information was on it or ask her to obscure that information. Hinton sent that photo directly to our lab director, Jorge Kryzaniak, who helped lay out the page the photo was on.

On April 14, the Pioneer that would be coming out on Friday was peer-edited by all the staff at the Pioneer. Lopez happened to be out of the office that day and no one else at the Pioneer caught the mistake.

I was the last one to final proof Friday’s paper, and on Thursday the paper was sent to the printer.

As I mentioned above, the papers came to OCCC late on Friday.

Usually, they are being placed on the stands from 6 to 7 a.m. However, that day, they were placed on the stands between noon and 1 p.m.

At the weekly Friday Pioneer meeting, the error was brought up by Lopez around 2:30.

She told the rest of the Pioneer staff that this was not the right photo.

At that time the decision was made to leave the papers on the stands.

In retrospect, we know that this was the wrong decision to make.

We should have acted immediately to remove the papers.

We did not, and about two hours later,  other college staff removed them.

We owe great thanks to Rochelle Mosby, all of the student staff in the Arts Division office, Anne DeClouette, and the OCCC police officers who were there and acted quickly to help remove the papers on Friday.

The gentleman whose confidentiality was disclosed is being offered identity theft protection, the cost of which will be paid by the Pioneer.

The current Pioneer staff, including myself, will be making and collecting donations to repay the Pioneer.

As journalists, we know that the burden of truth lies on us. This is why we assume full responsibility for our error.

For more information or to contact the Pioneer about anything, please email editor@occc.edu.

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