Public Editor

Readers' thoughts about The Star and

Is A1 coverage ‘glorifying’ F. Glenn Miller Jr.?

Readers very often contact me with criticisms like this one I received from an emailer about today’s Page A1:

It would be very nice if The Star quit glorifying that nasty killer like you guys did, today, on page 1 of the April 15th edition. Please take his pics off the front page (or remove them forever) and put his info inside the paper. He and his ilk are probably reveling in The Star's coverage. He doesn't deserve this kind of attention.

The central image on the page is a photo of Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., also known as Frasier Glenn Scott, who is accused of capital murder and first-degree premeditated murder in shootings Sunday at two Jewish centers in Johnson County, Kan.

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By Derek Donovan. yesterday

When news looks like promotion

There’s an old saying some journalists are fond of: “News is what someone wants to suppress; everything else is advertising.” It’s stupid and wrong.

Of course there are plenty of stories that qualify as news that nobody would want to keep in the dark. But it’s also true that many people want reporters and photographers to tell their stories in the interest of self-promotion.

In fact, I can’t count the number of times readers have contacted me asking how they could get The Kansas City Star to “write an ad” about their business or a charitable campaign they’re undertaking.

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By DEREK DONOVAN. 3 days ago

Leftward-tilting letters to the editor

I’ve heard from two separate readers today about a concern that is voiced not infrequently at my lines: Why are there generally more letters to the editor from people on the left than those in the middle or on the right?

I have a lot of experience here, as I worked very closely with The Star’s letters editor for about eight years (though I no longer do). I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that part of the problem is simply that the department gets more letters from liberals — period.

And while I find it simplistic to say that the published output should reflect the proportions of what’s received, it isn’t unreasonable to say this should be at least one factor.

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By Derek Donovan. April 3

Is it always worth a correction?

The first caller I spoke to last Wednesday was laughing as I picked up the phone. “Why did (The Kansas City Star) feel like it was necessary to run this goofy correction today?” he asked between chuckles.

He was referring to a correction that day on Page A2 telling readers that a story about vintage toys in the FYI section last December used a photo of a Hot Wheels 1967 Mustang to illustrate a mention of a 1968 Camaro.

“Wouldn’t you say that’s a little bit trivial?” asked the reader. And I can’t say I disagree, particularly since the mistake occurred months ago.

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Why not name the restaurant in fugitive story?

“Why doesn’t The Star have the guts to say the guy who got picked up by the U.S. Marshal on the Plaza was in Fogo de Chao?” asked a caller this morning, echoing a question I heard from several others.

More than one suggested The Star was intentionally not naming the restaurant to avoid making its management or that of the Country Club Plaza unhappy.

I checked with the senior editor over the metro news operation, and he told me the decision before publishing the story early yesterday evening was a fairly simple journalistic call: The acting deputy U.S. Marshal who was the on-the-record source for the story declined to confirm the name of the restaurant, and they couldn’t find another source to cross-check it.

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By Derek Donovan. March 27

Two errors, but only one correction

An eagle-eyed reader caught two errors in today’s Sports Daily section in the print edition:

1. “The Buzz” reports on the Arnold Palmer Invitational — that “Luke” Scott did poorly on Sunday and was not able to retain his lead. I believe the reporter meant to say “Adam” Scott. I don’t know of any Luke Scott.

2. “Daily Data” (for the Arnold Palmer) lists Henrik “Stenso” which should have been “Stenson” — and there was plenty of room for his full name in the list.

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By Derek Donovan. March 24

Not a ‘former’ country club

I received a call today about an inaccuracy in a story that was particularly troublesome to interested parties.

The Homestead Country Club in Prairie Village is currently working to stave off a foreclosure by developers who want to use the prime land it occupies for a premium housing subdivision.

So it was unfortunate that a story in today’s 913 news magazine about candidates for city council mentioned one candidate’s thoughts on zoning and development, and referred to the “former Homestead Country Club.”

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By Derek Donovan. March 19

When two versions of a quotation don’t quite agree

When readers see quotation marks in The Kansas City Star, they generally expect the words between to be an exact representation of what was actually said. That’s hardly controversial.

Multiple readers contacted me on March 5 to point out a minor discrepancy between two different versions of the same quote in that day’s Sports Daily.

Writing about the previous day’s Royals preseason game against the Cincinnati Reds in Surprise, Ariz., Royals beat writer Andy McCullough quoted manager Ned Yost speaking about Danny Duffy’s performance:

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About the Blog

Derek Donovan is The Kansas City Star's public editor. This blog is a place for you to share your thoughts about how The Star and cover the news. If you share your name or other identifying information when speaking with Derek, he will never publish that information without your prior consent.

Derek has been with the paper since 1995, and he's also director of research and information. He contributes occasional reviews and other articles to the Features sections as well. The emphasis here is always on fairness and accuracy, but all sorts of other topics will come to the forefront, of course.

All Star journalists must follow The Star newsroom's Code of Ethics. The Star and are for you, and your insights help journalists bring you the news that you need to stay informed and engaged. Share your thoughts. Start a conversation.

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