When the initial draft of the article “No to Movember” published in Vol. 32, Issue 11 of The Link wound up in my inbox, it didn’t sit well with me.
I had an uneasy gut feeling about it, but nonetheless proceeded to do what I do when I read every opinions piece submitted to me—push my personal feelings aside.
I do this because as the editor of the opinions section I think it is crucial to retain the ability to publish articles that argue a point-of-view other than my own—my job is by no means to be a gatekeeper who exercises the authority to determine which opinions are “good” or “bad.” Whether or not an article jives with my ideological standpoint is an irrelevant factor in determining whether or not it makes it to print.
That said, it is my job to ensure that anything and everything printed in my section is well written, structured and factually accurate. My job is to hold my writers to high standards—just as it is the job of all of the other section editors to do the same.
This past week, I let an article go to print that fell short of those standards and should not have allowed “No to Movember” to be published—at least, not as it appeared on the page last week.
For that, I apologize.
While the emotions and opinions expressed in the piece are evidently unpopular and may be controversial, they are not the reason I am writing this apology. They are not libelous, defamatory, or considered to be hate speech, and therefore do not provide sufficient basis for a retraction. But I acknowledge that the article itself was not fit for print, due to the way in which it was written.
A newspaper opinions piece should be factually based and complete with substantiated evidence in support of the author’s viewpoint. In this respect, the article was more rhetorical than it was journalistic—a shortcoming I should have caught and either stopped or fixed.
Additionally, prostate cancer is a sensitive subject and one that has personally affected a lot of people. I should have ensured this was taken into consideration when I approved the words and tone used to discuss it.
I would like to extend an apology to anyone, especially those affected by prostate cancer, who was hurt by this article. I would also like to apologize to our readers who hold The Link to a higher standard and were disappointed in the quality of content they received last week.
I assure that neither myself, nor The Link’s editorial staff, had any malicious or hurtful intentions in publishing this article. I can also assure you that this has been an educational experience for all of us, and that something like this does not happen again.
— Opinions Editor
Endorsed by The Link’s Masthead
More online from Alex Manley here.