Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Editors should not berate

In last week's edition of The Gray News, Hon., Cliff Foster sent in a letter referring to citizen referendums. Often in the past, when a letter writer stated something with which Editor Ray Clark did not agree, he would attach a rejoinder appended to the conclusion of the writer's letter.

Editors in most newspapers of stature do not condone this practice. Good editors refrain from involvement and allow the citizens to have their say. If there is a severe misunderstanding of a point an editor had made, a private phone call is a more respectful way to learn more about the letter writer's thoughts and share his own.

However, to make matters worse, if the letter writer states an opinion contrary to one that Clark holds, Clark's appended comment will be snide, condescending, derisive, or just plain mean. Sometimes all at once.

That practice is never done by professional editors. It is journalistic abuse of the highest order to use the newspaper to berate contributors.

Clark has not done that for a while, but last week he showed that he still has a temper and an immature streak that prevents him from professional restraint. He chose to abuse his position by stating the following after Foster's letter:

"I did not state that 'citizen referendums are not necessary'; Mr. Foster must have dreamed that notion."

Editor Clark should immediately do three things:

1. Apologize to Mr. Foster, who took time to contribute his thoughts to Clark's paper
2. Stop deriding letter writers in print
3. Learn how not to take things personally. Having a reflexive negative emotional response to letters is a recipe for a heart attack, demonstrates lack of professionalism, and injures the reputation of a fine industry: newspaper editing.

Editors should be respectful of their readers, thankful that citizens read the paper and contribute their thoughts (and ads), and grateful that they have an opportunity to serve their citizens.

Mr Clark is none of those things and that is why he is a disrespectful, immature, unprofessional editor.


  • Oh ... don't we know it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 PM  

  • I saw Mr. Clark today and he snubbed us. I have little respect for his journalist aptitude but would be courteous to him. Apparently he doesn’t have the same civility.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 PM  

  • Ray Clark has NO journalistic abilities, and should not be associated with any newspaper, period!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:28 PM  

  • Is this all you know how to do here--is breed hate and discontent?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:20 PM  

  • commenting on how an editor put a letter writer down and defending the principles of free speech without derision is 'breeding hate and discontent'? Wow.

    Have you seen Debbie Shaw Mancini's new blog where the council is depicted in a photo as the KKK? I think you have your hate and discontent mixed up.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 12:26 PM  

  • One line of clarification does not equal berating or putting a letter writer down

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:20 PM  

  • I got a chill down my spine when I read that comment.... it's actually called "chilling effect" when a newspaper does that - because the ultimate effect is to prevent other people from questioning him.

    Remember, Clark gets the last word, always.

    does he encourage or discourage free speech when he does this?

    If Clark feels that a comment isn't true, he's duty bound to research it, and decide whether to print it. Whoever it's about. Not use the letters in a way that allows him to make a point. That's not the point.

    they don't have so many letters anymore... Think that's why?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:31 AM  

  • years ago I wrote letters to the Gray news.

    I stopped that several years ago and will never write to them again.

    Clark is not respectful of writers.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:28 PM  

  • Read the Portland press herald editorial on their web site
    go to Thursday Nov 2nd and read the papers editors comments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:18 PM  

  • Has anyone seen the cover page of the Gray News? It's amazing to me that the board continues to allow him to LIE. Anyone close to this issue knows;
    1) The council voted BEFORE the dispatchers quit and changed to the county last week BECAUSE they quit.
    2)Substitute dispathers we're available...from the county dispatch
    3) Donnie Carrol requested the petition himself but had his father pick it up.
    4)Robert Carroll is NOT a member of the Public Safety Committee.
    5) Rescue Services will be INCREASED by going to county (example: ALL 911 calls currently go to county and NOT Gray. They had to be forwarded from the county to Gray increasing the time for 911 calls)
    I am convinced you can trust nothing in this paper as being truthful. It's one thing to to give an opinion, it's entirely another unacceptable thing to lie in the paper...knowingly!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:28 PM  

  • I think Ray Clark's ugly politics, lying comments, unprofessional editorials, unethical behaviour, and lack of journalism expertise, should be enough to 'Fire' him from the Gray News. Enough-is-Enough!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 PM  

  • Well, Praise The Lord! Gray News will now be operating under the guidance of Windham Independent! It won't take them too long to realize what an OLD..STUBBORN..and LAZY editorial writer Ray Clark IS! He'll soon 'Be Gone' and we'll not have to endure anymore Lies, Unprofessional Editorials, and Unethical Behaviour! His Lack of Journalistic Experience will Speak for Itself!! Amen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:41 PM  

  • Maybe someone should 'wake up' Windham Independent! I Can't Believe THEY are giving Ray Clark Editorial Space!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:28 AM  

  • Usually when one company takes over another they keep the same folks on, it's important at first to present a smooth transition to the public and oftentimes that includes the comfort of the same bylies and same folks behind the paper.

    My bet is that Mr. Clark will see the transition through and then leave soon enough.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 11:07 AM  

  • I agree! Ray should realize right away that this transition is 'way-over-his-head' and his capabilities!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 PM  

  • I think the 'Lightbulb came on'..Ray Clark is RETIRING!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 PM  

  • What will it take for Alison Libbey to realize her credibility is Gone; and she should 'Be Gone' from our Council..immediately!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:21 PM  

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