Matt Von Pinnon, Published August 22 2010
Von Pinnon: Readers’ response large; bankruptcy decision soonTwo months ago, I wrote a column seeking reader feedback on this question:
Is there value in us publishing bankruptcy filings?
I had hoped to share back in short order a few of the responses from our large audience.
But we were not prepared for the volume of response that question generated.
We received dozens of phone calls and more than 100 letters or notes on the subject, which prompted us to re-examine The Forum’s long tradition of publishing this information.
I have shared the reader correspondence with my boss, Publisher William C. Marcil, and we are discussing whether or not to continue the practice.
We expect to announce a decision in this very space in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, we’re dedicating today’s Page C6 to just a sampling of the written correspondence we received on the subject.
As you will see, there are compelling arguments for and against publishing this publicly available information, just as there are good arguments for and against publishing other kinds of public data.
In the original column, I shared stories of the anguish two separate people shared with me knowing news of their bankruptcy would soon be published in our paper.
One man committed suicide a day after pleading with me to leave his filing out of the paper. His dying, elderly mother had given him her life savings to start a business that failed, and he hadn’t told her. He wanted her to die thinking he was a success.
We know information is powerful, and we don’t take our responsibility lightly. No matter what we decide on this issue, be assured that we heard our readers loud and clear.
A look at our interns
Every year, The Forum welcomes several summer interns into its newsroom.
It’s a long and proud tradition that serves our paper and our profession well. In fact, our industry considers Forum internships among the best anywhere because we don’t coddle our interns. We put them to work doing what we do every day. It’s the only way to learn.
Here are some new names you may have seen in The Forum this summer:
- Chris Franz, a photojournalist and senior at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
- Emily Hartley, a reporter and a sophomore at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. She graduated from West Fargo High School.
- Sherri Keaton, a reporter and a senior at Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant.
- Andi Murphy, a reporter and senior at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.
Just as they learn from us, we learn from them, and it’s rewarding to know they will be great contributors no matter where they land.
And sometimes they come back or continue working for us, as evidenced by the many former interns working in our newsroom today, including yours truly.
Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum. Reach him at (701) 241-5579.