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David Bailly, Published March 24 2012

Front page ‘marry herself’ article a new low for Forum ‘news’ staff

The Forum reached a new low on March 16 when it chose to headline the front page with an article about a woman who decided to marry herself.

This was the first article I have seen from writer Tammy Swift since you moved her from the features section to the news department. Is it any wonder that people around the country think of us in Fargo as “hicks” and “yokels” when we produce “news” like this?

I may be way off base, but when I pick up the paper in the morning, I want to see stories on the front page of the newspaper about serious issues in the area, the country and the world – the Red River Diversion, the Iran nuclear threat, local and national politics, the “Fighting Sioux” nickname controversy (no, there has already been too much of that), regional and federal economic information, the potential for serious drought in the valley, important factors about education in our area and how the latest Twitter that went “viral” created a celebrity out of my neighbor’s pet that sleeps in a unusual position.

I think your relatively new SheSays section would have been a perfect location for this article, although I am not sure about that, since I have not ever read a single article in that section. I choose not to recognize segments of the media that I consider to be demeaning to men and/or women.

If it had been a part of SheSays, though, I would have never seen the article nor felt compelled to write this letter.

My complaint has nothing to do with the woman who decided to confirm her independence with a ceremony in which The Forum reported that she “exchanges vows with herself.” My criticism relates to the staff of the newspaper entrusted with the decisions about what is newsworthy for your customers and the rest of the electronic world.

I wish the woman who married herself good luck in the future. She will have some serious decisions to make in the coming years, like whether to file her personal income tax returns as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.”