Doing a balancing act with opinions

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 1, 2003

&uot;Do you work for the city?&uot; &uot;Was that your opinion in the paper last week or did Mr. O’Grady write that for you?&uot; &uot;We’re your parents married?&uot;

That’s a sampling of some of the sarcastic comments readers have e-mailed or snail-mailed me in the past week in reference to my comments on the Obici Hospital board’s decision to destroy the old hospital compound on North Main Street, rather than sell to a group that wanted to least it out for offices.

One of our carriers in a recent letter to the editor, even wrote that we are a city-owned newspaper. That was my favorite.

Email newsletter signup

None of that’s true, of course. Not that it would be such a bad thing – as a department head, I’d be making pretty good money.

I’ve been here about two and one-half years and during that time the News-Herald has editorially opposed, or I’ve personally ridiculed, the city on a wide array of issues. A few that come immediately to mind are the planning commission coup d’etat, the Mattanock Town negotiations, the wharf hotel financing, luxurious retreats, raising property taxes, and on and on.

However, in a city with as many issues as Suffolk has – issues that spring from its government’s consistently pro-active policies – there are bound to be some on which we agree. Out of fairness, it’s as important that we laud those efforts as loudly as we lambaste the ones on which our opinions may differ.

Granted, there are times when I’ve been guilty of going overboard in praising a move out of fear of being branded unfair. It’s a fine line we walk in this business. We are at an unfair advantage as far as having our opinion publicized and fairness is priority number one at the News-Herald.

Just this past week I had to explain to one of our employees that most people don’t buy ink by the barrel, and as such we don’t take cheap shots. So yes, we’re guilty at times of seeking out the good in people and where some people are concerned, it’s not easy.

And when it comes to things written on this page, these are not facts, or the final word on any issue. These are merely opinions and, in the case of this space, the opinion of a C+ student. I’d guess there’s about 50 percent chance that my opinion is wrong.

So with that being said, if you disagree with something that appears here, feel free to offer your opinion. As long as it is not libelous, we’ll be happy to publish it.

As for the queries from our readers, I do not work for the city, Mr. O’Grady did not ghost write my opinion and Mom and Dad were married.

If you want to discuss any of this further, just leave me a message at City Hall.

Andy Prutsok is the editor and publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald.