Setting the record straight, or something like that
We tell the truth at the Post Bulletin, and you can count on that.
I've been getting fan mail recently.
Well, I've been getting emails from people who have issues with what I've written. But they read my stories first, so I'm calling them fans because having fans makes me feel special.
Though, honestly, maybe the word "fan" is a bit of a stretch.
This week, you saw the story about my daughter and me hitting the dusty – and snowy – trail to look for golden eagles as part of the National Eagle Center's annual survey of the raptor species.
What you haven't seen is the responses I got from those fans. Some, and this is mainly from the folks at the National Eagle Center, offered their unflinching praise and gratitude, something I'm happy to get.
However, one reader, a gentleman named Jerry, thought I might have misidentified the bird I saw. You see, the goal was to find golden eagles. Which I did. But golden eagles look similar both the juvenile bald eagles and something called a rough-legged hawk. We published a photo of one of the golden eagles – actually, several of that same eagle – but Jerry had his doubts. Rough-legged hawks, he said, live in Minnesota during the same time golden eagles are here.
I had the benefit of seeing the bird other than those moments caught by camera, so I'm sticking with my story, but in the interest of full disclosure, there's a possibility the birds I saw were not golden eagles.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
We work hard to tell the truth here at the Post Bulletin. So, while I've done my mea culpa for golden eagle-gate, I may as well come clean on other stories.
On Jan. 13, I wrote a story about the division on the Winona County Board of Commissioners.
A nice man named Brian – I have a soft spot for other Brians – wrote to tell me I was not fair to the members of the county board who represent the city of Winona. He said I'd given a little too much ink to Commissioner Marcia Ward who, along with Commissioner Steve Jacob, often finds herself on the short end of 3-2 votes by the five-member board.
Well, I did give Ward more of an opportunity to speak. First, she's the board chairwoman, so that's my usual go-to for questions. Second, she actually answered her phone when I called. None of the other three did so or called me back.
So, "other" Brian, I did try calling, but sometimes I have to quote who answers the phone.
My Big Mistake
For about an hour Tuesday we had a story online about Wabasha hiring a new city administrator.
Only they hadn't.
I relied on minutes from city council meetings – both in Wabasha, and from the town where the almost-hire came from – to write my story on Monday. Since Monday was a holiday, there was no one available in either city for me to talk to, and I made the decision to rely on those meeting minutes. What I missed is the minutes for the later meeting saying the candidate did not pass a background check. So, the city is still waiting for a new city administrator. The story was removed from the PB's website about an hour after it appeared there.
See, I'm all about telling the truth, so I'm glad people are reading to keep me honest here.
Regional Reporter Brian Todd covers Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona and Houston counties along with some cities in Olmsted County. In the After Deadline column every Thursday, he shares behind-the-scenes tales from the newsroom.