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Editor confesses and comes clean

From the Editor's Notebook

April 8, 2013
by Chuck Hunt - Register Editor (chunt@faribaultcountyregister.com) , Faribault County Register

Some folks thought our story last week about the Wells city administrator being fired was our annual April Fools Day prank.

Really?

Wow, I am just not sure we are quite that bold to have that kind of bombshell news item as our annual April falsehood.

Although, I am sure that Steve Bloom might have been wondering if the council would come back and tell him "April Fools!" after delivering the news of their decision to terminate his employment.

No, if you read to end of every story last week, it was the feature on the front page dealing with finding reels of old movies in the basement of the Avalon building reels that might be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Pay attention now: it was not true. It was false, a lie, and mostly all made up.

What is true is that director Stanley Kubrick did recall those two movies from theaters and made cuts or additions and then re-released them.

And, there is indeed a false floor in the Avalon building, built over the sloping former theater seating area.

And yes, it was used for storage at one time.

But, sadly, no leftover movie reels were found in the Avalon building that will help pay for either its cost of being demolished or cover it being renovated back to former glory.

It was a lie.

Even the picture of Blue Earth city administrator Kathy Bailey holding the reels of film inside the Avalon building was false. All done through the magic of Photoshop.

She was standing in the building, but the reels were added later.

This means we broke two cardinal rules of good newspaper journalism last week.

First, we knowingly and willfully ran a story that was completely false. That is an absolute no-no in the newspaper biz.

Secondly, we manipulated a photo using the magic of Photoshop.

In newspaper editorial staff rooms, that too, is a major no-no.

Yes, for some feature stories or advertisements, we do alter, adjust and improve pictures. But, for our news photos, we try and keep the pixels the same as what they started out as.

In other words, what you see in the paper is what the photographer was seeing.

In this case, Kathy Bailey was indeed inside the Avalon building. That is indeed the condition of the soon to be demolished building in the background.

But, she is not holding any reels. She is not actually holding anything.

So there you have it, "True Confession" time. We out-and-out told a bald-faced lie.

It isn't the first time.

This April Fools story idea has been around the Register office for many years.

But, for the first time ever, one of our made-up fictional foolish stories might just come true.

Last year's story was about the Green Giant statue having to be moved because the City Council and the fair board could not come to terms on a land swap deal.

Now, a full year later, they still can't.

Next thing you know, the Giant will be headed to his new home in Putnam Park, and our crazy year-old story will no longer have "April Fools!" attached to the end of it.

Now that would be foolish.

 
 

 

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