Improve the Star

On Sept. 8 the Star published half of a letter I had submitted, in which I complained about the quality of the newspaper, particularly its misleading headlines and poor copy editing. However, it failed to publish the second half of my letter, in which I offered a constructive suggestion.

I recommend that the Star establish an external panel of approximately 25 readers, each of whom will thoroughly read and critique the Star once per month. While these readers will not be expected to confirm the accuracy of reporting, they would be able to reveal grammatical mistakes, typos and misleading or erroneous headlines. I would be happy to serve as one member of such a panel.

On their assigned days, these panel members would provide the Star with a succinct list of the errors they found. These reports would be signed. The Star, in turn, would publish these lists daily in a special column established for this purpose (perhaps labeled “Errata” or “Readers’ Reports”).

Initially, I would expect reporters and proofreaders to be embarassed (sic) by having their mistakes published as such (even without personal attribution), but this should make them more careful in the future. Moreover, the publication of identified grammatical errors would be instructive not only for the writers who originally made them but also for the newspaper’s readership.

Thus, the policy I propose should result in both a better newspaper and a better-informed campus community. I urge you to give it serious consideration.

W. William Minor

Associate Professor and Chair