Friday, February 13, 2009

Bodies Controversy

The call or e-mail of disapproval from the outside is never fun for a reporter to receive.

That’s because many of them carry animosity, and sometimes, downright rudeness. But it can’t be all glowing compliments, and to some extent, that’s what we signed up for.

Another thing you sign up for as a reporter is the opportunity to be critiqued by tens of thousands, in our case, and anyone with access to the World Wide Web.

Your words will be broken down like a power forward trying to man-up a speedy point guard.

On one hand, it’s nice to be held to such high standards of grammar, ethics, reasoning and overall professionalism. On the other, that tends to let some forget that you’re, you know, human.

Either way, if you get called out on a mistake, particularly one you can admit was unnecessary, you’ve got to own up to it.

That’s what THIS reporter is doing on THIS post.

I used a phrase in this story about the recent Lubrizol layoffs that angered some of the employees who continue to work there. Here’s what we’re talking about:

(Corporate Communications Senior Manager Julie Young) said the company might consider more budget reductions in the future if the business climate worsens, but hours and pay would be considered before removing bodies.

The complaints centered around the ‘removing bodies’ part, mostly to say that the workers there aren’t just bodies, but dear friends and providers for their families. What’s more, Young endured some criticism because her name appears next to it.

She didn’t deserve it at all. That’s why I told her she could give any of the angered my contact information to further discuss it. After all, she was paraphrased by me, not directly quoted.

The fact is, a better term could have and should have been used. In case everyone didn’t get to speak to Young, I, once again, extend my apologies to anyone who took offense.

In reality, it was an attempt to interject some new terminology into what seemed like layoff story #3,647 in the past six months. It wasn’t a great attempt, and I was made aware of that.

Next time — and this economy ensures there will be a next time — I’ll try harder.

It’s the human thing to do.

-- Brandon C. Baker

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