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OPPrairie.com sound off

the orland park prairie | April 18, 2019 | 13

Social snapshot

Top Web Stories

From opprairie.com as of Friday, April 12

From the Editor

Everyone’s an editor (redux)

1. D135 superintendent quitting in June

but still on leave

2. 10 Questions with Luka Vukanic,

Sandburg boys volleyball

3. Curbside Spring Clean Up returns to

Orland Park

4. Mayor splits with trustees on ethics

ordinance revisions

5. Election 2019: Low voter turnout

in Cook and Will but Orland, Tinley

outpace averages

Become a Prairie Plus member: opprairie.com/plus

Donna McCormack, of Orland Park, posted

the accompanying photo Thursday, April

11, with the note, “Happy spring from Henry

McCormack and Happy National Pet Day to

the almost 9-month-old terror who is lucky

he’s so cute.”

Like The Orland Park Prairie: facebook.com/opprairie

“Great win tonight #CreatingACulture”

@SandburgLax — Sandburg girls

lacrosse, on Thursday, April 11

Like The Orland Park Prairie: facebook.com/opprairie

BILL JONES

bill@opprairie.com

There is an expression

used to deflect

negativity that says,

“Everyone’s a critic.”

The idea is that everyone

loves to comment on what

someone else is doing,

and it’s a lot easier to

make those critiques than

the actual doing of those

things.

Except, not everyone

is a “good critic.” There

are reasons Roger Ebert’s

name stood above the rest

in the world of film criticism.

And it wasn’t just

the television exposure.

He had an unparalleled

knowledge of film he

could apply to his commentary.

His personality

was evident in the work.

And he actually had the

experience of trying to

make a film of his own,

offering him an insider’s

understanding of the

process.

I didn’t always agree

with his reviews, but I

remember many of them

well. And I find myself,

to this day, unable to

separate Ebert’s insights

on certain films from the

films themselves. That’s

more than I can say for

your buddy’s hot take on

“The Last Jedi.”

I’ve said in the past that

everyone’s an editor, too.

But similarly, not everyone

is equipped to be a

“good editor,” and there

are a lot of bad takes out

there on what we do. Here

are a few.

• I got a voicemail late

on a Thursday that I came

in to hear Friday morning.

(The most passionate

in their commentary

love to call after hours

or on weekends to leave

courageously anonymous

voicemails.)

This one demanded we

hire a better proofreader,

because our cover story

on the Sandburg Senior

Seminar made a grave error.

It featured an author

visit from a “very famous

author” by the name of

Harlan Coben, as per

this caller, and we must

be idiots to think his last

name was spelled Cohen.

This was, she said, inexcusable.

We make mistakes, and

it never feels great to have

them called out. At least

on our side. Some readers

take a sick pleasure in

trying to prove us wrong,

apparently secure in the

infallibility of their own

job performances.

Except, we did doublecheck

our information.

And we had a photo to

help verify. And it was

not “very famous author”

Harlan Coben, but

(strange as it may sound)

author and columnist Harlan

Cohen who spoke to

the students. And I would

have (politely, despite the

venom in her assertion) let

this caller know personally,

but she neglected to

leave a name or number.

So, I’ll do it here instead.

• Another common

thing we see are people

who do not pay close

attention to the paper

reaching out to tell us

we failed to report on

something we definitely

wrote about a few weeks

back. Generally, that’s just

fine. I usually don’t read

newspapers (beyond ones

I manage) cover to cover.

I skip through to articles

that hold an interest, and

I’m bound to miss some

stuff in between. I don’t

expect folks to have an

encyclopedic knowledge

of our product.

But a few months back,

I got a call from someone

suggesting we explain to

readers how roundabouts

work because of the one

Orland Park got at 147th

Street and Ravinia Avenue.

She called later and

left a message to scold me

for daring to ask readers

to share their feedback

with the paper if I’m not

going to listen to them.

She recounted her idea.

The very idea I acknowledged

as a good

one and dedicated a whole

column space and photo to

shortly after she suggested

it, giving her extra-credit

for a suggestion that

wasn’t completely selfserving.

So, now I’m dedicating

some more column

space to her.

• Finally, if you don’t

want to subscribe for

our Plus program online,

cool. I get it. Everyone

has to make choices with

their money, and I’m not

arrogant enough to think

we’re the most important

thing to each and every

one of you. Maybe you

don’t need it. Maybe you

think you have better options

elsewhere. So, you

don’t buy it. Fine.

Why so many of you

feel the need to complain

and comment on it,

though, is beyond me. Do

you also walk into stores

feeling the need to declare

what you’re not going to

buy and tell employees

there it should be free?

A few of you, maybe,

but I’m going to guess

in general the answer to

that is no. More of you

are probably the type who

loudly declare in a movie

theater which trailers do

it for you and which ones

you’re definitely not going

to see. (No one cares).

And I get that news

readers have been conditioned,

in the age of

the internet, to expect

free content. But while

everyone thinks they’re

an editor, it’s a bit harder

to actually do the job than

you think. And it often

costs money to do good

journalism. Those who

do it well take the time

to learn about reporting,

work to acquire experience

in the business, come

to it with a particular

personality, and have an

ability to drop the type of

biases and personal interests

that drive most of the

comments we receive.

The results will never

be perfect. A particular

story might not be for you.

But so far this season,

your commentary track

on our work is flawed, at

best. I give it two thumbs

down.

Sound Off Policy

Editorials and columns are the

opinions of the author. Pieces

from 22nd Century Media are

the thoughts of the company

as a whole. The Orland Park

Prairie encourages readers to

write letters to Sound Off. All

letters must be signed, and

names and hometowns will be

published. We also ask that

writers include their address

and phone number for verification,

not publication. Letters

should be limited to 400

words. The Orland Park Prairie

reserves the right to edit letters.

Letters become property

of The Orland Park Prairie.

Letters that are published do

not reflect the thoughts and

views of The Orland Park Prairie.

Letters can be mailed to:

The Orland Park Prairie, 11516

West 183rd Street, Unit SW

Office Condo #3, Orland Park,

Illinois, 60467. Fax letters to

(708) 326-9179 or e-mail to

bill@opprairie.com.

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