'All right, mistakes have been made' - Denny Scott editorial
Eagle-eyed readers of last week’s issue of The Citizen likely noticed that a story from page one regarding COVID-19 statistics in Huron-Perth didn’t continue over to page two as intended and that mistake was on me.
I’m not trying to dodge it – as George Carlin’s Cardinal Glick said in the classic Kevin Smith film Dogma, “All right, mistakes have been made.”
However, that doesn’t mean it has to be all shame and seeking forgiveness, it also presents an opportunity to address the problem, figure out why it happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
As for the why, well that’s probably tied to the fact that I’m not in the office. With the closure of local public schools to in-person instruction, I’ve been working at home for a month now (though it definitely seems longer). I’ve been working throughout the day while at the same time trying to keep my four-year-old daughter invested in her Junior Kindergarten education.
While you might think that would be a stumbling block to being a small-town journalist, the lockdown has seen to it that
I’m really not missing much. Normally, I’d be out taking pictures of events, but they aren’t happening, and as an editorial department we decided that in-person interviews wouldn’t be wise, especially given the strong stance we’ve taken supporting the stay-at-home initiatives.
As a result, I’ve been doing interviews over the phone, sitting at a computer and typing as much as possible, which wouldn’t be any different than if I was at work. While it’s been a struggle, I have to admit, writing this on Friday, I’m glad my wife can walk to work and I’m working from home because it means I can take my time getting the driveway clean of the snow that accumulated over the past couple days.
Back on point, however, the only thing that’s required significant changes is how the editorial department lays out the newspaper. Working from home means that the normal conversations my editor Shawn and I would have over the work intercom are instead being done by e-mail and text message which, as we found out last week, aren’t perfect.
I missed some information in one of the dozens of e-mails sent back and forth which is what led to the continuation from the front page not carrying over as it should. That was my mistake and one that should not have happened. Nothing can be gained from mistakes without first admitting they happened, so that’s what I’ve done since the error came to light: admitted it and tried to find a way to prevent it from happening in the future.
It’s important that people are held responsible for their mistakes. However, it's also important to not attribute problems to people who aren’t responsible for them.
I suppose it’s fortuitous that this mistake happened when it did because the full story is available on our website, at huroncitizen.ca, and because mistakes are kind of a common theme in our country right now.
Whether it’s the mistake of a local council member tying an asset management contribution to a divisive project (instead of just saying, we need more money for asset management) or whether it’s our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau having to shoulder the blame for problems with the COVID-19 vaccines, there are plenty of opportunities for growth.
On that latter issue, however, we also have to remember that not everything is the fault of Trudeau when it comes to the vaccines: the producers of that miracle drug are also to blame.
Yes, Canada is ranked 20th in the world in terms of delivered vaccines and yes, it’s hard to see how the federal government will hit its goal of vaccinating everybody who wants one by September, but not all of that is on Trudeau’s plate.
The suppliers of the COVID-19 vaccines across the world are facing troubles with demand and supply so only some of the fault in low vaccination rates are on the shoulders of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (or leaders of the European Union, for example, who are also facing some questions about supplies from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca).
Even our Premier Doug Ford, who, as a Conservative, could be expected to blame Trudeau, said that Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, has let Canada down.
“I know the federal government is trying and they’re doing everything,” he said in a recent press conference. “Pfizer has let us down tremendously…. They have an obligation to meet the contract. And again, they’ve let the people of Ontario down, let the people of Canada down.”
So while it’s important to remember that we all need to shoulder our own blame, we also need to learn to not shoot the messenger. Sure, you could argue that the government should have planned the vaccine rollout by seeking out more vaccine sources, but “should haves” are as helpful as closing the barn after the horses are running free.