We err, yes, but also touch the heart

April 30, 2001

We err, yes, but also touch the heart

We live in a time where we are often judged, unfortunately, more by what we do for a living than by who we are.

That said, this is not an easy time to work in the media field.

According to many public opinion polls, newspaper, television, radio and Web journalists rank right up there with lawyers as people the public loves to hate.

Unfortunately for us journalists, we have brought a lot of it on ourselves.

The O.J. Simpson trial, the Clinton impeachment, the election night debacle have only reaffirmed the public's perception of the press. We're sensational. We're intrusive. And we're often wrong.

But there is another side of this story, too. Check out the Sunday, March 25, Herald-Mail.

In that Sunday's paper were two columns by longtime Herald-Mail writers, people I have worked with in our newsroom. People who are as solid of character as a summer day is long.


Tony Mulieri, the Daily Mail managing editor, wrote a column about his sons' exploits in Little League. Tony is the father of four boys. They all played in Federal Little League, in Hagerstown's North End.

Tony recounted his baseball experiences with his sons, and the fact that his youngest son was playing his final year of Little League at Federal. He had watched his boys grow up on those baseball fields. And he was going to miss it.

If you know Tony, you know he is a religious man. His life revolves around his family. You could feel that in the column he wrote.

As a father myself, I could relate to everything he said.

Then I turned to the Lifestyle section.

Kate Coleman, a staff writer, recounted in a column how she had written recently about two people who had died. One story profiled a woman with breast cancer and the support group that sustained her. The other story was about a 6-year-old girl who eventually lost a battle with leukemia.

Kate told us how difficult it was for her to cover those stories, how sad she felt when both people died, and how much courage each had shown in the face of great adversity.

It was a moving column. Kate didn't write that column from her head. It came from her heart. It was moving, caring, perceptive and compassionate.

Yes, there are excesses in the media. And, yes, our newspapers sometimes commit them, too.

But I can state as fact that Tony and Kate are the rule at the Herald-Mail, not the exception.

They are good people. They are good journalists.

They are two of the people who write and edit the news that you read every day.

The next time someone is bemoaning the wretched excesses of the media keep in mind, at least in our little part of the world here in Western Maryland, that there are more than a few journalists like Tony and Kate.

From my seat, I am glad they are working at the Herald-Mail.

John League is editor and publisher of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7073, or by e-mail at

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