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Inside the Fishbowl: E-mails, letters, and phone calls

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One of the things an editor does is respond to many e-mails letters and phone calls. I try and get to the point quickly and make sure every request is followed up on. We get a lot of calls and e-mails and a pile of mail every day, so doing this quickly and efficiently, and managing to be polite and to listen to every request, takes some effort, patience and tact. In one moment I might be talking to an excited mother whose daughter just signed a college basketball scholarship, and the next to a tearful son who has just lost his father and wants to put an obituary in the newspaper. Our staff tries to treat people with courtesy, compassion and respect. Following are a few calls and letters from the last 24 hours. * * * Yesterday afternoon I received a couple of phone calls from a woman who said she’d been recently arrested for driving under the influence and drug offenses in Auburn. She said she was worried that if the news of her arrest were published in the newspaper it could hurt her reputation. She also said there were extenuating circumstances, she was innocent, and she asked if I could ensure her that the news would be withheld. I told her I was sorry she was facing tough times and that I know this must be difficult. I also told her that her phone call to me would not result in my sending a reporter to look up her name or dig up information. But, if in the normal course of our police reporter Jenna Nielsen doing her job, she came across this information and included it in a police brief, I would not withhold it. It is our current policy to publish the names of Auburn-area residents recently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. If they are found not guilty or the charges are dropped, we publish will that, too. * * * Today I got a letter from Supervisor Robert Weygandt telling me about his “fond memories exploring Auburn Ravine as a youngster” and his personal support of Jack Sanchez’s Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead Season (SARSAS) restoration efforts. Supervisor Weygandt invited me to attend a future meeting of SARSAS at the Placer County Board of Supervisors offices. Personally, I think bringing back salmon and steelhead to Auburn Ravine and into the City of Auburn would be awesome. What a worthwhile project for current and future generations. The daylighting of the creek at the School Park Preserve was a great idea that is coming to fruition and it would be a dream come true to see steelhead and salmon return. While I might not personally attend a SARSAS meeting, I plan to send a reporter and to make sure the Auburn Journal informs its readers every step of the way about this exciting project. * * * Today I got a call from a young woman named Holly, who was in South America studying abroad. Holly said she was a student at University of Oregon and she was a writer looking to get her story on American students studying abroad published. I told Holly she could e-mail me her story and that I would consider in for publication in print. I promised Holly that if it was what she described, we could publish it on our Web site, on the Myopolis side, which is for reader-generated content. Holly seemed very exited and profusely thanked me. (Anyone can put their stories up on Myopolis.) Holly said she would e-mail me immediately, I haven’t seen her e-mail but it’s only been 20 minutes. She sold me when she said she was a University of Oregon Duck. I became a Ducks fan after Tom Taylor, our corporate head honcho, took me to a Ducks football game a few years back. And Tony Hazarian, our publisher, is also a Duck. I went to college at Chico. Chico has a lot going for it, but no football team that can compete with the Ducks … I am looking forward to seeing if Holly really sends a story.