Words have meaning, and beyond that they have implications that sometimes extend beyond what the author intended.
That was Nancy Hartog's complaint this week when she objected to the use of the word "cheap" in a headline about a Have a Heart home presentation last week in North Ogden.
The Have a Heart program is a service arm of the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors and Northern Wasatch Home Builders Association. The program builds a home for people with low incomes, those needing wheelchair accessibility, military and special needs families. The homes' buyers pay a discounted rate.
The headline Hartog disagreed with said, in part, that the couple buying the home got it for "cheap."
Hartog felt that word cast the wrong light on the whole project, with negative implications both about the quality of the home and owners.
"The article was great, but the headline missed the mark," Hartog said. "It's an excellent home and affordable for the couple."
It certainly wasn't our intent to cast a negative light on the program or anything involved with it.
I've written before about the tough job copy editors face in trying to use a relatively few words to accurately portray a story. It's not as easy as it looks and sometimes nuances do get overlooked.
In this case, a different word, or different angle to the headline could have avoided the unhappy implications that Hartog and others she talked with saw in what we did write.
WRONG IMPRESSION: A cutline on Page 1 of Thursday's paper can best be described as technically accurate but incomplete and therefore misleading.
The photo showed Ogden Education Association President Doug Stephens delivering petitions dealing with the teachers contract situation to the school district headquarters. Also shown in the photo, Personnel Director Brenda Ruffier is leaving the office as Stephens enters and the cutline noted that.
The implication was Ruffier was trying to avoid Stephens. What the cutline didn't say, however, was that Stephens was not there to meet with Ruffier and she was leaving because of a meeting she had to attend, not because she didn't want to deal with Stephens.
The cutline conveyed the wrong impression. That could have been avoided if we had communicated better internally. We should have done better, both for Ruffier and for readers.
WHERE'S FRIDAY? There was something missing from the TV book in Friday's paper, namely Friday's TV listings.
Human error is the only explanation I can offer. The listings should have been there and will be back in next week's TV book.
THEY'RE BACK: When we changed the format on the weather recently, we received a number of comments from readers. The common thread was unhappiness over the fact that we were no longer running temperature reports from other U.S. and international cities.
Many of those who called or emailed said they like to check those reports in case of travel or because they have friends and relatives who live elsewhere.
You convinced us and those temperatures are now back in the weather report, as of this past Tuesday.
And readers are noticing.
As one caller said, "I called to complain when you took them out, so I felt it only fair to say 'thanks' when you put them back in."
Dave Greiling is managing editor of the Standard-Examiner. He may be reached at 801-625-4224 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org