Measuring veterans coverage apparently a local pastime

Nov 18 2013 - 8:46am

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Remember that column I wrote last Tuesday about veterans? Well, never mind.

See, the main point I was trying to make is that our veterans don't serve their country for the thanks, or the recognition, or even the parades. And then some of you have to go and try to prove me wrong. 

As it turns out, there are any number of current and former military members and their families who are concerned about the recognition -- or lack thereof.

What makes me say this? Because last week, Standard-Examiner editors and reporters received a fair number of phone calls and emails complaining about the newspaper's coverage surrounding this year's Veterans Day. My favorite complaint of the week came from an email sent to an editor. After grousing about our parade coverage, the writer ended with: "If this is the best we can expect from your paper then do us a favor and don't bother next year."

Yes, I'll wager that completely ignoring next year's parade is just the ticket to get back in favor with veterans.

And for those of you under the impression that our Veterans Day coverage was woefully inadequate, let's recap just exactly what the S-E did, veterans-wise, in the five days surrounding the holiday:

Friday, Nov. 8

* A front-page story, with photos, about Home Depot employees honoring veterans by renovating their homes.

* A story on Page 2A advancing the Ogden Veterans Day Parade and other events planned in the Top of Utah.

* An editorial, with accompanying tribute cartoon by Cal Grondahl, urging residents to support the parade and other veterans events.

* A story on the local cover, with photos, involving airmen from Hill Air Force Base reading books to students.

Saturday, Nov. 9

* A guest commentary about Weber State University's School of Nursing providing support for military nurses.

*A letter to the editor from a Layton reader reminiscing about Historic 25th Street and World War II soldiers.

* A story on the local cover, with photos, about the Veterans Day celebration at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home.

* A brief advancing Sen. Orrin Hatch's presentation of a medal to a veteran at a football game.

Sunday, Nov. 10

* A tease at the top of the front page, with a small photo, of Ogden's Veterans Day Parade.

* A story, with photos, about veterans on a special flight to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

* A story, with a photo, about the Vietnam Women's Memorial. 

* A story about the last of the World War II Doolittle Raiders.

*A commentary about whether the U.S. can maintain its dominance at a time of declining defense spending.

* A letter to the editor claiming Americans and their leaders are distant from the military.

* A story wondering why more businesses don't hire military veterans.

* A story on our local cover, with photos, recapping the Ogden Veterans Day Parade.

* A story on the TV page about a telethon to aid U.S. veterans.

Monday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day)

* A graphic across the top of the front page with the words "Veterans Day" and references to two stories inside.

* A story on Page 2A, with a photo, about a Layton vet honored with a Prisoner of War Medal. 

* A story, with photos, about the dwindling numbers of veterans at World War II reunions.

* An editorial offering a thumbs up to all military personnel. 

* A guest commentary titled "Why I am proud of my veteran."

Tuesday, Nov. 12

* A front-page story, with a photo, about the city of West Point breaking ground on a military memorial for Veterans Day.

* A story on Page 2A, with a photo, about the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree arriving in Ogden on Veterans Day, and what a fitting tribute that was.

* A story, with a photo, about battle-tested dogs finding new careers following their military service.

* A story on the local cover, with photos, about Layton's Veterans Day ceremony.

* This writer's column, titled "Veterans Day all about thanking soldiers, their families for many sacrifices."

And there you have it. For those of you keeping score, that's no fewer than 16 stories, four commentaries, two front-page teases, two editorials, two letters to the editor and one brief about our veterans. Not to mention, by my estimates, no less than two dozen photos or other artwork. All in the space of just five days. And that's not including any online content we ran, like video of the parade.

So, to answer that one reader's email from earlier? Yeah, I guess this is the best you can expect from us.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, msaal@standard.net, or follow him on Twitter at @Saalman.

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