There are certainly a lot of editors out there. Or, at least, a lot of readers with opinions on editorial decisions we make.
In my last column, I explained our decision to run a substitute Doonesbury comic on Sunday, May 22, because of concerns about language in the original strip.
We also posted the original on our standard.net website, and I invited readers to tell us whether they would have run the comic.
We received a lot of opinions, both online comments and through email. Broadly speaking, most of those who commented would have run the original strip, or at least were critical of our decision not to.
Here are excerpts from some of the comments, the first two from email. And yes, the first comment is one that agrees with us. Editor's decision, you know:
* "... About the first thing my 13-year-old son does when the papers arrive is to pull out the comics and read them. I did not go online to see the held comic. After your description of it, I understood enough about it for myself. Thank you! I respect you for helping us to protect our children as much as we can in a world that doesn't often seem to care."
* "Just read the Doonesbury comic, and I don't see what the big deal is. Maybe if he had actually used the 'bad' words, it would have been offensive, but with the dashes, not so much. I really don't think that kids would have understood it anyway. I've always liked Doonesbury. I think he is right on target. P.S. Don't ever cancel him!"
* "Were I the SE editor, I would have run the cartoon in tomorrow's paper, but I would have placed it in the editorial section for that day. I'm not a fan of censorship, and maintaining the placement of Doonesbury in the editorial section would have allowed adults to read it as they normally do."
* "Wow, children could probably hear this seven letter word in G-rated Disney movies or a variation of this word that is 3 letters! Most kids don't read newspapers anyway. I'm surprised that the Standard-Examiner pulled this cartoon!"
* "Many of the comics are 'adult' in nature and take on mature topics. Those have been printed. Why start selectively printing what you want now? I expect strong opinions (whether I agree or not) in the editorial or opinion columns, but the comics? People should be allowed to filter for themselves, not have the paper do it for them."
* "It is the job of parents to teach children to discern good, valuable literature of whatever type from bad literature, not to teach them to shrink from a good piece of writing because it contains a word or words that Mommy or Daddy or the Bishop finds offensive."
As a side note, the original Doonesbury did run in the Salt Lake City papers' Sunday comics section.
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.