A reader took exception this week with our reading, writing and arithmetic.
On the whole, his points were valid and worth pointing out.
But when an editor responded to his e-mail that we had noted the points he made, he seemed to think that meant we were ignoring the issues he raised.
Far from it.
His original e-mail addressed several points of accuracy and included the line, "Do you guys actually read your own newspaper?"
Just in case there's any doubt, yes we do. And chances are better than not that, by the time a reader calls or e-mails about a mistake, it's already been spotted and the appropriate editor has taken it up with the person responsible for it.
But it doesn't end there.
When we get e-mail or snail mail about the content of the paper, good or bad, it goes up on a bulletin board right next to the office mail slots.
It's hard to miss and, rest assured, staffers do read what you have to say.
In addition, errors in the paper are a regular part of the discussion at the daily news meetings and at staff meetings.
And accuracy, or lack thereof, is part of the yearly performance evaluation of every member of the news staff, no matter what their specific job or assignment is.
Well, I guess we're pretty satisfied with ourselves, aren't we?
That's all after the fact, but in a better -- I hesitate to say perfect -- world, editors wouldn't have to deal with mistakes and errors after the fact because they would either never be made, or caught and corrected before publication.
So why aren't they?
Sometimes it's lack of attention to detail. Sometimes it's a rush to meet deadline, and sometimes the error occurs simply because nobody knows any better.
Here's a personal example that illustrates both the first and the last points.
As a young reporter, I went out to write a feature story about the circus that was setting up at the local fairgrounds.
The most intriguing part to me was the use of the elephants to erect the big top, so that's what I focused on. I talked to the elephant handlers about the animals and everything I could get about their history.
In the story, I focused on one of the elephants that, I wrote, weighed 24 tons.
Um, not quite.
It was later that night, while gathered at the local watering hole with other reporters, that it flashed through my mind that what the trainer had actually told me was that the elephant was 24 years old.
I called my editor and told him about the mistake. Now, this was a very smart guy who ended his journalism career running the newspaper division of one of the country's biggest media companies.
But his first response when I said the elephant didn't weigh 24 tons was, "Well, he might."
It took me a little time to convince him that, no, I really should have written 24 years old. The copydesk corrected the error for later editions, but I still had to write a correction for the first edition the next day.
I still don't know why I wrote 24 tons, but I do know that almost 40 years later, that error is still crystal clear in my memory.
We care about errors and we take them seriously. And each day, we try to do better than we did the day before. We're not perfect, but we try to be.
By the way, a quick Internet search turns up a Wikipedia entry that the biggest elephant on record weighed 24,000 pounds. That's only 12 tons, but it seems appropriate somehow that "24" sneaked in there.
Dave Greiling is managing editor of the Standard-Examiner. He may be reached at (801) 625-4224 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.