Just before Yom Kippur some years ago, your editor prepared, with chagrin and without (much) irony, a kind of journalist’s version of the Al Chet, the confession of sins recited on this most solemn day.
We have decided, since perfection is scarcely attainable, to reprint the meditation annually.
Not all journalistic sins, we dearly hope, can be found in issues of this newspaper, but, just to be safe, we beg our readers’ pardon:
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed (or, alas, may yet commit) of inaccuracy, no matter how innocent, for misinformation multiplies and leads to wrong actions;
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed of distortion, no matter how unconscious, for distortion, like inaccuracy, is self-perpetuating, and lures the reader ever farther away from truth;
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed of omission, which may have led readers to a one-sided understanding of events;
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed of disturbing readers’ peace by publishing upsetting and tragic news;
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed of rushing to judgment, which, in addition to disseminating wrong ideas, fosters shallow thinking;
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed of bias, no matter how mild or subtle, against a person or people, because bias conveyed in print filters into the community and festers there, breeding hate and hate-full deeds;
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed of slander, loshon hara, against a person or people, because in addition to attempting to blacken the target, loshon hara blackens the community as a whole, creating an image and a climate of nastiness and ill will;
â€¢ For the sins we may have committed against the language, by cheapening it with clichÃ©s and formulae rather than “making it new”; and
â€¢ For the many minor – but unpleasant, nonetheless, to us as well as you, dear readers – sins of publication we may have committed, like typographical errors, wrong “continued” lines, lost lines of text, and misidentified photos;
For all of these – and one more, the sin of taking ourselves too seriously – we beg your pardon, and we’ll strive to overcome them in this new year.