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TODAY'S QUESTION: How should the Missourian have covered the latest Honor Flight story?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | 12:25 p.m. CDT; updated 12:35 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 26, 2013

Last week, the Missourian's executive editor, Tom Warhover, wrote a column about the decision not to cover the latest Honor Flight trip for World War II veterans.

The Central Missouri Honor Flight organization took the veterans on a day trip to Washington, D.C., to view the national monument that was built in their honor. During the trip, the veterans also visited Arlington National Cemetery. The veterans returned to Missouri at the end of the day.

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Other news outlets covered the return of the veterans, but the Missourian did not. Missourian editors decided that, because the flights happen several times, there was no new news to report — as Warhover notes, the trip itinerary is largely the same each time. But he also points out that last year's veterans are not this year's veterans and that the Missourian needs to find a way to better report these flights even if traditional stories are not written. 

How should the Missourian have covered the latest Honor Flight story?


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Comments

Sara Dickson June 1, 2010 | 3:29 p.m.

Hello Abby,

In response to Mr. Warhover's column, I must say I agree with his argument. What news is ever conceptually new? With the exception of narrowly-focused investigative journalism pieces, news is largely the sharing of reoccurring events (i.e. deaths, disasters, celebrations, protests, business profiles, etc.). The difference is, and always has been, in the "who" - different people participate/are affected each time. Hence, I strongly believe every Honor Flight is newsworthy.

These men and women are American heroes. We are deeply in their debt. I should think the Columbia Missourian would be remiss in honoring their sacrifices in service to our nation by failing to cover, what is in most cases, their final flight.

In this Internet age, there is something special about having one's picture printed (or story told) in the community newspaper. These pages are cherished by these dear veterans and their families. Many will return from their flight to a solitary room in a nursing home. Most are wheelchair bound. Their schedule is routine. If a story is not printed, there is no paper to grace their bedside table and share with others. They are left with memories alone.

In response to your question "How should the Missourian have covered the latest Honor Flight story?" I would suggest the Missourian might consider focusing on interviewing veterans and publishing short quotes and a photo journal after each flight rather than a formulaic “what, when, where” format. If the Missourian is short-staffed, perhaps put out a call to the hundreds of mid-Missourians who are armed with American flags and cameras to welcome the veterans home.

I hope, in light of these conflicting newsroom views of what is and isn’t newsworthy and discussion of how readers feel about the issue, the Missourian will find a way to set aside a little space to honor these heroes every other month or so.

They've earned it.

Respectfully,

Sara Dickson

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