Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Worst Feeling Ever

This is a pretty ironic title in light of my last post's title... but that just goes to show how quickly my moods swing around.

I'm in the middle of writing a 3-part series on Terry R., the '79 Notre Dame alum who came back to win the Bengal Bouts at age 55. The first part of the series went ok, although Terry wasn't crazy about a small editorial mistake (since fixed). Today the second installment came out and Terrence called me, mad as a hornet. It seems that there were a few inaccuracies in the story, including a quoted sentence that he claims he never said.

I went back into my notes and sure enough, there was the quote - but there's no way to prove it since I didn't use a tape recorder. Oh, he was mad about that too. The man will never take a sentence to answer a question when five paragraphs will do and the thought of having to transcribe an entire tape-recorded conversation with him gives me nightmares. But that's not even the issue here. The issue is professional pride.

I take pride in getting the facts right, in quoting people accurately and getting the information out fairly. His criticisms hit me at my most vulnerable point - my desire to be the best dang journalist possible. Now I can't even focus on my schoolwork this afternoon because I'm too busy dreading the inevitable email to my editors, telling them "I made a mistake..." Can you say embarrassing?? Worst of all is the knowledge that I messed up, that I was entrusted with getting a story right and I failed to do my job well.

I guess this is another lesson in humility. I'm not a perfect journalist, after all, and this will remind me to be more careful in the future. But it's still so difficult to swallow my pride!! Lord, when I prayed for humility, did you have to make it so difficult to take?

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