Column

It’s not always so fun to do the job the right way

State police officer Andrew Dykstra plays taps during the funeral service for fallen McHenry County Sheriff Deputy Jacob Keltner Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Woodstock North High School in Woodstock.
State police officer Andrew Dykstra plays taps during the funeral service for fallen McHenry County Sheriff Deputy Jacob Keltner Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Woodstock North High School in Woodstock.

, at the end of what seemed like a neverending week, I was over at a neighbor’s house hoping for a few minutes to relax.

As I sat down on the couch in a room away from everyone else, I got a text from one of our reporters.

It was a link to a story “Algonquin house fire kills family dog.”

I sat there and cried.

It wasn’t just about the dog. I don’t know that dog. But it was about the week, the shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Rockford that required constant and careful coverage, several fatal wrecks and now ... a dog.

I didn’t know Jacob Keltner either, but I know what he was doing and what he did every day, helping to protect us.

None of those things were about me, or about us, but it doesn’t mean we don’t feel them. It’s our job to feel them, and report what happened with feeling.

Sometimes that’s good things, a football state championship or a state championship wrestler, a school getting high marks or an important piece of legislation that will help us.

Sometimes, it’s not. It’s people making mistakes, like Woodstock’s Quincy Hagerty’s Facebook post about the procession for fallen Deputy Jacob Keltner.

We’re not immune, for sure, and neither are others. Most of the time, our coverage focuses on things in between. We inform and you decide how you feel about it. We spend our days doing our best to do the right things to inform you.

Two weeks ago, we made a name mistake in a story about the McHenry County College election. We corrected it the next day after calling the candidate multiple times to apologize. It’s something were not proud of, but certainly wasn’t done intentionally. And this week, there was a correction in the same election from the McHenry County Voters’ Guide.

We also should have taken a closer look at the ad we ran on the cover of Thursday’s section, which included six pages of coverage of Keltner’s funeral and the procession that followed.

We were fully concentrated on that coverage of the event, which passed by our office as many Shaw Media employees stood and watched. But if we had to do it again, we would have switched the days we ran those, and we have changed our process to add more awareness of that juxtaposition.

Monday marks the beginning of widespread early voting for the April 2 election. We won’t be running endorsements on the many contested races in the county and local municipalities this time, but we are posting candidate questionnaires in some of the top contested races. You can find those at nwherald.com/election.

These are certainly important elections, the levels of government that impact you the most, and we are doing our best to cover those and inform subscribers before they head to the polls while also staying on top of the daily news.

Starting next week, you’ll probably notice a difference in our weekend editions as well. Michael Penkava has chosen to stop writing his column for now, and we want to thank him for the many entertaining columns he has written. A few other fun weekend Page 2 items will go away with that as well, but I’ll let you do the math there.

And we’re hiring a new news reporter, a job that was posted this week at shawmedia.com/careers. If you’re interested and have what it takes, make sure to apply.

• Northwest Herald Editor Jon Styf can be reached at jstyf@shawmedia.com or 815-526-4630.

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