February 25, 2013

Publisher apologizes for editor's request for records on concealed-carry permits

The publisher of the weekly Cherokee Scout, in the southwestern corner of North Carolina, apologized today for the editor's request to the sheriff for a list of Cherokee County citizens who have applied for or received permits to carry concealed deadly weapons.

"We had no idea the reaction it would cause," Publisher David Brown wrote. His letter said some people had made threats against Editor Robert Horne, and he filled readers in on where Horne was from ("a small town in South Georgia") and how long he had been at the paper (since 2005) -- and his own background: local high-school graduate, and "I was married and baptized here."

Media blogger Jim Romenesko notes that the Bangor Daily News in Maine got much the same reaction, but made no apology, saying its request was related to an investigative project on drug abuse and domestic violence, and it would not make the information public, as the Journal News of suburban New York City did. In his headline, Romenesko calls Brown's letter to readers "The most incredible newspaper apology ever." What do you think?

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