Better Late Than Never?

February 23rd, 2011 by Sustainable Witney Leave a reply »

First thing Monday 7th February our esteemed Secretary emailed a letter to the Witney Gazette about our local group. It also made reference to Sainsburys’ talk on sustainability at “Sustainable Witney’s first Annual General Meeting taking place at 7pm on 16th February in the Congregational Church in Welch Way.”

The letter wasn’t published in the February 9th edition. Neither did it make it into the February 16th edition. Against all the odds it was published in this week’s February 23rd edition with the phrase above edited to “Sustainable Witney’s first annual general meeting taking place at 7pm on Wednesday this week in the Congregational Church in Welch Way.”

Presumably, having recognised that the date was no longer valid, it was changed to something more general – it was a general meeting after all. Our Secretary will be standing outside the Congregational Church this evening to apologise to all those that missed the meeting last week.

We all make mistakes – we’ve made one or two ourselves recently – so are there any lessons we can learn from this one? Well, we won’t be sending time sensitive missives to the letters page in future that’s for sure! But what would be nice, is if out of this debacle we could forge a better relationship with our local paper.

As you might imagine, Sustainable Witney is very much pro local and we’ve been supporting our local newsgroup with comments, information and copy when requested since our inception. However, to date that’s mostly been a one way street.

When I picked the paper up this morning I thought OK, enough’s enough – I’m done with the Gazette. But on reflection, I can’t help thinking it must be quite a struggle to keep a local paper going in a world geared up for economies of scale. I suspect they need us, possibly more than we need them.

We’re suckers for supporting local causes so if you’re reading this, reporters and editors of the Witney Gazette, we’d like to open a dialogue with you about how we can best support you to support our local, sustainable community. It’s never too late.



  1. Sally says:

    Surely this should be titled “Better Never, than Late”!

  2. J-P says:

    From personal experience I know that Newsquest has form with this sort of behaviour. When I was knocked off my bike by a coach, a photographer came round to take my photo, and a journalist asked me some questions over the phone.

    Weeks went by. They rang me with some details that the coach company had given them, as far as I can tell hoping to get an angry response out of me. I didn’t provide one.

    Further weeks went by. Eventually it was probably such a slow news day that my story surfaced in the slush pile. They printed the story – literally months later – saying I was knocked off my bike “on Wednesday”, tactfully not stating which Wednesday it was.

    At least in my personal case, unlike both with the SW AGM and the recent local elections, they didn’t print an explicitly incorrect date.

  3. Sustainable Witney says:

    We’ve had an apology for the mistake with the letter. The explanation made sense – it was edited to go out last week and then things went awry.

    Ironically, our secretary has made more contacts this week because of incorrect info than we ever would normally!

    I messed up with the venue when I first posted the AGM as an event which I subsequently put right by reposting it. However, unknown to me, it had been picked up by the Gazette and put in the ‘In Brief’ section prior to it being corrected.

    We can’t hold them responsible for that. In fact, I’m delighted someone at the Gazette takes a look at our site, and I think I ought to apologise to them for that cock up!

    In the style of a well plotted Tom Sharpe farce, our esteemed secretary also copied and pasted the incorrect venue from the website into an email to local groups.

    I shan’t be casting any more stones for a while…

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