Herald Journal Columns
August 20, 2007 Herald Journal

The fluid ‘facts’ of the Internet


At the newspaper, we are ever-mindful of the Internet and the future.

We expect it to take on even more importance as time goes by, and at Herald Journal, we’ve always run ahead of the pack on this issue. Our web site had 9 million page views last year alone.

However, I would like to point out critical differences in the written (and very unforgiving) word, and the web word, which seems to have no permanence at all.

Let me tell you plainly – there is no such thing as proof of publication when it comes to the Internet, even though the Herald Journal posts HLWW School Board and Wright County legals online free, for the convenience of its customers.

Online items aren’t in a position to be used as legal documents, like our affidavits of legal publications are, that’s for sure.

Seriously, nothing is more permanent and unforgiving than a printed page that you hold in your hands.

It’s the law of physics that no hacker can change.

Right now, we are setting precedents for all kinds of Internet policies and thinking of more Internet angles.

For example, how would you handle a correction on the Internet? And how would this clarify and establish the history of your community?

How different is the newspaper, which surpasses any kind of computer application upgrades or technological issues, regarding this issue. It has plenty of proof right under your nose, in your hand.

So, if you are looking to record history, look up genealogy – or prove any kind of decision that was made by government – then I suggest the importance of a short summary of what officials are doing with your tax money would be very important to keep, as we have it now.

I would also like to persuade every reader to skim through the legal notices on a regular basis.

For example, did you know the following items were discussed July 17 by the Wright County Board?

Dr. Janis Amatuzio, Medical Examiner, presented the 2006 Report of the Medical Examiner. She reported that most crashes were on Interstate 94 in the Monticello area. The most dangerous days to drive in 2006 were Wednesday and Sunday and most crashes occurred between 4:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M. Amatuzio felt this was due to more people on the road, fatigue, and the element of road rage.

Or how about this report from Sheriff Gary Miller about a possible regional crime laboratory in the July 24 minutes from Wright County (from the Committee of the Whole meeting July 10):

Sheriff Miller stated that the expectations of crime victims and defense attorneys have changed to where they now believe forensic evidence should be processed in every crime.

The BCA provides crime lab processing for 600 law enforcement agencies and are backlogged. Tom Kelly stated that there is not a week that goes by where prosecutors don’t ask for trial continuances because they are awaiting results from the BCA.

Statistics provided reflect that if one person is caught through the processing of this evidence, it may prevent seven crimes. The long-term vision is a full-service lab.

Should you know this? Perhaps. Was it written in our news reports? No (or briefly).

We try to keep the stories down to edible size, not too boring or long . . . highlights, etc. We also don’t cover the endless list of committee meetings that take place for Wright County.

Reading the public notices. Make it a habit every week to skim through them. You will be surprised if you do.

And remember that a simple summary of what the county or city does with your money is the least they could do to explain where your taxes go!

The ‘killers of towns’

This appeared in the July 4, 1907 issue of the Howard Lake Herald (. . . not on the Internet. . . ha ha):

“There are about eight classes of town killers and every town is afflicted with one or more of them.

“First, those who go out of town to do their trading; second, those who are opposed to improvements, third, those who prefer a quiet town to one of push and business; fourth, those who oppose movement not originating with themselves; fifth, those who deride public-spirited men; sixth, those who imagine they are the town; seventh, those who oppose every movement that does not appear to benefit them; eighth, those who seek to injure the credit or reputation of their neighbors – and there are unfortunately a few of these in every community.”

Something to remember

Said George Gallup, world-famed statistician, “I could prove God statistically! Take the human body alone. The chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen is a statistical monstrosity!”

– Knight’s Treasury of 2,000 Illustrations by Walter B. Knight

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