I have mentioned a couple of times before in my column that this paper should be a reflection of what the readers want and less my personal likes and dislikes. I meant it.
I also disclosed that it was my intention to grow our readership by adding content, features and trying new things. I meant that too.
I have heard from around 17 readers in the past month complaining about the practice of publishing the booking photos along with the name of the person arrested. Now, with 4,300 subscribers and a readership approaching 10,000, 17 is not statistically impressive, I would figure there are a good many more too shy to call or email.
I would also imagine there are a good number of you that think, as I do, that we should run the mug shots. Personally I think it is an added deterrent to crime, and by the tone and tenor of those complaining it definitely has some concerned.
I knew that some of the changes we would make would be applauded and some would fall flat. Frankly, I am not sure where this one will end up but since you have had a month to get used to it, it is time for the people to decide.
On that note, recently Marcia Weeks even began a petition at change.org attempting to halt our practice which is impressive. I appreciate the effort but I have a better idea.
On Wednesday we launched an online poll at http://promotions.morningsun.net/The-Morning-Sun-Arrest-Photos/ so you can determine the fate of the mug shots. While I have my opinion, and I have expressed it to each person who has called, the newspaper will follow the outcome of the vote. I will also publish a ballot in the newspaper Thursday that you can mail or drop by the office.
I have actually enjoyed talking to the readers who are against the practice. I love a spirited debate and I think a lot of good has come from the contact with you, my readers. I do not shy away from criticism. That is why I encouraged columnist JT Knoll to take to the Letters page and write his opinion once he told me how he felt about our practice.
Everyone is on the honor system so only vote once. I would encourage those who think this is a good practice to vote and rally their newspaper reading friends to do so as well. It has been my experience that those fired up about change usually show up to vote — just ask Hillary Clinton about Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
— Jamey Honeycutt is the publisher of the Morning Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com.