Honesty is the best policy p. 105

By: Mark Fitzgerald AT THE DAILY Press in Newport News, Va., honesty is company policy.
President and publisher Jack Davis made that clear recently when he returned the paper's third-place award in the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Print Quality contest. Davis said he returned the award when he discovered the paper's production department had "stretched the rules" with its entry.
"The important thing here is that we discovered [the rule-bending] and we returned the award ? and we insisted it to be made public," Davis said in a telephone interview. SNPA executive director Reg Ivory said it was the first such incident in the association's history.
"I wish I had 450 publishers in the association like Jack Davis ? and that they all thought along the same lines," Ivory said. "I thought it was a startling and noble thing to do. I'm probably going to embarrass him, but I honestly think what he did was in the highest tradition of journalistic ethics."
For his part, Daily Press publisher Davis puts the action in more prosaic terms: "We run corrections. This was a correction."
In the SNPA Print Quality contest, participating newspapers were told in advance that their entry would be chosen from a day in the second week in December. After the week had passed, the papers were told to submit six copies of their Friday, Dec. 8, editions.
"We, as it turned out, were converting from a wider web to a slightly narrower web and the press was not optimized at that time. [Production employees] interpreted the rules to allow them to reprint the issue," Davis said.
After the third-place certificate was awarded, however, Davis discovered that the entry had been reprinted, and he wrote SNPA's Ivory that the Daily Press could not accept the award.
"We also had a meeting with the press people . . . and put [an account of the incident in our own in-house publication," Davis said.
"The thing is," Davis added, "we didn't want to win a contest in which we stretched the rules. We want to win first place next time ? fair and square."


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